SAVE THE DATE: Participatory workshop in Zsámbok, Hungary on the 24 September 2023

Germinating Engagement within Agroecology Inspired Community Food Networks –Linking Farmers, Activists, Researchers and Food Communities

Date: September 24, 2023,
from 9:00 -16:00


Zsámboki Biokert, Zsámbok, Hungary

The village of Zsámbok is one hour outside of Budapest by bus and is a village with a rich agricultural legacy and a budding organic farming community.

The village of Zsambok is accessible by public transport from Budapest. Transport schedules from Budapest to Zsambok can be found here. On the date of the event participants seeking to travel by public transport can depart on the 7:15 train from Budapest Keleti Station, and travel to Sulysap, before transferring to a regional bus which will depart Sulysap at 7:55 and arrive in the village of Zsambok at 8:23am. The farm is a 10 minute walk from the Zsambok, Atalanos Iskola bus stop.

This workshop is targeted to:

  • Young farmers who are interested in learning more about surviving the challenging first years after initiating a farming project, specifically the advantages and challenges associated with various direct marketing techniques. In addition to discussions on marketing techniques a tour of the farm will introduce biointensive organic gardening techniques, mechanized and non-mechanized on-site composting, crop rotations and production in minimal tillage production in permanent beds, micro-scale rotational grazing, and all seasonal production techniques in polytunnels and caterpillar tunnels.
  • Activists, researchers, policy makers and advocates who are interested in agroecology inspired food initiatives, may have experience in interacting directly with farmers, and looking to orient their volunteer and professional work to provide support directly to farmers within a region of focus. Additionally, students and researchers who have interest in participatory action research for empowering local food communities.


9:00 Arrival and Refreshments:

Participants should arrive at 9:00am to Szent Laszlo Utca 58, 2116, Zsambok

9:30 am – 10:30: Welcome and introduction of the farm and workshop participants

10:30 – 12:30 World Café: Empowering Agroecology in Practice on Farms and Contributing to Agroecology Networks as Non-Farmers

Participants will have the chance to participate in a moderated world café discussion with invited guests and members of the Zsamboki Biokert farm team. The session will have to focus topics and instruction and summary will be carried out by farm team members and invited guests from the Hungarian Agroecology Network.

  • World Café Topic 1: Agroecology in practice on the farm

While agroecology has developed as a science and social movement, knowledge of how to adopt AE compatible practices in different farm settings still remains a challenge for farmers. This aspect of the world café session will focus on the challenges that farmers face when trying to implement agroecology action plans for their own farms while also maintaining financial viability of their farming activity. The dialogue will focus on survival techniques for farms throughout their development stages, strategic decision-making processes for developing healthy farm ecosystems, farmer to farmer support networks, and how to orient and communicate on farm developments to contribute to positive notoriety within local food communities.

  • World Café Topic 2: Activists and Advocates – contributing to agroecology networks as non-farmers

Statistics indicate that the average age of farmers is increasing across the globe, and while the question remains of who will be the next generation of land stewards involved in agriculture, a positive sign in the last decade is the increase in interest in food systems from students, researchers and common citizens. Industrial agriculture’s role as a primary contributor to climate change is well understood, and the rapid adoption of agroecological compatible farming practices represents one of the only proven methods for sequestering atmospheric carbon and working towards socially just food systems. This workshop theme will focus on empowering non farmers who seek to provide support to farmers and farming networks, presenting various experiences of volunteering, participatory action research and community organization.

13:00-14:30 Organic Lunch prepared with farm ingredients

14:30-15:30 Farm Tour: Bio-intensive Market Gardening and Zsamboki Biokert’s Agroecology Approach
The tour will introduce on farm practices at Zsamboki Biokert and also discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with establishing infrastructure required to empower efficient farm operations. The guided farm walk will also highlight on farm developments which empower agroecology in practice while summarizing the mechanics of community oriented food systems in practice.

15:30-16:00 Reflection Circle and Summary

the Association and Organizers:

Zsamboki Biokert (Zsámbok’s Organic Garden) is a 3.5 hectare organically certified bio-intensive market garden in the village Zsámbok, Hungary which has been in operation since 2010. The farm includes a one-hectare outdoor vegetable production area, a 3000m2 orchard of about 100 heirloom fruit trees, 2000 m2 of unheated polytunnels and three hectares of pastureland. The farm offers seasonal produce through a weekly organic box system and has been a mainstay of the weekly Budapest Organic Market for two decades. Farm team members maintain an openness to welcoming groups on the farm regularly, and educational outreach on the farm has included primary school and University student groups, Waldorf schools, urban residents, hosting trainees and onsite instruction for new and experienced farmers, and the farm has hosted numerous trainings and week-long educational camps. The farm is actively engaged within the Hungarian Organic and Agroecology movements and maintains relationships with farmers practicing organic agriculture and agroecology, and regenerative agriculture across Europe.


Cargonomia works as a partner in cooperation with Zsámboki Biokert (collectively as part of The Open Garden Foundation) in organic food distribution and community outreach programming. Cargonomia’s volunteers manage a cargo bicycle logistics center and local food distribution point in Budapest, and work in close cooperation with the farm team. The cooperation consists of a cargo-bike messenger service (Arany Kerek and Golya Futar), a bicycle-building cooperative (Cyclonomia), and volunteers who maintain a community space and donate time regularly on the farm in Zsámbok and at various urban gardening sites in Budapest. The project team members have worked officially as Cargonomia since 2015. They have been collaborating to implement advocacy and educational outreach and DIY workshops focusing on urban sustainability, organic gardening education, bicycle mobility, degrowth in practice, community activism for more liveable cities and self-sufficient living.

Logan Strenchock: has been a garden team member at Zsámboki Biokert since 2012, is a Co-Founder of Cargonomia, and the Environmental and Sustainability Officer at Central European University (CEU). He is the president of the Open Garden Foundation and helps coordinate educational outreach programs in coordination with Cargonomia and Zsamboki Biokert team members. He is a member of the Hungarian Agroecology Network and enjoys getting his hands dirty in mixing research and practice in degrowth-inspired experimentation with a diverse team of collaborators living in Hungary, and across Europe. At CEU he serves as a co-instructor within the Political Ecology of Food Systems and Introduction to Agroecology and Organic Gardening Systems courses.

Lili Balogh: Lili Balogh is a bioengineer and agronomical engineer, involved in the international Food Sovereignty and Agroecology movement for the past decade. She has worked in several NGOs in order to promote agroecology and regenerative food systems in different parts of the world, and focused in the past 6 years on building the Hungarian movement. She became the president of Agroecology Europe Association and the Hungarian Agroecology Network Association in February 2022. She started her own farm in West Nógrád in 2018 where she started applying holistic management, regenerative agriculture, permaculture and agroecological principles.

Matthew Hayes: Matthew Hayes is the founder of Zsámboki Biokert and has been a practicing organic and biodynamic agriculture in Hungary for nearly 30 years. He helped launch one of the first community supported agriculture projects in Hungary, and since relocating to Hungary in the 1990s has been active in continuing adult education and outreach projects which have focused on organic and agroecology influenced farming and localized food production. He is one of the original founders of the Open Garden Foundation, a registered non-profit educational outreach organization and coordinates the Organic Farming Circle in the village of Zsámbok, in addition to the annual Ecological Farming Winter Meeting for farmers in Hungary.

Contact Details:
Logan Strenchock