Italian students first time in Croatia: they learn about Croatian agricultural practices

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In the past few days, Sunce and Permakultura Dalmacija organized study trip for eight students and their professor from the Instituto tecnico agrario e geometra, from the province of Molise, the city of Larino. This study trip, which is part of the Interreg VERA project – Sustainable agricultural models for biodiversity conservation, was an opportunity for Italian students to leave Italy borders for the first time and to learn something new about sustainable agricultural models and practices in Croatia.

We welcomed the students in Split and hosted them in the Sunce office in order to show them how the work in Sunce looks like. Then, as a part of their sustainable tour, they walked around Split with our volunteer Alex. The city became the stage on which we explored the sustainable Split history.

We spent the second day at the High school “Braće Radić“ in Kaštel Štafilić. The students made new friends with their Croatian peers, and the school’s teachers (Marijana Bjeliš, Nikola Škarić, Živko Skračić and Mara Mizdor) prepared a series of interesting and practical activities.

Besides the tour of the colourful school’s greenhouse and garden, these practical activities included the activity of shaping an olive tree in bonsai style, making traditional decorations for Palm Sunday and visiting the school’s cellar, which produces traditional varieties of wine. The students also joined forces to plant a tree of friendship – an Italian magnolia. Tree location: link.

That day came to an end at the Tvrda stine estate. Surrounded by 3,000 fig trees, 250 olive trees and zinfandel vines, we felt like guests in the Garden of Eden. As a permanent reminder, we took fig cuttings that the Italian students will try to cultivate at home.

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We spent the third day at Ostrog Elementary School, where we were kindly welcomed by teacher Sandra Tuta and manager of the botanical garden Iskra Mara Zubčić Svalina.

On that occasion we visited the impressive botanical garden Ostrog, the only protected monument of park horticulture in Croatia and proud owner of approximately 1,000 plant varieties from all over the world. We participated in the activities of vegetative reproduction of hydrangeas, ficusses and cypresses, and under the mentorship of Permakultura, by enlivening each leaf of the plant with a story, we created herbariums.

Despite the bad weather, on the fourth day, we visited mountain lodge Malačka and participated in an educational lecture by an expert in Permakultura. The lecture was about the diversity of species and habitats in the mountain lodge. Although we couldn’t take a walk in the beautiful nature around Malačka, the students were amazed by the sights from their windows. They witnessed the great force of nature on settlements in their surroundings.

The last day we dedicated our time to do the evaluation of joint activities. In order to do so and to further enrich the story of our trip, we visited the Jadro River source in their interpretive centre. We talked with the students about their impressions and compared the agricultural situation in Croatia and Italy.

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We are looking forward to next month, when we will organize a visit of Braće Radić High School students to Italy, in Larin. The VERA project was financed as part of Interreg Italy-Croatia 2021/2027. (PRIORIT AXIS 2 – Green and resilient common environment).

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about our activities, learn how to make bonsai olives and get to know the different grape varieties grown around Split – follow our social networks because we are currently preparing a series of educational and entertaining material from this study trip.

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