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Farming in Romania

 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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A friend sent me this link.  Looking through the photos was educational and inspirational.

"In Romania, the average income is less than $100. On that, even with Romanian prices, many people cannot afford to eat. So people with advanced degrees like these electrical engineers grow food. This practice is widespread."
"When we were done photographing, we joined in, throwing the harvested food up into their wagon. They were amazed and told us they thought Americans didn't work.  Mihai here is 80 and his daughter Maria is 60."
http://www.leafpile.com/TravelLog/Romania/Farming/Harvest/Harvest.htm
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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The article didn't say but I think we can safely rule out per day or per minute.  So if it is even as much as $100 per month it is less than most Americans have access to.
 
Andrew Michaels
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I was a bit shocked to see this. I love it their system, of course, but I can't believe they can't afford better transportation.

I've been in Southeast Asia for 10 months now, and even the people of Cambodia, which are among the poorest in Asia after years of civil war and wholesale slaughter, can get around on used motorbikes or decent bikes.

I'd think Europe would have a higher standard of living.
 
                                
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RusticBohemian wrote:
I was a bit shocked to see this. I love it their system, of course, but I can't believe they can't afford better transportation.



I'd fill you in a lot more, but it would appear tedious to this forum.  Suffice it to say, I have been somewhat blessed in my life to know a fair number of Romanians... let's leave it at that.

First, you don't love their system... or, at least, you wouldn't... if you knew how it really is.  If you lived it.  Those people are doing what they have to do to survive.  It is not a pleasant pastoral existence.  They are lucky ONLY in the sense that they ALMOST always have food to eat.  They don't have a bloody thing else.  That's why you see the donkey carts, and plows pulled by old women.  

You see, in the "bad old Communist days" under Ceaucescu, there was money.  Oh yes.  People had money, and good jobs.  Half of the graduates from universities were honest-to-God engineers.  Not what we in America call "engineers," but people who really could build stuff and make stuff work.  But there was nothing in the stores to buy with that money.

After they executed Ceaucescu, and instituted capitalism... well... some things got better.  The stores became stocked with goods.  You could buy almost anything, if you had the money.  Trouble is, there was no money.  No one had any.  So while the technical logistics of the economy had turned round for Romania, the situation on the ground remained the same -- no one could buy anything worth a shit for bettering their lives.

And so it goes today.  Nothing much has changed in the last 15 years for most Romanians.  The few of them who have managed to escape for the bullshit capitalist system that is the USA are eternally grateful, for reasons I cannot comprehend.  Their lives were so bad that to subject themselves to the system you and I despise is heaven for them.

So that is modern Romania.  I do so wish that we (as modern, First Wold peoples) could quit romanticizing the primitivism of backward societies, and exalting it as somehow superior to our own lifestyles.  Every single person from those societies hopes to live in one like OURS.  And right now, as I sit having to scrape for money to make my next car insurance payment (forced on me in this "free" society) I still wouldn't trade my existence for that of anyone in any other society.

Which brings back the conflict, of course.  We know our mode of life is not infinitely sustainable.  But theirs isn't, either.  There's a happy medium.  And we have to find it.

Just...for the love of Pete, man... let's quit pretending that starving peasants in only recently ComBloc countries (and many others who haven't even evolved that far) live in some idyllic utopia we can only aspire to... and deal with the reality in which we live, and strive to make that reality better... in a lasting manner.

I want it.  You want it.  We can do it.
 
Andrew Michaels
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Wow, you apparently got the wrong impression from my post.

Believe me that I'm no fan of communism, corrupt governments, or onerous regulations. I'm about the biggest fan of freedom and improvement there is.

When I said, "I like their system," I meant merely that their agricultural system looked nice and productive and apparently didn't use chemicals. I think that deserves some props, no matter where you see it.

I'm not familiar with Romania to any extent, but I'm aware that they're fairy recently turned capitalist. Here in Asia, that change is causing a wide-scale standard of living improvements. Since Cambodia was even farther behind Romania in terms of it's end of communist rule, I was expecting to see the Romanians farther ahead.

