This year, I was selected to represent Macra Na Feirme for a week-long study session in Budapest, Hungary. I was delighted to have been chosen as I wanted to represent the large number of Macra members who are not farmers and show that Macra is for everyone. It was the first time I had heard of the travel opportunities that members can avail of.

I really enjoyed my week and would advise anyone who is interested in attending future events to jump at the opportunity. It was a week to remember and I am so grateful for the opportunity.

Sunday 24 April 2022

We arrived in Budapest and travelled to the European Youth Centre, where we would be accommodated for the week. All of our meals were provided by the youth centre. This is also where all of our sessions took place. We meet the other participants from countries all around Europe at the welcome evening.

Monday 25 April 2022

Day one of the study session began with ice-breakers and getting to know the other participants. We were introduced to the study session and shared our expectations for the week.

We discussed human rights through a walking debate and in the afternoon we focused on food as human right, looking at availability, adequacy and access.

In the evening, the group walked over Margaret Bridge into the city, visited the Parliament Building and went to see the Shoes on the Danube memorial. We also sampled some traditional Hungarian langos.

Tuesday 26 April 2022

On day two, we looked at healthy and sustainable food and critically reflected on our understanding of sustainability. After lunch, we learned about the carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle and greenhouse gas emissions.

We worked in small groups and at the end of the session, presented our work to the main group. It was interesting to see how each group interpreted and explained the information differently.

In the evening, we again headed for the city and visited Fisherman’s Bastion and Buda Castle before heading on a boat trip on the Danube. The view of the city from the boat was stunning.

Wednesday 27 April 2022

We spent day three discussing typical food chains. We paid particular attention to the different stakeholders and their individual and combined impacts on the climate.

After dinner, we had an international evening – we sampled food and drinks for our countries, some straight from the participants’ own farms! We also learned some dances and enjoyed a disco.

Thursday 28 April 2022

We worked in small groups and investigated alternative food chains on day four. I found this session particularly interesting and learned so much from the other participants. We were joined by guest speaker Renne Cardinaals to further develop this topic.

She formed expert panels and challenged our opinions on the topic. After lunch, we shared recipes, looked for more sustainable ingredients and worked on making a cookbook. On Thursday evening, we visited Margaret Island before returning the youth centre to enjoy our last night as a group.

Friday 29 April 2022

On day five, we were joined by a second guest speaker who did a lobbying and advocacy workshop. The session ended at lunchtime and after lunch, we headed to the famous Szimpla Kert, thermal baths.

In the evening, we were treated to a farewell barbecue in the youth centre gardens and headed to a ruin bar as our final excursion of the week.