The desertification process has become a chronic problem in southern Romania. Experts estimate that over 1,000 hectares of land become sand dunes every year, which means that in 50 years the vast majority of southern lands will be covered with sand, in the absence of immediate action.
The Neamţu manor in Olari is located on 1.3 ha terrain which, in the interwar period, was the administrative center of another agricultural field, surrounded by a recreational garden. In the 50’s it became the CAP in the village, gradually becoming dry land, transformed into a vacant lot.
Located in the Olteţ meadow, 30 km from Slatina and 43 km from Craiova, Olari village in Pârşcoveni commune is a predominantly agricultural, impoverished area, with certain desertification tendencies due to climate change, deforestation and destruction of existing irrigation systems. Many families live only on unemployment support, the inhabitants are deprived of access to information, which is why they practice the same type of agriculture without the result with which they were accustomed.
The “Experimental Center for Studies and Education at the Neamţu Manor in Olari” will initiate a model of experimental agriculture that will provide soil stability with sustainable solutions for the future. We also want to offer a model for the use and rescue of these types of arid, dried up lands for the rural community. Thus, the locals will be able to practice a subsistence agriculture and even medium-term long-term agriculture.
In this process we partnered up with Forgotten Herbs for their expertise in culinary archeology, with an emphasis on food plants from spontaneous flora or forgotten by contemporary gastronomy. Together we planned to create a small experimental garden around the mansion. We will grow there some species and varieties resistant to drought, the scorching heat of Oltenia and its type of soil. This year we will try an experiment with some more resistant historical species, but which will also have a connection with the place.
For this we chose fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), an aromatic plant from which both leaves and seeds are used and which we know were used in the old Oltenian cuisine, and peas (Lathyrus sativus), a legume almost unknown today, but widely consumed in the ancient Balkans, for which we ordered the seeds from Croatia. We add two kinds of artichokes (Cynara scolymus), an ingredient that appears in the Brâncovenesc Manuscript from the early 1700s, giving us indications, practically, that these plants were cultivated in southern Romania.
We will plant four traditional species of Mesoamerican corn well adapted to drought conditions, obtained from a collector of rare varieties from Satu Mare.
We try to help the dry soil from Olari by practicing traditional agriculture according to the “three sisters” method by which corn is grown with beans and pumpkins, three species that grow in harmony and help each other by loosening the soil in depth and enriching it naturally with nitrogen. and nutrients.
We also join some varieties of traditional beans (including Anasazi), others of pumpkins of many kinds and calabash (Lagenaria siceraria) another culinary plant that appears in the Brâncovenesc Manuscript, consumed at the royal court before the pumpkins reached Eastern Europe, today completely forgotten.
In autumn we will also put raisin vines that we will take from the Research Station from Drăgășani and possibly lavender.
There used to be a water fountain as well as a decorative fountain. We consider it a priority to build a well that provides clean water for these agricultural works as we found the old well to be clogged. So we started drilling a new well. Although the initial forecasts showed that we will find water at a depth of 20 meters, it turned out that nature has plans of its own and the water is at a depth of 33 meters. Additional desanding and protection works against sand were added so the costs doubled. However, through a public call we managed to raise the amount of 5,825 lei which was covered by 34 private donors and the Bilceşti Gardens from Vâlcea County. We give out thanks to all.
Forgotten Herbs started out in 2012 as an independent botanical exploration project from the perspective of culinary archeology, focusing on food plants from spontaneous flora forgotten or lost by contemporary gastronomy. Over time, the project has evolved in several complementary directions, involving a team of people welded around the same passions at the intersection of botanical research and food anthropology, with forays into history and art, but also encompassing a physical side of interaction with nature through community gardening, volunteering and environmental education activities. Thus the “Historical Garden” was born, a thematic sector located in the Botanical Garden of Bucharest populated with plants grown in the eras before the arrival and spread of plant species brought from the New World, followed by the Legumim project, an urban garden of ethically grown and sustainable vegetables. according to the principles of permaculture.
Bucharest, March 9, 2021
For the year 2021 Pro Patrimonio Foundation and UiPath Foundation announce their actions to continue the program “The Children’s Academy for Music and Education” carried out in the communities around the George Enescu House in Mihăileni, a historical monument in Botoşani County, as well as the initiation of a new project, “The Experimental Center for Studies and Education – Neamţu Manor, Olari”- historical monument in Olt County.
The educational program dedicated to the children’s community in Mihăileni and surrounding areas scheduled to begin in February 2020, has been adapted along the way, influenced by national and regional restrictions caused by the pandemic. Thus, some of the activities took place in July – September 2020. The George Enescu House in Mihăileni was inaugurated on August 19, 2020 with a piano concert, in the context of nine days of non-formal education workshops attended by 20 children from Mihăileni.