That's all.

TheDirtSurgeon wrote:

Just...for the love of Pete, man... let's quit pretending that starving peasants in only recently ComBloc countries (and many others who haven't even evolved that far) live in some idyllic utopia we can only aspire to... and deal with the reality in which we live, and strive to make that reality better... in a lasting manner.
 
Andrew Michaels
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BTW, I don't mean to argue with your observations, but at least according to the International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook Database, the $100 a month figure may apply to the peasants in question, but not to the nation as a whole, which appears to be gaining in per capita GDP

"With a GDP of around $254 billion and a GDP per capita (PPP) of $11,860[152] for the year 2010, Romania is an upper-middle income country economy and has been part of the European Union since 1 January 2007."

 
                            
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"With a GDP of around $254 billion and a GDP per capita (PPP) of $11,860[152] for the year 2010, Romania is an upper-middle income country economy and has been part of the European Union since 1 January 2007."


who says this is true?
i live in serbia, and i know by accident some facts from real life what is situation there, not from some stupid charts.
romania, same as few other neighbouring countries, is country choking in chaos-capitalism, with huge corruption, unemployment, polution, and other issues, just to mention few. membership in eu means nothing, at least 50 or 60% of people have problem just to survive.
once i saw there people living in cave. how upper-middle is this for you?
 
Peter Ingot
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TheDirtSurgeon wrote:
Which brings back the conflict, of course.  We know our mode of life is not infinitely sustainable.  But theirs isn't, either.  There's a happy medium.  And we have to find it.

Just...for the love of Pete, man... let's quit pretending that starving peasants in only recently ComBloc countries (and many others who haven't even evolved that far) live in some idyllic utopia we can only aspire to... and deal with the reality in which we live, and strive to make that reality better... in a lasting manner.

I want it.  You want it.  We can do it.


Agree. I live in Bulgaria, where things are similar. Life for many people was definately better under communism.
People are resourceful because they have to be (westerners think nothing of cash investments in farming that would be out of  the question here). I  have learned a lot from farmers here. The farming  is mostly good, but rarely entirely organic (although many visitors and city dwellers cling to this delusion which does nothing but harm). Some permaculture ideas have been in use for years here.

Ornamental gardens are thankfully rare.

The wealth and jobs are in the cities. Old age pensioners are burdened with the job of feeding the cities while maintaining the fertility of the soil, and in future can look forward to more EU bureaucracy (they have ignored most of it till now, and the subsidies got intercepted by the mafia).
 
Peter Ingot
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RusticBohemian wrote:
BTW, I don't mean to argue with your observations, but at least according to the International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook Database, the $100 a month figure may apply to the peasants in question, but not to the nation as a whole, which appears to be gaining in per capita GDP

"With a GDP of around $254 billion and a GDP per capita (PPP) of $11,860[152] for the year 2010, Romania is an upper-middle income country economy and has been part of the European Union since 1 January 2007."




I agree with Hvala. These figures are skewed by a wealthy corrupt mafia elite. The EU and the IMF don't seem to have a clue what life is like in the rural balkans. These institutions are run by  townies who think rural goatherds will be willing and able to scan and fax 90 page subsidy forms to Brussels, to get an extra 5 Euros per year in exchange for registering their animals and lining themselves up for more regulation and paperwork in future.
 
Ionel Catanescu
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Sorry to burst your bubbles here people but what i'm seeing in these pictures and what i'm reading on these pages is like the story of the frog in the well.
It thought that the whole world was the piece of sky she was glimpsing through the well mouth ...
Imagine the surprise when someone took it out in the bucket ...

Now, i live here, in Romania and it's not easy for somebody from the outside to just even imagine the past and present of this country. I'd rather say allmost close to impossible.
If i show you pictures what does it mean ? Is that the reality ?

