EAThink2015 School visit to the ecological farm – OPG Pintar, Croatia

On 16th of November 2016, we made an educative trip with high school children from Opatija to Čabar, a small city in the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County in western Croatia, close to the border with Slovenia. The tour was through Eathink2015 Croatia project, aimed at educating people to eat sustainably, thus creating sustainable local economies, promoting organic food and establishing strong connection between farm and table. Therefore, eating local food, one also contributes to reducing transport emissions. Interestingly, according to World Watch Institute, in 1993, a Swedish researcher calculated that his traditional Swedish breakfast consisting of bread, butter, cheese, coffee, apple, sugar and orange juice made a trip equal to the circumference of the Earth before reaching the Scandinavian table. Furthermore, this example demonstrates how complex and even absurd the existing food systems are. Moreover, the environmental costs are extremely high as well, hence it seems reasonable to change our habits, damaging nature and speeding up climate change, and switch to “eating local”.

In the light of the above said, it is very important to raise awareness about the topic among the population, in particular, young people. That’s why our friends from Eathink2015 Croatia organize numerous trips for school kids to local farms. I was lucky to participate in one of them. Furthermore, Žmergo’s volunteers, Noelia, Robert and Xavi, specializing in photography, video post-production and film-making, were charged with quite challenging and interesting task, which involved documenting and capturing the highlights of our field trip, which would later serve as a material for Žmergo’s video about this amazing field trip.

Speaking about our destination… OPG Pintar is the first small dairy in Gorski Kotar County. As we arrived at the farm, we were heartily met by Ms Anita Pintar and her lovely animals. After a short welcoming speech, Ms Pintar eagerly showed to us around her work place, where out of fresh organic milk and other local ingredients, she makes delicious local cheese, called Čabarski Škripavac (verb škripati means to creak), named like this for producing corresponding sounds when you chew it. Furthermore, we learned many interesting facts about cheese-making process, life of the people in Čabar and the ups and downs of the life of farmers. Finally, Ms Pintar treated us with her famous cheese, fresh and crispy bread and hot tea. Later on, our host invited us to visit the village close by, where the rest of her family live and keep the farm, which delivers milk for her dairy. Thanks to Ms Pintar and her family, we had this wonderful opportunity to trace the whole process of cheese production, starting with meeting all these wonderful animals at the farm, checking the equipment used for making Škripavac and ending with tasting the final product. And it tasted truly amazing!

This filed trip was very inspiring for all of us. On the way back, when our bus was going trough the snowy mountains of Gorski Kotar, we discussed how important it was to have such people like Ms Pintar, leading by example.