Beware of Oysters!

Oyster fields forever!

Spring 2018 brought us, EUROPEAns to Blaniville-sur-Mer in Normandy, FR. Accommodated in the pleasant VTF Senequet Holiday Village, we were only a few 100 m away from the endless sandy shore and the capricious channel. We had sun, we had rain and we had strong winds. It was raining cats and dogs in one moment then in the next it was a glorious blue sky again! And all that 175 times in a single day!

Taking advantage of the afternoon low tide and relatively nice weather, our French colleagues took us to the nearby oyster farm. Getting there in itself was a true adventure as we were walking through the wet sand, trying to avoid getting soaked to skin and envying our well-prepared peers who carried their wellingtons all the way from home for this trip only.

“Oyster farming was already practised by the ancient Romans as early as the 1st century BC, and the French oyster industry has relied on aquacultured oysters since the late 18th century.” (Wikipedia). Today it is as popular as ever in Normandy but still this kind of production is very much a labour intensive and a time consuming enterprise.

We learned form our hosts, Michael Leguillois and Marie-Claude Gasterbois that the animals are sorted by their size in apertured plastic bags that are fasten to metal stands. The bags need to be moved and shaken regularly in order to separate the shells and give them enough space to grow properly. The content of the bags has to be revised and reorganized from time to time as the oysters become bigger. The process takes 3-4 years!

Coming back from the vast oyster fields we paid a visit to one of the oyster conditioning company in Blanville where we were hosted by Mr. Lafoss, the producer. He explained the final phase of the production and showed us through the pools where oysters are kept in controlled conditions. This last period will assure a softer and not so harsh salty taste. Also, a certain amount of shells would be regularly taken to the estuary some km westwards for some extra months of dwelling in brackish water for a different kind of special taste.

Come evening it was time for oyster tasting that again proved to be yet another curious adventure for some of the EUROPEAns 🙂

Many thanks to our hosts for the wonderful time and – for many of us – a once-in-a-lifetime experience 🙂




Pics: Judit (HU) and Kalle (EE)

For more photos visit the EUROPEA Facebook page.


By Judit Čović (HU), leader of EUROPEA Editorial Group

Lycée Nature, Countances

2-7 April 2018, EUROPEA Seminar in France/UK

The main topic of our spring seminar this year was agroecology. And where else can you learn more on that topic then out on farms and fields? In the upcoming days your editors will try to sum up all that we saw and learnt from our French and British hosts. Many thanks to all the schools, farmers and entrepreneurs who were so kind and received us, EUROPEAns ! (Judit, HU)


La Quibouquiére College Farm Agricultural College Coutances

During our visit at the Agricultural College in Coutances some students showed us the organic farm of the college where all agricultural students have to do a lot of practical work during their studies. The farm has 64 dairy cows from two breeds, Holstein and Normand, a local breed well adapted to the region.

They produce 375,597 litres of organic milk every year. The fodder, grass based rations, alfalfa, peas, cereals (triticale) and hay, is mainly produced on the 72 ha which belong to the farm. During the growing season the cows are out on the pasture all day. The golden rule of the farm is: “We know each cow and we observe them individually.” (Gerd, DE)


Greenhouses and nurseries

The greenhouses are essential in the learning of horticultural techniques: potting, propagation, pruning, watering etc.

Hands-on training is the best way to learn!

In greenhouses and nurseries, students take part in each step of the trade, from growing to selling.

Teachers come to the greenhouses with their classes for plant identification courses or to carry out various practical activities. Students take a turn to come and work in the greenhouses several days per semester. (Katrin, EE)


Jardins en liberté – Landscape gardens

The Gardens of Freedom is a wonderfully arranged training facility including several separate areas with different styles of landscaping. Take a walk through the paths and green labyrinths, and you will be surprised by ever the changing scenery of Japanese, French, English, Hungarian or Chinese gardens.

Every September the Agricultural School Lycée Nature hosts the Festival of Dahlias, which is a very well-known and loved event of the region. Hundreds of thousands of colourful dahlia flowers brought up by students would burst into blossom and attract a great number of curious visitors, who have the chance to vote for their favourite dahlias. (Judit, HU)


By members of the EUROPEA Editorial Group

For more pics visit our Facebook site 🙂

EUROPEA – strong and sharp

From 2-7 April 2018 the EUROPEA Spring Seminar was held in Normandy and curiously enough, it was organised by two of our member states: France and United Kingdom! With approximately 100 participants from 21 countries it was yet another great meeting with lots of information and nice experiences to take home, this time in the topic of Agroecology.

However, spring seminars would bring us not only the joy of getting together but also the challenging work that would make our association functioning smoothly and professionally. Therefore, we gathered again for the National Coordinators Meeting and the General Assembly, both held on Friday, 6 April 2018 – the last day of the seminar.

The Agenda included the compulsory reports from the Executive Committee and the Editorial Group, and also, the presentation on the financial status and the budget of EUROPEA. Furthermore, a preview for the autumn seminar in Austria was given with a truly packed programme embracing several events and venues. Following the presidency of the EU, hosts of the EUROPEA seminars were appointed for 2019. According to that, next year we will meet in Romania and Finland.

Concerning the Strategic Plan of EUROPEA, the GA decided to focus on the activities that would strengthen and deepen our network and sharpen our profile to raise awareness of our organization and make us more visible. In order to achieve these aims, it is vital for us to stimulate training and exchange of students, teachers and staff, to facilitate intercultural exchanges and to encourage student competitions.

