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Establishment of Magház

Date interview: March 11 2016
Name interviewer: Janka Horváth
Name interviewee: Founder (currently in an inactive position)
Position interviewee: Founder (currently in an inactive position)

Social movements Civil Society organizations New Organizing New Knowing Interpersonal relations Networking Identity Expertise Motivation Emergence

This is a CTP of initiative: Magház ‐ Seed House (Hungary)

In 2012, a handful of Hungarian activists attended different kind of international agrobiodiversity and food sovereignty meetings in various European countries. Founders of the Magház also participated at international seed networking events throughout Europe. They were greatly influenced by and benefited from those meetings and had the chance to broaden their professional horizon and personal networks. As a result of all the inspirational events and experiences that they encountered, "we became highly motivated and were encouraged for founding the Magház Community Network for Agrobiodiversity." In 2012, a few enthusiastic and committed private people gathered together in Nagyszékely in order to take steps for establishing Magház. They acquired useful organisational and project management skills through their involvement in gardening, nature conservation, food self sufficiency and community agriculture. Further experiences have been utilised in green NGOs, voluntary activities, professional work as young farmers and conservationists. 


At the beginning Csilla Kiss from Védegylet provided them regular guidance and invited them to different kind of meetings and events. She really wanted to engage them with the topic and to broaden their horizon by gaining access to specific professional networks and knowledge. Initially, all the organisers were really interested, enthusiastic and put huge effort into the process on a voluntary base as they really wanted to support the issue of agrobiodiversity preservation. The group has been receiving the main support from Bese Nature Conservation Society and an EU Leonardo project called GROW (2013-2015), that was initiated by ESSRG for sharing experiences and knowledge related to agrobiodiversity issues. 

Related events

The most relevant related event was the 5th Let's Liberate Diversity international conference that was organised in Szeged, Hungary, in 2011. This event provided the opportunity for the first time for volunteer 'agrobiodiversity savers' to gather together and initiate meaningful conversations about the state-of-the-art seed exchange issues in Hungary. Some of the later Magház members also participated in other international meetings in Austria and France in 2012. They also took part in the Let’s Liberate Diversity international conference in Basel, Switzerland, in 2013, where they already represented Magház. In 2013 the Bese Nature Conservation Society joined the Network, and since then this NGO has been providing the official and legal background and the most relevant support for the informal Magház group.


Although the interviewee was invited to participate in the establishment of the Magház, she felt that she was allowed to contribute with her conceptual ideas only in a limited way. "Earlier I worked at a gene bank where I realized the need of a community gene bank which would be based on a civil network. At this meeting I attempted to represent this idea." It could also be a possible representation that the other participants felt that she slightly tried to force them with her approach that her colleagues did not want to fully accept. The interviewee explained that she wanted to achieve the transfer of only those of her ideas into the new structure that were acceptable for others. She thought that her fellow organisers were too cautious and did not dare to express their feelings in case of any disagreement. They did not want neither to reject nor to accept her thoughts, therefore the procedure of the establishment totally slowed down. She considered this mainly as a communication misunderstanding and not as a contestation. 


All of the organisers had the feeling that despite of the limited scale of the resources a civil network in the field of agrobiodiversity could emerge. Csilla Kiss put a lot of effort and time in creating an environment that finally resulted in the emergence of Magház. She organised inspirational and professional meetings and brought people together.


One of the personal lessons for the interviewee was that she liked to be involved in teamwork and really enjoyed working together with other enthusiastic people. "I strongly felt the way that we were following was the right one." All of the organisers had the feeling that the procedure of the establishment was slow, but would be successful eventually. All of the most concerned people participated at the final meeting that resulted in the emergence of Magház. 

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