As previously advertised, this was a joint initiative between three charities, Dignitea, LAG Škoji and Eco Hvar. Dignitea and LAG Škoji shared the financing of the evening. Dignitea took on all the practical arrangements, including the sound and projection systems, which were expertly managed, as ever, by Joško Rosso.
Nada Jeličić of Dignitea opened the proceedings. Sadly, two of the event's organizers were unable to attend: Dignitea's Katia Zaninović Dawnay, who did all the major groundwork of organizing the seminar, and Adela Duboković, who made an important contribution on behalf of LAG Škoji.
Marija Ševar, Master of Science, is Senior Coordinator for organic agriculture at the Advisory Service, which is a national public body covering agriculture, rural development and fishing, as well as promoting the management of forests and woodland properties. She is particularly well qualified to speak on the technicalities of organic farming, including the ins and outs of registering farmlands and produce for organic certification. Her lecture was professionally presented, with helpful clear slides clarifying the sometimes quite complicated subject matter.
Information for organic farmers can be hard to find, not helped, for instance, by the fact that the Ministry of Agriculture no longer publishes a list of permitted fertilizers and soil enhancers on its website.
The Loggia was filled with a very responsive and engaged audience.
At the end of Mrs. Šervar's lecture two audience members were invited to share their experiences of organic farming. Andrija Carić, of the Svirče Cooperative (Poljoprivredna zadruga Svirče), who produced Hvar's first organic white wine many years ago, spoke of the problems and potential high costs involved in organic farming. He highlighted that the south side of Hvar is ideal for organic cultivation, and that joining forces is the best way for organic farmers to safeguard their incomes. Željko Bucat then described how he has been farming organically for years, without the difficulties described by Mr. Carić.
Mrs. Ševar's lecture was followed by a polished presentation of the work of LAG Škoji by Manuela Antičević from Vis. She described the bureaucratic hurdles the organization has had to overcome, just to reach the point where the organization can fulfil its primary functions. Soon LAG Škoji will be in a position to open the possibilities for grants, major or minor. Emphasis was placed on the need for well-prepared projects to be presented for consideration.