24 children from Mihăileni and Vârfu Câmpului localities follow their passion for music within the program “The Children’s Academy for Music and Education” (CAME). In October 2020, the children received musical instruments – blockflöte – and began the lessons in the study of the instrument and musical culture. More than 600 hours of music education took place both in the yard of the George Enescu House and online, depending on the weather. The program continues throughout 2021.
The year 2020 also marked the partnership between UiPath Foundation and Pro Patrimonio Foundation in the implementation of the educational program “Future Acceleration Program” in Botosani County. Through this program, 20 children from vulnerable families from three communities around the George Enescu House benefit from integrated support designed to ensure their access to education: monthly scholarships, clothing, school supplies, sanitary articles, tablets, and online educational activities. In September 2020, all children participated in the UiPath Foundation Virtual Camp – an interactive educational camp, with workshops on various topics: programming (Scratch), STEM, architecture, photo editing, drawing, sports and healthy lifestyle. Since October 2020, children from Botoșani County have participated in approximately 800 hours of tutoring lessons in Romanian language and literature, Mathematics and English.
The children in both programs also benefited from over 500 hours of non-formal education activities – practical workshops and online camps – not only to bring them closer to the history and culture of the place they come from, but also to encourage them to discover the potential and explore the world we live in.
In parallel with the activities in Botoşani, in 2021 the partnership between the two organizations will be extended in Olt County, in the communities around the Neamţu Manor in Olari. Thus, non-formal education workshops will be organized for children from Olari, within the project “Experimental Center for Studies and Education – Neamţu Manor, Olari” and the work site for the mansion restoration that was interrupted last year will be resumed.
“We’ve managed to overcome the difficulties encountered. The action that was started last year has overcome the difficulties caused by the pandemic. The solutions were verified over time, satisfied the wishes of the foundation and delighted the beneficiaries, the children in the community. Due to the good results on both sides, through a judicious analysis, a new intervention is being started in another area, with problems specific to southern Romania, such as the one in Olari. We start from the micro-geographical and socio-cultural irradiation area of the monument and extend the strategy to the macro-exploration and rediscovery of the territory. We try to rebuild territories, to coagulate communities, to map their resources, to experiment responsibly. We have adapted and we are moving forward in the two communities with specific approaches to each one.” said Serban Sturdza, President of the Pro Patrimonio Foundation.
“The last year has significantly affected access to quality education for children from disadvantaged families and the integrated support offered by the Future Acceleration Program has made a real difference in the lives of children in Botosani County, as well as in the other four areas of the country where we work with partners such as the Pro Patrimonio Foundation. With the limitations generated by the pandemic, the development and consolidation of innovative educational hubs in the heart of rural communities offers a real chance for a better future for children from vulnerable backgrounds. We are happy to contribute through this partnership with the Pro Patrimonio Foundation to the development of sustainable educational ecosystems in Botoșani County and, this year, in Olt County, in the communities around the Neamțu Manor in Olari. ” Raluca Negulescu-Balaci, Executive Director of UiPath Foundation.
March 05, 2021
Last year in October 24 children from Mihăileni and Vârfu Câmpului localities in Botoşani county, received musical instruments – blockflöte – and began lessons in the study of this instrument and in musical culture. The 600 hours of music education in 2020 took place in the yard of George Enescu’s House, when the weather was favorable, and afterwards they took place online.
The program initiated and developed by the Pro Patrimonio Foundation in partnership with the UiPath Foundation is entitled “The Children’s Academy of Music and Education”. As a music education program, complementary to the school one, dedicated to children from secondary schools around the George Enescu House in Mihăileni, it helps children develop their interest in current school activities and, in this way, to enrich their cultural knowledge. Music culture develops creativity, logical thinking, structures critical thinking and develops the artistic sensitivity of young people in training. In addition, music coagulates communities, helps preserve local identity and complements a correct perception of heritage. In an area with an instrumental and vocal tradition still present, but with a high risk of social vulnerability, such as the Botoşani – Dorohoi area, music strengthens the feeling of belonging to the community, a very important element for restoring social cohesion.
Mrs. Paula Gavriluţă is the music teacher who helps the children descipher the blockflöte scores whilst also teaching them things about a much needed musical culture. During the year dedicated to Beethoven, the emphasis was on deciphering excerpts from the Ninth Symphony, and around December they learned about Anton Pann’s patriotic song as well as about the great composer George Enescu, who sang to the wounded or organized charity concerts. With the help of interactive online games, children learn to recognize musical instruments and through musical audition they put the musical phrases in order according to their intensity and according to the instruments that appear in the orchestra.
At the beginning of 2021, the group of children in the music program received new scores and continues to develop their skills in using the instrument.
The program continues throughout 2021 in partnership with the UiPath Foundation.
The In-Herit project, initiated by the National Heritage Institute, runs place 2020 and 2021 within the RO-Culture program with the support of the SEE Grants 2014-2021. The Pro Patrimonio Foundation, project partner, is responsible for creating the online application Salva-Monument, an integral part of the general online platform.
