For the multicultural and multiethnic people from Transylvania is an urgent need to preserve their language, roots and traditional values, their way of living because we are constantly threatened by the globalization and consumerism. We are responsible for our children to remember culinary traditions, to keep them and pass them along. We will create an attractive online platform where anyone can post their traditional recipes, along with pictures or special stories they have about it and we ourselves will record, photo, translate and post some stories of our own in order to encourage people.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific community with whom you will be working.
We aim our attention to people who still enjoy keeping traditions in their kitchens,who are not afraid to spend a bit more time cooking, rather than choosing a frozen or semi-prepared product;these people who love their house smelling like spices, or fruits or homemade bread and keep traditional recipes as a prized possession.Some of the people we are trying to reach live in rural areas, where the use of the Internet is not important or unknown altogether! We are talking about women or families around 50 years old or more with much simpler lives but who are filled with knowledge about how thing had to be done in the old days and who still keep living how they were taught.These people are our priority: to make their stories and knowledge heard,before everything they know is lost,forgotten.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
This online platform will include the recipes posted,with much details or explicatory pictures,stories posted by users about food;there will also be a dedicated space where we will map out our own “work in the field”, testimonies of the people we talk to,pictures and audio recordings of their stories.We would also have a section where we write our goals and what we hope to achieve and the degree of success we are having.We see this online platform as a great tool(for years to come)for young people to draw inspiration from,to know about it if they need help to cook a meal;we hope for it to become like our grandmothers’ cook book safely kept in a cabinet just that it will be online and everyone will have access to it.We hope this will create a tight knit community of healthy food lovers.
What technologies and digital tools do you plan to use in the trainings?
Describe the connections that you or your organization have already established that will contribute to the success of the project.
Transylvania is a multicultural and multiethnic region because of the mixture of Hungarians, Romanians and German communities all living together;we plan on having full support from these communities with whom we have collaborated in the past.The rural areas around Turda and Cluj are closest to us, and we worked with them on cooking demonstrations. We plan on travelling to other areas in Tranylvania, inhabitated by Szekler community to develop partnerships with them too.We also hope to include the Slow Food convivia from all over Transylvania in our project, because they already have the know-how we need from their regions.They could facilitate our contact with elders in their communities,help our research and,why not, guide us into reporting everything related to culinary traditions .
How many participants do you think will be involved in your project?
We have a lot of friends who support us among our community due to projects or events we made together in the past (like participating to traditional markets or fairs, organizing a pioneer agricultural and food festival, helping small scale producers and craftsmen to register, to sell their produce to a larger range of clients than they had before).We hope our project will draw as many participants as possible because we see it as a long term ambition so an exact number is impossible to estimate.We pride ourselves with hospitable and very communicative elder so we know that they will welcome us with open arms into their homes if we make them understand exactly our vision and how important their stories are to us; having an ethnic mixture in our team will also facilitate our communication.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
Our project doesn’t necessary require training the people we will collaborate with,considering the fact that the recipes posted on our online platform do not need high degrees of training(regarding the elders,we will personally record,translate and post their stories and recipes,and try to involve family members if we can,to teach them how to use a computer or the internet as much as possible).We will focus our attention on sharing our work via all social media platforms.We bring the know-how on producers and craftsmen locations.Our team is fluent in more languages that help us to interact with the people in different communities.We also have some databases with people interested in preserving culture and traditions, related to food and cooking. All our team members have computer skills.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
Our project is thought as being a traveling experience, discovering peoples’ stories in their own homes, cities or villages, as close to their environment as possible. We hope that this will best show the particularities of each community and its traditions as realistically as possible.
Being a small (but dedicated) team all the devices we will require will be easily transported in a backpack (laptop, voice recorder, digital camera or video camera); upon arriving in our hometown we will swiftly edit and post everything as soon as possible
What is your current relationship with the community with whom you plan to work? What makes you the most appropriate individual or organization to implement this project?
We have been working with the community for almost 7 years on various projects and events regarding tradition and food, the importance of eating healthy;we have a strong relationship with kindergarden and middle schools professors, trying to educate children as early as we can into appreciating farmers’ produce and not supermarket produce.We have lots of projects and events where we collaborated with elders into teaching young minds how to cook and pass their skills along.Regarding our long – term plans we are filled with ideas to integrate producers in as many activities as possible, keeping the community aware of the problem of the imported supermarket fruit and vegetables, of the huge difference of taste that a local product has over its imported correspondent.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
This is a long term project and the economical instability in Romania might be a problem, considering the fact that the price rise of fuel influences the price increase for everything. A possible solution might be considering a 10% margin, in case this happens. Another problem could be the political situation in our country regarding the artificial inflammation of a Romanian- Hungarian animosity; in this case a careful travel planning and attention to the news would suffice in order to prevent exposing the project team to violence. Due to the poor economical shape of the country we are exposed to losing our jobs in the foundation where we developed this project; if this happens, we will continue anyway, with personal means to see this idea through.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
Firstly, we will rely on the feedback given by the people we will go and see personally because they will tell us if they think it is a good idea, a good project and a useful initiative.Then we will listen to what our collaborators have to say about this project, if they are excited to be a part of it, if they see it as a sustainable way of involving people in different communities.Considering the fact that the online platform will have tracking markers it will also be very easy for us to monitor independent visitors per day,comments posted in a period of time, number of posts and feedback, showing us the interest that people have in this project.We will try to focus on the quality rather than the quantity of recipes or stories posted so we will measure success by the everyday growth
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2013?
The first stage of the project would concern the planning of activities, creating the online platform and purchasing the necessary devices that we plan on using in our activities. Another step in this stage would be contacting all the desired collaborators and partners, establish our goals and some timeframes with them.We would also make up a final form of the team that we will be using for this project,they need to be members of the ethnical minorities we are going to address,and if necessary give them a basic training with the new devices.The first activity planned would be the documentation of the Orthodox Easter (May 5th),preparation and celebrations, including the traditional dishes prepared, personal stories that some will have on the subject,stories that are in peril of disappearing due to globalization and the social pressure of buying ready – made colored eggs or traditional foods from supermarkets due to aggressive commercials
Detail a specific budget of up to $4,000 USD for operating costs.
Domain, web hosting, per year–60 $ (5$/month)
Web designer– fee to create the online platform–50 $
Purchase of an audio voice recorder,rechargeable batteries, average quality– 130$
Purchase of a video camera,average quality–400$
Fuel and transportation expenses, for the cheapest transportation–1000$ (throughout the project)
Expenses with purchasing bottled water for team members and volunteers during displacements to villages–50$
Expenses with purchasing food for team members and volunteers(10$/team member/meal, average quality)–200$
Expenses with accommodation for team members and volunteers -(25$/team member/accommodation, average quality, preferable traditional “bed and breakfast”) – 500$
Expenses with purchasing ingredients for cooking workshops to showcase the most interesting recipes; informal meetings “meet and greet” with members of the online community-300$
10% safety margin.Wherever possible we will use our own resources.Always will be considered the cheapest option.
Besides the microgrant funding, what other resources and support are you seeking for your project to ensure its success?
We have great hope that this project will assemble a generous amount of recipes that we would like to print into an actual cook book, and if successful maybe get your help into getting this idea heard on a bigger level (expand it on larger regions in Europe, or globally). In addition to that, we could use this opportunity to get different people meet, socialize, maybe cook together, and share their stories and their love for food and cooking. Also promotional materials from Rising Voices and printed diplomas with the Rising Voices logo, for the volunteers participants in project, are more than welcome.
Rosca Claudia Rita
Asociatia Transilvania Fest (Transilvania Fest Association)