We're not perfect but we're not what's being depicted here either.

Facts:
- People were constrained in all aspects of life under communism (very hard to grasp for others);
- After communism, the west showed us "bling" and we bought it. We still do, just as much as many other countries do;
- People like it easy, same as anywhere. If they are doing it the hard way it's because they have no choice;
- Agriculture is as elsewhere. Big agro/chemical and little else. The small ones don't matter;
- Most people would like to live/work in the cities (that's where the big money is, no?);
- There are villages devoided of young people (moved to the city for the big $$$) who left behind the old like in the pictures posted;
- The per person income is low for some people (mostly old ones).

Heck, i could go at this the rest of the day.
Thing is, people used "permaculture-ish" ways before because they had no other means.
Most would use even more conventional NPK/machinery if they could afford it.
And one thing about these pictures: It's no romance. It's hard work. Back breaking. No mouse scrolling but REAL back breacking.

I know all these too well even. I lived some of the old days. I'm living today.
I'm working my way to my very own permaculture farm these days so i know some things.
Living all these things helped me not jump to conclusions by seeing some pictures or hearing some opinions. People above write what they want/know or lived. I did the same.
If you replace "Romania" by some other random non western country, would anything change ?
The people are the same everywhere throughout history.
Hasn't permaculture taught us that whenever people spoil their land/soil they're gone ?
We are doing this now, everywhere.

With respects,
Ionel
 
John Polk
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I have Romanian friends that have lived here in the US for nearly 30 years now.
After talking on the phone with relatives still in Romania, one joked "Chiar trhe ţigani pleacă."  (Even the gypsies are leaving!)
 
Ionel Catanescu
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This reminds me of Brad Lancaster in one of his videos on youtube.
He was thinking of leaving ship to greener pastures but he wised up and remained and we do know what happened, no ?

I remember an older movie in which a blonde, western, university schooled woman gets stranded (car breakdown i think) somewhere in Africa. She meets this liliputan bushman and sees him as the most primitive thing ever because he was careful with a glass bottle left by tourists ... a little affraid maybe.
On the other hand, he thought of her as highly retarded because she couldn't even read the sun or tracks or any other desert clues.
Hard to say who's right, no ?

So, to tie this all in to what the original message was about, yes, there are people doing it natural, here or elsewhere.
Yes, the majority ain't doing it, here or elsewhere..
Yes, politicians are corrupt, here or elsewhere.
...
...
...
Nobody is perfect i guess.
One of my countrymen wrote on his permaculture blog something like this:
"No, this is not permaculture. It maybe some sort of organic/natural farming of sorts but it's done because there's no alternative. Give the people money and they'll hapily go and buy tractors and fertilizers like crazy because that's what they've been thought. Besides, the land is already in bad shape after all the abuse so going natural with conventional methods (which they know) yields only weeds"
I would only add that people are skeptical about permaculture. Some see it as nice but not for them. Some others have looked at me gently and, out of respect, said to me that i was young and maybe too enthusiastic. Bottom line is, unfortunately, most people couldn't care less if it's the right or the wrong way of doing things. We are here because of that aren't we ?
Anyway, the story is the same in UK, US, Asia and elsewhere. Details will differ but the underlining story is the same.
Look here, the same story:
http://permaculture.org.au/2011/09/03/a-small-productive-fruit-farm-in-cambodia/
People are people whether living here or on the moon.

Have Peace
 
                                
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RusticBohemian wrote:
Wow, you apparently got the wrong impression from my post.


Naw, and I wasn't attacking you, either.  I just sorta used your post as a launch pad to expand the thread.  It's important to correct misconceptions, and I see some members closer to the area and more knowledgeable have chimed in doing just that.


RusticBohemian wrote:
When I said, "I like their system," I meant merely that their agricultural system looked nice and productive and apparently didn't use chemicals. I think that deserves some props, no matter where you see it.


The sad thing is that they would be using big tractors and chemicals if they could afford them, just like the more prosperous parts of the world.  The real props, I think, go to farmers who use organic methods by choice.
 