Following the last idea, the highlights of the meeting for all of us teachers and Green VET lovers was certainly the presentation of our Portuguese colleagues about the 3rd AGROLYMPICS, which is scheduled for this September. We are all delighted that our students will come together and compete again in sunny Porto with the assistance and sponsorship of AGROS, a milk producing company that has already helped the organisation of AGROLYMPICS-Portugal twice.

In 2019 we will also celebrate the 20th anniversary of the EUROPEA Charter of Agricultural Education and Training. The Charter describes the principles of our vocational training, the functions and characteristics of the green training institutions. After 20 years it is necessary to analyse new challenges and review the Charter in order to be able to sign a revised Charter in 2019.


More info, all reports, documents and presentations are available on TeamEngine.

Acknowledgements: many thanks to Tone (NO) and Elisabeth (AT), picture from Pedro (PT) 😊


Judit Čović (HU), leader of EUROPEA Editorial Group

Hungary to Estonia

It is the last day of March and spring is finally in the air.


The Campaign of Hungary, the country of the month is almost over. There are still so many things we wanted to tell you about our country but our time is up. However, you can come and visit us anytime for more surprises! Thank you for being with us and following our stories.

But before we go, let us present you with perhaps one of our greatest treasures: our precious unique and beautiful language: the Magyar! Read our farewell article and remember: you are always welcome in Hungary!


Hungarian language

Hungarian is the official and predominant spoken language in Hungary. Hungarian is the 13th most widely spoken first language in Europe with around 13 million native speakers and it is one of 24 official and working languages of the European Union. Outside Hungary it is also spoken by communities of Hungarian people in neighbouring countries and by Hungarian diaspora communities worldwide. Today approximately 5 million Hungarians live outside Hungary.

According to the 2011 census, 9,896,333 people (99.6%) speak Hungarian in Hungary, of whom 9,827,875 people (99%) speak it as a first language, while 68,458 people (0.7%) speak it as a second language. English (1,589,180 speakers, 16.0%), and German (1,111,997 speakers, 11.2%) are the most widely spoken foreign languages, while there are several recognized minority languages in Hungary (Croatian, German, Romanian, Romani, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, and Ukrainian).

Hungarian (Magyar) is a member of the Uralic language family, unrelated to any neighbouring language and distantly related to Finnish and Estonian. It is the largest of the Uralic languages in terms of the number of speakers and the only one spoken in Central Europe. There are sizeable populations of Hungarian speakers in Romania, the Czech and Slovak Republics, the former Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Israel, and the U.S. Smaller groups of Hungarian speakers live in Canada, Slovenia, and Austria, but also in Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela and Chile. Standard Hungarian is based on the variety spoken in the capital of Budapest, although use of the standard dialect is enforced, Hungarian has a number of urban and rural dialects.

In the earliest times, Hungarian language was written in a runic-like script (although it was not used for literature purposes in the modern interpretation). The country switched to the Latin alphabet after being Christianized under the reign of Stephen I of Hungary (1000–1038). The oldest remained written record in Hungarian language is a fragment in the Establishing charter of the abbey of Tihany (1055) which contains several Hungarian terms, among them the words “feheruuaru rea meneh hodu utu rea” or “up the military road to Fehérvár”. The rest of the document was written in Latin.

The oldest extant Hungarian poem, Old Hungarian Laments of Mary (1190s). The oldest remaining complete text in Hungarian language is the Funeral Sermon and Prayer (Halotti beszéd és könyörgés) (1192–1195), a translation of a Latin sermon. The oldest remaining poem in Hungarian is the Old Hungarian Laments of Mary (Ómagyar Mária-siralom), also a (not very strict) translation from Latin, from the 13th century. It is also the oldest surviving Uralic poem.

Among the first chronicles about Hungarian history were Gesta Hungarorum (“Deeds of the Hungarians“) by the unknown author usually called Anonymus, and Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum (“Deeds of the Huns and the Hungarians”) by Simon Kézai. Both are in Latin. These chronicles mix history with legends, so historically they are not always authentic. Another chronicle is the Képes krónika (Illustrated Chronicle), which was written for Louis the Great.

By Izabella Élő, EUROPEA-Hungary, NC

Source: Wikipedia


Finally, we will teach you two very important words you should definitely learn in Hungarian: EGÉSZSÉGÜNKRE! (Cheers!) and KÖSZÖNÖM (Thank you!)

And now we are  handing it over to Estonia. Stay with us and let Estonia surprise you throughout the month of April 🙂


Judit Covic (HU), leader of EUROPEA Editorial Group


Come to Sopron, HU!

The European friends of forestry related skills will meet this May in Sopron, Hungary. Where the plains meet the mountains young and motivated forestry students will measure their theoretical knowledge in the forest and their technical skills with chainsaw during the 3 days of 17th European Championships of Forestry Skills for Students.

On the field you need a wide and colourful spectrum of forestry related disciplines like (botany, zoology, dendrology, geodesy, etc) to know your forests and wildlife better than anyone and be a good host of the nature that is under you management as a forester.

When you guiding a team of lumberjacks or making a plan for heavy forestry machinery, harvesting wood, your task will be to make decisions not returnable after a tree fall. The European championship is one of the best forums where young people of their common passion and profession meet and share their treasures of the woods.

3 days competition, more fun and celebration for 22 countries, students, teachers, professionals and spectators. The forestry secondary school, the local forestry enterprise and the town of Sopron welcomes all visitors to be part of their lives.


By dr. Viktor Takács, head of the organising committee

For more information click HERE