Sangaste / Tartu, 17.-20.04.2016:
Lars Jaeger, project manager „Green Week- Grüne Woche“ of the Messe Berlin GmbH, Wolfgang Jaeger, farmer from Penzlin, Laurent Mies, first mayor of Markt Oberstdorf as well as Jürgen Stübinger, managing director of Frankenfarm GmbH based in Himmelkrohn accompanied the voluntary employees from the office of the PeaceBread Association Dr. Marion Schenk and Geschäftsführer Dr. Gibfried Schenk to the partner country Estonia.
Stopps of the journey:
17. April: After flying from Berlin to Riga and taking a rental car to the Palace Sangaste, we were heartily welcomed by Mrs Heili Kalbri, managing director of the company that manages the palace.
While partaking in a very substantial dinner, that was announced with a wink as `light` by the outstanding kitchen staff of the hotel, the Palace of Sangaste was presented to us a potential conference venue for the annual PeaceBread conference.
Also present was the agricultural entrepreneur, estonian Rye King and member of the executive board of the Estonian Rye Association acting as the official civic partner for the PeaceBread Association Hanns Kruusamägi along with Dr. Mati Koppel, director of the Institute for Plant Cultivation, Ruve Šank, department manager at the estonian Ministry for Rural Development as well as the hosts Mrs. Kalbri, Mayor of Sangaste, Mr. Kaido Tamberg and the chairman of the council of Sangaste Mr. Rando Undrus.
Supported by the European Union many investments were made towards the upkeep of the Palace of Sangaste, which was built at the end of the 19th century: the building, that was used as a children’s vacation home in soviet times, was converted into a hotel, the guest rooms were modernised, an outstanding gastronomy was installed, conference facilities were created etc. pp..
Especially appealing for the PeaceBread idea is the fact, that one of the palaces former owner Count Friedrich Georg Magnus von Berg (1845 – 1938) had played an important role in the development of the estonian agriculture. It even can be said that he revolutionized it. Apart from potato cultivation, cattle- and horse breeding, the development of forestry, contributions to melioriation and increase of soil fertiliy, he focused especially in rye cultivation. Therefore he is remembered as the Estonian Rye Count.
The town council of Sangaste and the Management of the Palace took up the memory of the Rye Count and adjusted almost the whole town and the palace thematic as a center for rye cultivation. Before we were more closely familiarized with the practical implementation of the rye theme in the region on our second day of the visit, we used the evening to explore the leisure activies of the hotel and its close vicinity. Among these are armchair football and the famous estonian sauna at the theme park “witches realm”.
18. April: First on our itinerary was the visit to a small company that produces „Bio-Kama“, it is shortly steamed, then dried, roasted and milled by hand. It is either completely made of rye or an local cereal mixture. The exact mixing ratios of the grains in the latter are of course a secret.
Apart from the „Kama production“ local crafts are being supported.
The next stop was the mill named „Helen“. Its all about the production of muesli flakes, although on a larger scale.
Shortly before noon we visited the Ritter Farm with a sports highlight: archery demonstrated by a multiple estonian champion. Winners by the count of hits were Lars and Wolfgang Jaeger (Hunter) („Nomen est omen“!).
Lunch was taken again at the Palace and afterwards we had a final meeting with the hotel management, the mayor and the chairman of the town council of Sangaste. We had an intensive discussion about the technical, organisational and topical aspects of an international conference of the PeaceBread network in Sangaste. The potential hosts from Sangaste together with the estonian Rye Association and the estonian Ministry for Rural Development announced their future proposal of hosting the PeaceBread Conference in 2018 with the participation of the palace and the region of Sangaste. This news was received with joy by the german guests. The main focus of the conference could be the exchange of experience between the partner countries of the PeaceBread project and to develop several approaches for connecting rural and agricultural educational topics with recreational facilities in the rural areas.
After a journey through the vast estonian landscape the eventful day was ended with dinner in the old town of Tartu.
19. April: At the beginning of the Agroforum Mare Balticum convention, many of its participants took part in an excursion to the Peipussee-Region. Following the so called “Peipsi onion route” (in the past the people delivered tastefull onions to Riga, St. Petersburg and other urban centers) we visited Kolkja village with Old Believers’ Museum, Alatskivi Manor House, Juhan Liiv’s Museum and the Russian old believers’ prayer house in Kallaste.
Exciting expressions of the way of life of the estonian population in the region, the history of the settlement by russians of the old faith after their flight from the Russian Empire and their religious worship, economic aspects of fishing and tourism by the sea and of course the wonderful nature of the sea area will stay in our memory for a long time.
In the evening we were invited by the Mayor of Tartu to a reception by reason of the Forum Mare Balticum conference.
20. April: Full of impressions of country and its very committed inhabitants we took the drive back to Riga and finally flew back to Berlin.
All the participants are looking expectfully forward to the decision of the Estonian ministry for Rural Development to support the PeaceBread conference 2018 in Estonia. This would be the fifth conference venue of our twelve partner countries of the PeaceBread project after Berlin /Germany in 2014, Poznan/Poland 2015, Szarvas/Hungary and Bulgary in 2017.