Matthew Fallon
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aw man, these photos do make me nostalgic,
some real fond memories from living a year up outside of cluj-napoca, like 15+ years ago . some partially tuica-induced 

ionel's not joking that work was definitely frikkin back breaking,especially if you werent used to it and didnt know good technique,like with the scythe for instance,or loading a bigass cart with 500 tons of hay and riding that monsterous thing down a street for miles..  i helped out on the farm of some friends families. the countryside was incredibly beautiful , i miss it often.  had to make a small fire each morning just for a hot shower but i loved that.
was actually supposed to return last year and escort my aunt on a Roma/gypsy music tour program but it fell through, i wound up using the airline credit to spend 3 months in boliva/peru and got back a few weeks ago...

even back then they were getting all these a-holes coming over from here pushing the big-ag chemical crap etc...i actually sat next to one on the ride home i still remember him bragging how he'd get 80% more production out of some field he'd been to or whatnot. i had no clue what permaculture was back then, didnt call my garden home 'organic' etc,but felt instinctively that this tool was selling agricultural-crack to children.


regarding all the rest of this, not even getting into it!
da pace băieţi, nu se merita'   


 
Brenda Groth
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a very interesting discussion, enjoyed the varied views
 
                                                              
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TheDirtSurgeon wrote:
I'd fill you in a lot more, but it would appear tedious to this forum.  Suffice it to say, I have been somewhat blessed in my life to know a fair number of Romanians... let's leave it at that.

First, you don't love their system... or, at least, you wouldn't... if you knew how it really is.  If you lived it.  Those people are doing what they have to do to survive.  It is not a pleasant pastoral existence.  They are lucky ONLY in the sense that they ALMOST always have food to eat.  They don't have a bloody thing else.  That's why you see the donkey carts, and plows pulled by old women.  

You see, in the "bad old Communist days" under Ceaucescu, there was money.  Oh yes.  People had money, and good jobs.  Half of the graduates from universities were honest-to-God engineers.  Not what we in America call "engineers," but people who really could build stuff and make stuff work.  But there was nothing in the stores to buy with that money.

After they executed Ceaucescu, and instituted capitalism... well... some things got better.  The stores became stocked with goods.  You could buy almost anything, if you had the money.  Trouble is, there was no money.  No one had any.  So while the technical logistics of the economy had turned round for Romania, the situation on the ground remained the same -- no one could buy anything worth a shit for bettering their lives.

And so it goes today.  Nothing much has changed in the last 15 years for most Romanians.  The few of them who have managed to escape for the bullshit capitalist system that is the USA are eternally grateful, for reasons I cannot comprehend.  Their lives were so bad that to subject themselves to the system you and I despise is heaven for them.

So that is modern Romania.  I do so wish that we (as modern, First Wold peoples) could quit romanticizing the primitivism of backward societies, and exalting it as somehow superior to our own lifestyles.  Every single person from those societies hopes to live in one like OURS.  And right now, as I sit having to scrape for money to make my next car insurance payment (forced on me in this "free" society) I still wouldn't trade my existence for that of anyone in any other society.

Which brings back the conflict, of course.  We know our mode of life is not infinitely sustainable.  But theirs isn't, either.  There's a happy medium.  And we have to find it.

Just...for the love of Pete, man... let's quit pretending that starving peasants in only recently ComBloc countries (and many others who haven't even evolved that far) live in some idyllic utopia we can only aspire to... and deal with the reality in which we live, and strive to make that reality better... in a lasting manner.

I want it.  You want it.  We can do it.


Just want to say thanks for this, some first hand info about the realities of what life is like for a lot of people.  Reading things like this is just a reminder of how lucky a lot of us really are.  So again, thanks so much for sharing and its good people like everyone on this forum that's going to make a difference before its too late for this country.  The best of luck to anyone there living it, or helping, you're truely amazing.
 
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