The web application will address the owners of historic buildings, specialists and the general public so that they can be informed about the practical and constructive ways of maintaining, conserving and capitalizing on heritage. An important component of the guide will be the presentation of practical issues regarding approval, documentation, economic or funding issues that may arrise.
All these themes will be presented in a format as accessible as possible, in formulas of expression as simple as possible accompanied by suggestive graphic images. The Salva-Monument Guide will be a content aggregator for heritage.
Romania’s built heritage has been deteriorating, especially in the past 30 years, at a much faster pace than the owners’ ability to rehabilitate, maintain and use them. Society at large is poorly educated and informed about the ways of rehabilitation and maintenance, but also about the possibilities of capitalization of buildings and heritage complexes. However, more and more citizens are looking for information and tools to help them understand how heritage can be activated and revitalized in the context of insufficient collaboration and communication with public administration.
The Pro Patrimonio Foundation aims to create an interactive online platform – the Salva-Monument Guide – which will be integrated into the comprehensive program “In-Herit: National Center for Heritage Information and Promotion” developed by the National Heritage Institute.
The guide will be a support for the owners of historic buildings, specialists, the general public by which they can find practical and constructive ways of maintaining, conserving and capitalizing on heritage – both a cultural resource and an economic resource. The digital platform will also provide a link between citizens and specialists, from various fields – architecture, legal, economic, etc.
We aim to provide active free support for as many common situations as possible in which different categories find themselves in. The foundation receives an average of 10 questions per month on how to save, intervene, finance a historic building. The demands are diverse, but are based on poor public education and an acute lack of public information. In most cases, questions and requests reach the Foundation because public institutions answer vaguely or not at all. Interested citizens do not have at their disposal a simple document from which they can understand what the steps, the response times, the competent authorities and the laws are, as well as how to complete the applications and to whom should they be addressed.
The Salva-Monument guide will address:
In order to build this Guide as representative as possible, we set out to conduct a public consultation through a survey so that we can address as wide a range of possible situations and questions as possible from the public.
The survey in Romanian language only and is open to the public until March 3, 2021
The Project ”Enescu Festival – cultual-musical explorations and exercises” has started!
In order to better know the location of George Enescu’s House and its surroundings, we proposed to start to start the exercise of mapping craftsmen and local resources around the house between July 1-4, 2020. Two teams patrolled for four days within a radius of approximately 50-60 km around the architectural object to sketch the story around Mihăileni.
The route was based on maps of existing craftsmen online https://hartamesterilorconstructii.ro/ și https://www.hartamestesugarilor.ro/,valuable and rich information collected from ethnographic museums and tourist information centres in the area and clues provided by the locals themselves. The abundance of craftsmen in these places forced us to make a forced selection of field visits and to keep the research tracks open for other times.
We managed to visit 25 craftsmen and we got acquainted with the cultural differences and similarities of Bucovina and Moldova on foot through villages and cities or through museum research.
Even if the theme of this project is limited to research, our ideas for future collaborations have already started having met such skilled craftsmen and from such varied areas.
In the marathon experience of field research I met: blacksmiths, weavers, sculptors and carpenters, stonemasons, skinners, glassmakers and weavers. As in the research at Câmpulung Muscel in Argeş County, around Villa Golescu, we were impressed by both the joys and the hardships of each craft.
We hope the preservation and re-adaptation of all these traditions will someday be the object of a future Honest Goods collection from George Enescu’s House in Mihăileni and to incite as many people as possible to access the existing human and cultural resources nearby.
We would like to thank the craftsmen for lodging us and for their stories, as well as the volunteers, Ruxandra Sacaliș and Ana Luiza Simion without whom we would not have been able to find out so many things.
“The Enescu House Festival – cultural-musical explorations and exercises” is one of Pro Patrimonio’s cultural projects co-financed by AFCN. The project does not necessarily represent the position of the National Cultural Fund Administration. AFCN is not responsible for the content of the project or how the project results can be used. These are entirely the responsibility of the beneficiary of the funding.
George Enescu House in Mihăileni and Neamţu Manor in Olari – Educational Centers for Local Communities
Casa George Enescu din Mihăileni și Conacul Neamţu din Olari, centre educaționale pentru comunitățile locale
Ghidul Salva-Monument. Un proiect în cadrul „In-Herit – Centrul național de informare și promovare a patrimoniului cultural”.
Salva-Monument Guide. A project within “In-Herit – National Center for Information and Promotion of Cultural Heritage”.
Forgotten Textures: Inter-war Bucharest. Plastering Recipe Book, Pro Patrimonio 2019/ second edition, 2021/ [excerpt]
Who’s Afraid of the Matache Neighbourhood? Principles of Urban Regeneration for the Matache Area – Bucharest North Railway Station / Pro Patrimonio 2012
Education for heritage. Guide to ideas and explorations for the built and natural heritage and crafts / Pro Patrimonio 2019