European diversity cereal festival
Between 26 and 28 June we attended the European Diversity Cereal Festival in Kalø (Denmark), which was jointly organized by the initiatives of Let’s Cultivate Diversity and Nordic Heritage Cereal within the CERERE H2020 project.
The event was hosted by the local Organic Agricultural College. There were about 250 visitors, mostly from Scandinavian countries, but many Italian and French artisan bakers, millers and researchers also took part in the event, as did some overseas guests from Canada and Australia. The Hungarian delegation consisted of the employees of the Hungarian Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (ÖMKi), the Csoroszlya farm, and the Pipacs and Kópic bakeries.
During the first two days of the event participants attended lectures, workshop discussions and various practical demonstrations divided into six simultaneous sections. Many different issues were brought up, from making sourdough, to baking bread. Farmers were able to learn plant pathology (identification and prevention), how to distinguish between varieties and selection related practices in the field, where more than 400 varieties could be found.
The attendees experienced diversity not only through the plot demonstrating hundreds of varieties, but also from the operational structure of the introduced organizations to the smallest technical details of making sourdough. From the numerous excellent presentations and workshops, the initiative called Scotland the Bread, presented by Andrew Whitley, was outstanding. This is a community supported agriculture (CSA) based farming association, which is owned by its members and is also a charity organization at the same time. The association’s main objective is to provide tasty and healthy bread made of various locally produced cereal varieties of outstanding quality and high nutritional value to local residents. The association was founded in 2012, and it connects breeders, farmers, millers, bakers, researchers, dieticians and consumers to bring nutritious sourdough bread made of locally produced cereals and freshly milled flour to everyone’s tables.
Besides learning new things, these events also provide great opportunities for professional networking. After the official program finished intensive discussions continued late into night in the courtyard, the rooms and even out in the fields.