LENA - Training on Wild Plants in Szatmár-Bereg, Hungary


Producing jam from wild fruit as additional income opportunity for rural population

Beregdaróc 22&23 May 2018 –  A training workshop on the sustainable use of wild plants explored cooking jam from wild berries to support the livelihood of socially vulnerable, rural population in Szatmár-Bereg region in northeast Hungary.

Around twenty participants (locals, authorities of the municipality and successful entrepreneurs in jam business from the region) joined the workshop, organized by Westpannon and WWF Hungary Foundation/TRAFFIC together with the Hungarian Nature Park Association, at the Local Culture House in Beregdaróc. Upon arrival everyone was warmly greeted by the mayor, Mr. György Pálinkás.

In last year’s capacity building workshop, the participants decided to develop a new product with wild plant ingredients. A new study carried out and presented by Dr. Róbert Horváth at the meeting, closed a knowledge gap and identified a total of 69 species of medicinal plants growing in the region of which five species were considered particularly suitable for the new product: blackthorn Prunus spinosa, dogrose Rosa canina, European Dewberry Rubus caesius, and elderberry Sambucus nigra. These will be included in a map based on this study, showing the useful wild plants that can be found in and in the vicinity of Beregdaróc.

Producing jam, especially from a special variety of plum, the “nem tudom” plum or translated “I don’t know” plum, has a very long history in the Szatmár-Bereg region and has been recognized as “Intangible Cultural Value” by the responsible Committee of the Hungarian National Commission for UNESCO. Réka Vadnay from the Szatmár-Beregi Natúrpark presented the upcoming pilot activities: the training will be followed by further events such as a sustainable collection and cooking demonstration, as well as the presentation of a marketing and labeling idea for the new product. She emphasized that producing blackthorn jam for example can be a great opportunity for this community, as the resource is free and abundant, the berries are ripe at a time were there is not much agricultural work and it can yield comparable high prices on the market.

Different varieties of jams from a locally successful business gave some inspiration for the new product to the audience afterwards. In the following discussions among the participants they agreed that a good quality and an attractive packaging will be essential.

Kirsten Palme, WWF HU/TRAFFIC, presented the why go wild toolbox, an educational tool developed in a previous Interreg CE project: “Traditional and Wild” which is available in several languages, including Hungarian. She furthermore explained the principles of sustainable wild plant harvesting, based on the principles of the FairWild Standard.

This workshop in Hungary was the first of a series of four wild plant action training workshops, which will be taking place over summer this year, three more following in the pilot sites in Slovenia, Bulgaria and Serbia.

Check out the gallery of the event here!

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Project LENA — Local Economy and Nature Conservation in the Danube Region — is co-funded by the European Union funds (ERDF, IPA) and implemented through the Danube Transnational Program, with the support of the European Regional Development Fund, co-financed by the European Union and the Hungarian State.

Programme co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI)