Save Kishantos, Hungary’s outstanding organic farm and education centre!
Kishantos has been serving sustainability and democracy in Hungary for 21 years. It is a Folk High School Centre with a 452-hectare organic demonstration farm. Kishantos is threatened to become victim of land grab. We can save Kishantos with your help.
Kishantos Rural Development Centre in Hungary is an NGO based civil institution on the basis of a grassroot initiative by local people. The centre has two main parts: the Folk High School Centre and the organic demonstration farm on 452 hectares. Its main mission is to help the people with up-to-date knowledge, and to spread the idea of sustainability and democracy. The organic demonstration farm surrounds the education centre.
In 1994-95 in the framework of a German-Hungarian governmental cooperation, Hungarians worked with a team of 3 German experts, who were the advisors in the beginning, and helped to design the Kishantos organic demonstration farm together with the experts of the Institute of Environment and Landscape Development of the Agricultural University in Gödöllő led by the Professor József Ángyán.
On the basis of the German plans the Hungarian Government gave the right to lease 452 hectares of land for the Kishantos Rural Development Centre Nonprofit Company in 1998. This Nonprofit Company was established for the particular objective to run the organic demonstration farm. During the past 21 years these 452 hectares have been cultivated organically.
The Folk High School Centre works on the basis of the ideas of N.F.S. Grundtvig, the great Danish thinker. His idea was “the school for life” where the living dialogue and the experience are the main instruments of education.
During the past twenty years, Kishantos – with the local society of the village Hantos in the background – has established wide cooperation with Danish and other European partners. There is also cooperation with Danish Velling’s Folk High School. They organized international exchange programs. Since 1994, more than 200 Hungarian young people took part in 3 and 5-month courses in the Vestjyllands Hojskole. The main goal of that program is to offer experiences for young Hungarian people about democracy and sustainability in practice.
The Kishantos Folk High School and the whole Centre is financed from the farm income.
The leasing contract of the 452 hectares of state owned land is valid until 31. October 2013. But last October, the Hungarian Land Fund (representing the State as the owner) called for application for the rent of the lands of the organic demonstration farm for an open application in ten lots. According to the decision of the Hungarian Land Fund, the Kishantos Nonprofit Company is going to lose all the land of the organic demonstration farm (452 hectares) as of 1st November 2013.
The persons and companies which “won” the tender for leasing the land, presently leased by the Kishantos Rural Development Centre, have no experience at all in organic farming. Some of them do not have experience in farming at all! If any of them will start to cultivate the land, Kishantos will certainly lose its qualification as a BIO SUISSE organic farming area. The Folk High School Centre will also disappear as it has been financed by the income of the organic farm.
Kishantos will become victim of government assisted land grab and lose the land that was the base of their work, unless we save it.
Kishantos is very unique, it is the only project in Europe where sustainable agriculture, ecological farming, education and democracy have been functioning together in perfect harmony. It is a proof that these basic values can really work together serving society.
Kishantos is a European symbol of sustainability. Very few similar projects exist in practice.
Kishantos is working for the common good, for sustainability, for democracy – for a safe future of our children and grandchildren. We should not let it disappear!
Please send a letter to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Minister for Rural Development Sándor Fazekas (email@example.com) with a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is a suggestion for the text:
“Dear Prime Minister Viktor Orbán,
Dear Minister Sándor Fazekas
I am (We are) deeply concerned about the fate of the Kishantos organic farm and Folk High School Centre. Kishantos Rural Development Centre has been a symbol of environmental, economic and social sustainability and democracy. However, as a result of the decision of the Hungarian Land Fund (NFA), the Kishantos Rural Development Centre would lose all the land of its organic demonstration farm (452 hectares) as of 1st November 2013. This would mean an end to the internationally well-known and highly respected farm and education centre.
The establishment and the operation of Kishantos Rural Development Centre has been helped by German taxpayers’ money as well as German and Danish experts, institutions and communities in many ways The decision to terminate the Centre will be another serious support to those voices which declare that providing Western European funding to Hungary is a waste of money, because this money is misused and the investments made possible by such money are insecure. I (we) believe that it would be a big mistake to give support to such voices.
For these reasons we ask you to annul the above mentioned decision of NFA and guarantee that Kishantos Rural Development Centre will continue its outstanding work during the coming years.