Report from the international seminar “Vote for Quality – – YES for Polish Farmers”
A seminar organized by ICPPC (The International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside) took place in Stryszow and Cracow on May 25th – 26th. Among the participants were: Ake Karlsson – president of Swedish Small Farmers Organization, Sir Richard Body – the Member of UK Parliament, author of many books about the European agriculture and the development of Europe, Luise Hemmer Pihl – Danish journalist and member of People’s Movement Against EU, Hanna Mitoñska – Farmers Union “Ojczyzna”, Ma³gorzata Cieœlak – secretary of Polish Christian Entrepreneurs Association as well as small family farmers from Stryszow area and journalists from press TV and radio stations.
On the first day in the morning participants of the seminar were welcomed in Stryszow by ICPPC directors: Jadwiga £opata-Wietrzna and Sir Julian Rose. Then they visited a few traditional and organic farms in neighbouring villages Bieñkówka, Zache³mna, D¹brówka and £êkawica. On the Master family organic farm in £êkawica participants had a traditional Polish farmhouse meal prepared by the hosts from their own farm products. After the meal there were meeting with local farmers, about 50 people, who listened the lectures given by Sir Julian Rose, Sir Richard Body, Luise Hemmer Pihl and Ake Karlsson. Speakers were telling about the difficult situation of EU farmers under current CAP and threats faced by their Polish colleagues. After the lectures foreign guests answered many questions. Meeting was chaired by Jadwiga Lopata-Wietrzna. In the evening the participants were accommodated at ecotourist farms.
The second day started with a breakfast at farms and after it everybody left for Cracow where the press conference started at 10am. Journalists from TV, radio stations and press were questioning foreign guests and ICPPC directors. All speakers pointed that the present EU CAP must be thoroughly reformed and that Poland should not copy mistakes made by European agriculture. The ICPPC directors said one more time that Poland should not join the EU until the CAP has been thoroughly reformed and agricultural conditions negotiated that protect the future of the Polish traditional family farms.
The meeting included a special presentation which compared the quality of food sold in supermarkets with the food produced by traditional and organic family farms. On one table there were, among the other things, coloured soft drinks, hams and sausages full of chemicals and preservatives and bread as soft as a sponge. All were wrapped in sterile plastic which carried the names of the numerous chemical ingredients. On the other table there were thick fruit juices, naturally smoked hams and sausages, country butter and cheeses and a big loaf of traditionally baked bread. Everything looked very tasty and natural and smelled beautiful. The participants eagerly ate the farmhouse food but left the supermarket food alone.
All agreed that it is a terrible irony that that fine food produced by our small family farms often fails to meet EU requirements and therefore will not be allowed to be sold. At the end of discussion it was said that a key act of resistance against the current slide in farmers fortunes and food quality will be a strong “NO” vote in the June referendum.
The meeting ended about 1 pm.