Supporting agroecology and promoting small-scale family farming in Romania.
Key facts and figures
History and mission
– Association of peasants, organic farmers and gardeners, academics and agricultural activists;
– Advocating for peasants rights through three major campaigns: Agrobiodiversity, Land Rights and Short Food Chains;
– More than 1800 members from all regions of Romania;
– Coordinator of WWOOF Romania, an international volunteering programme on organic and traditional farms.
In 2009, a group of small family farmers came together from several regions of Romania to form the Association. Eco Ruralis envisions a society that is environmentally sustainable, economically fair and socially just where peasants are central to our food system.
Over the past few years, participation in Eco Ruralis has grown to include over 1000 members in total. Members from all over Romania include peasants and small-organic farmers, urban and rural gardeners as well as academics and agricultural activists. Eco Ruralis is also part of the International Peasants Movement “La Via Campesina”.
The mission of Eco Ruralis is to support agroecology and promote small-scale family farming as the dominant, preferable method of agriculture in Romania. The organisation aids peasants in developing their capacity to collectively defend themselves against unfair and unequal actions taken by corporations and governments. Its priority is to actively support a movement of young farmers that will preserve traditional farming practices and assert their control over food production and land rights.
Results so far
The association focuses on several programmes and campaigns, all contributing to its general mission. Through its “Agro-Biodiversity” campaign, Eco Ruralis collects and distributes traditional seeds to small food producers from all over the country. Thus, it contributes to the conservation and propagation of the rich Romanian genetic heritage.
Eco Ruralis also coordinates the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms in Romania (WWOOF Romania) programme, facilitating grass-roots volunteering and knowledge exchange on 40 traditional and organic host farms all over the country.
The “Food Chains” campaign researches small food producers’ access to market and capital. Eco Ruralis also promotes alternative food networks through its involvement in two direct-marketing schemes.
A special focus on land is given through the “Land Rights” campaign. As a first step in creating transparency, Eco Ruralis has researched and exposed the issues of large-scale land acquisitions, land concentration and land grabbing in Romania. The organisation advocates for the implementation of the F.A.O. Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in Romania, considering it a crucial instrument in facilitating fair access to land for young and small organic food producers.
Due to its grassroots approach and strategical outreach, in its few years of existence Eco Ruralis has managed to create a diverse national network of small-scale Romanian food producers, agroecology activists and conscious consumers. This network is exponentially growing every year.
Institutional corruption coupled with a strong governmental programme of land consolidation created the perfect climate for land grabbing in Romania. Eco Ruralis has managed to create more transparency on large land deals , exposing to its members, the authorities and the general public several cases of land grabbing through international reports and media articles (see further resources).
> Judith Buniol, Scramble for land in Romania: Iron fist in a velvet glove, in Hand off the Land Coalition, Land concentration, land grabbing and people’s struggles in Europe, 2013
> Urban food stories,video presenting The Eco Ruralis Association, 13’, 2014
> Articles written by Eco Ruralis for ARC2020 on seeds, land, food, agriculture and rural development in Romania
> Caroline Le Crouhennec, The Jaglea family farm, Carpatians, Romania, a case study, 2011
> Eco Ruralis Publications: Selective fact-sheets and a report on Land Grabbing in Romania