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

Agroecology but… what does it mean?

Agroecology was the main topic of the last EUROPEA meeting in Normandy. There, we could realize how difficult it was to define it specifically. In fact, experts have different points of view about it depending on which area they focus on (agriculture, forestry, environmental resources, etc.).

The information showed from specialist speakers in the congress brought light to us. First, agroecology is mostly a process, so it is constantly changing. In other words, we should talk of “agroecological transition” therefore it can be learned (nice for teachers!!).

Due to the the variety of issues that take part in the agroecology, they pointed out that the process shall be implement through transfer of knowledge. Some of these issues are political projects, scientific development, social movement and tools among others. There are several European projects in order to get the process faster such as the program “Teach to produce otherwise”, Social network eapnormadie.fr, some Erasmus + KA2…

At the end, agroecology teaches us that, in the “Green sector”, several solutions can be taken to resolve the same problem. Then, the habits of farmers can change, because “the only thing than is permanent is change” (Heraclito).