Berlin – Riga: August 4th until August 8th 2017.
Chairman Adalbert Kienle and the representatives of the managing office Marion and Gibfried Schenk paid a visit to Latvia. The main goals of this journey were talks with our Estonian and Latvian partners. We also visited several venues in Latvia in preparation for the fifth annual conference „ Peace and Agriculture“. For the first time in the history of the PeaceBread Association the conference will take place in two countries simultaneously, Estonia and Latvia. Our partners from Latvia prepared a wonderful program for us!
August 4th: Visit to the Regional Consulting Service in Valmiera and the brewery „Valmiermuiža“ (http://www.valmiermuiza.lv/en).
Mrs Daiga Siliņa, regional manager of the Agricultural Consulting Service welcomed us together with our long-standing partners and friends Mr Martins Cimermanis, director of the Centre for Agricultural Consulting and Education (SIA “Latvijas Lauku konsultāciju un izglītības centrs”), staff member Mrs Aija Židena and the representative of the Department for International Relations of the Latvian Agricultural Ministry Arvids Krivens.
After extensive talks about the program and organisation of the conference in 2018, we did a tour of the local brewery. Of course we sampled some local beer. It was almost as in „Beer Franconia“(Bierfranken). With lots of engagement a young businessman build the brewery. Castle ruins and a restaurant were already there. A point of sale and a delivery service followed. The beer is also very good!
August 5th: Visit to the mill and meeting center in Ķoņi, the Lativian-Estonian border and a bakery in Blome.
On the way to Riga our companions Aija Židena and Arvids Krivens, who is also our driver for the whole tour, stopped in Koni (http://konudzirnavas.lv). An impressive place of tranquillity in the center of the country. An old mill and its annexes were restored with loving care to a meeting place and a venue for events, weddings or just a nice stay in the country. We admired an old spinning frame which was manufactured in Werdau, Saxonia. It has been use since well over a hundred years.
Koni would be a wonderful spot for a meeting of the civic partners from the PeaceBread network.
Since we are not far from the border to Estonia, we make a detour to the border checkpoint where on August 23rd 1989 (fifty years after the Hitler-Stalin pact) a human chain ran along. Its name went down in history as „ the Baltic Way“. Over a million people connected Vilnius in Lithuania, Riga in Latvia and Tallinn in Estonia to demonstrate their unity in the urge for freedom and independence from the Soviet Union (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltic_Way). We are not as much people, but we love to shake hands with each other at this historic memorial.
And then we are off to Blome. The delegation uses the time until the talks with our PeaceBread partners can take place to practice baking bread. The dough has been prepared; the guests are shaping the breads. Everybody tries to decorate their bread as individually as possible to be able to identify it after baking.
The colleagues from Estonia, Mrs. Janika Salev, head of the Department for Agricultural Affairs at the Estonian Agriculture Mnistry, Mr. Mati Koppel, directorof the Estonian Institute for Crop Research and Kaido Tamberg from the Sangaste city council are joining after a partially long journey. We discuss the potential conference venues in both countries and initial program ideas. And we sample our OWN BREAD!
August 6th: Visit to „Andulaiši“ managed by Eglis Kreicbergs, it is a farm business that was opened on the former soviet military testing ground in Zvārde, the Latvian PeaceBread rye is cultivated. The traces of former sites in the restricted zone can still be seen today. A church, that has been destroyed, is now in the middle of a small forest. The dwellings of villages have vanished. There is still a mill standing, but it has no mill wings anymore. But Eglis, his wife, his son and several other people came back.
Together with the Kreicbergs we plant a tree.
Onwards, on our way back to Riga, we visit the „Pikšas“ museum, it is about the former Latvian president Kārlis Ulmanis.
August 7th: On our last day in Latvia we drive to Ozolnieki and visit the headquarters of the Latvian Center for Agricultural Consulting and Education. The director Martins Cimermanis himself is out and about with other foreign visitors. But managing director Kaspars Žūriņš proves to be a very competent conversation partner. Representatives of non-governmental agricultural organisations are joining us. Mrs. Eva Staltmane and Mr. Rihards Krastiņš know a lot about agricultural communication in Latvia. We get along very well and have a common understanding: for a positive image of agriculture one has to work. It is not for free. We are happy to hear about about projects for young people in Latvia.
In the evening we have some time left for Riga itself and Art Deco in the vicinity of our hotel …
Here a report of regional newspaper “Liesma” from 2017, August, 15th: