In May, over 200 young people joined Young Fiends of the Earth Cyprus for a food sovereignty weekend - a chance to lean practical tips about how to build a better, fairer and more localised food system.
Participants included both food producers and consumers, allowing information to be exhchanged about the challenges of producing food and consuming food in a way that supports local markets. Producers gave practical information to the consumers about the use of agroecological methods for farming, and they questioned the current EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) system and its subsidies. Consumers gave ideas for a more convenient distribution of food in order to be able to get their food from the source (producers) instead of big supermarkets.
The first day began early in the morning - at 5:30. Participants were up and ready to go for field work in the farms of Agros village. The task was to help young farmers to harvest their production of roses. Agros is a village known for the essential oil produced from the Rosa damascene plant. The experience was unique, and the people were very excited since was the first time they had been involved in the harvesting of roses. They realised how vital weather conditions are on the plant's production, and how much effort is required to grow them.
After the harvesting, we delivered the roses to a small family artisanship at Agros village and the procedure to extract essential oil began. The Rose Factory Tsolakis produces essential oil from the roses and afterwards flavors for the traditional and organic cosmetics. The owner explained the processes and the equipment to us, and participants discussed with the products and how they deal with the trading and the markets for them.