3.5 months of war, 3.5 months of work of our Kharkiv team in conditions of complete uncertainty and danger. We do not stop, just like our whole country does not stop. Here is what we managed to achieve since the last time you’ve heard from us:
One of the activities of our Kharkiv Fusilli team during the war is monitoring and analysing the sowing campaign in the Kharkiv region – an important task, as Ukraine used to be one of the world’s largest net food exporters. Today we have the following situation in our region: despite the continuation of the war, farmers are trying to sow about 60% of the total sown area. However, there are enough challenges that cannot be solved quickly. We explained them in our newest blog.
We also analyzed the structure of food aid by private companies in Kharkiv. Yes, the main providers of volunteer food aid are food chains and IT companies.
Our research activities were not limited to analyzing the current situation in the country. Thus, our project participant Daria Yashkina together with a project participant from Valladolid University organized a study of the concept of urban agriculture in the urban food system. As part of the study, a survey and interviews were conducted with representatives of municipal agricultural initiatives. The paper considers an important aspect for the introduction of urban agriculture – public attitude to the phenomenon of urban agriculture (which includes the level of knowledge, involvement and interest in urban agriculture). The challenges and success factors of rural agricultural initiatives were also considered, in particular in Kharkiv on the example of the initiative of our partners “Green for You”.
Keeping in touch with partners
Of course, in these difficult times, we do not lose touch with partners and try to support each other. We everything goes with the initiative, with which we did not have time to sign a cooperation agreement, but managed to make plans for the future. “3.14 BAN” – an initiative to convert banners and other plastic products into bags to preserve the environment. During the war, the production of bags was suspended, and the production plant itself suffered from shelling. However, the founder of 3.14 BAN says she intends to return to Kharkiv and resume her struggle for the city’s environmental friendliness, so we look forward to further cooperation.
Our partners from the city farm “Green for You” shared with us their plans and how they are now trying to resume production:
“Our initiative has grown into a humanitarian center, volunteer. Where we planned to open a processing plant, the premises were completely given over to the volunteer center. We began to form humanitarian kits sent by new mail. Began to find out who is where. A certain circle of people who helped has already formed here. At first, micro-greens and food were helpful, then things started, because it had to be changed from winter to spring. “It would be great if there were places where you could see everything. We really have the idea of a farm. Where people could come and watch the growing process. There can be many such moments, it all depends on the size of the project and the willingness of the city authorities and organizations like you, international, which contribute to improving the food program”.
However, all these are plans for the post-war future. We are currently establishing contacts with an initiative that is very much needed during the war. “Victory Gardens” initiative – helps people grow plants, necessary vegetables and more at home or in common urban areas.
Living Lab work
First of all, we are sad to say that the school where we held our Living Lab meetings with students was destroyed during one of the shellings in the city. Fortunately, all students were evacuated at the beginning of the war and no one was injured in the school building. Pupils have been relocated to different parts of the world, but some of them have been at home in Kharkiv throughout the war. However, the educational process did not stop, but went online. So we had the opportunity to communicate in the Living Lab at a distance. Yes, we held a meeting just for communication, so that the children could adapt to the new format and just talk to us about their feelings and thoughts. And for the next meeting we brought the founder of “3.14 BAN” Kateryna Uvarova, who told how her production worked, and how she plans to restore it. On the occasion of the end of the school year, the administration of the school “OCHAG” thanked the Faculty of Sociology.
And the class teacher wrote us a review of the Living Lab experience:
“I, Anisimova Oksana, as a class teacher of 7-A class, am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the FUSILLI project. Observing the activities of students, I came to the conclusion that teenagers can think the children were happy to immerse themselves in the topics of healthy eating, inequalities in nutrition, creating their own restaurant menus, solving environmental problems, like FUSILLI, allow to expand knowledge in the social sphere, to go beyond the educational material. Many thanks for the opportunity to become part of a great cause!” That’s how we let the students go on a short summer vacation, while we prepare something new for them.
Volunteer and information activities
Our team continues to volunteer, as the need for humanitarian aid, despite the fact that the media began to talk about it much less, is only growing. Yes, our Oksana Nekhaienko helps people in the Kharkiv region, Olena Muradyan does not stop at constant help to students and teachers of the Faculty of Sociology and the University. We also involve the Beehive volunteer group, which provides targeted assistance to those who cannot leave their homes.
Information work on the state of Ukraine and the Kharkiv region is also carried out by our staff. For example, our Oleksandra Deineko actively talks about the state of Ukrainian society for the Norwegian community. Olga Filippova lives information work in Finland. And our Daria Yashkina, who is now in Spain, recently gave an interview to a Norwegian publication.
But further – more, we continue to work actively and believe in victory!
Credits for Images: FUSILLI team Kharkiv