Trizs is a small village located near the northeaster border region of Hungary, in the vicinity of the Aggtelek National Park. Its population is 200 inhabitants. The objective of the project is to reduce unemployment, create a profitable long-term local activity, strengthen the reception capacity and social cohesion of the village.
In the 1990s, job opportunities dwindled, the wealth provided by the once-thriving coal mines, iron smelting, and chemical industries declined. Most of the men were looking for jobs far from their villages. But for many, the way out of unemployment was public employment offered locally by the Hungarian government, providing regular income to people in need. On the other hand, the local community has also benefited from the sale of the goods produced in this program.
As the demand for natural and healthy ingredients and foods increases, homemade products prepared using traditional methods are becoming increasingly popular. Seeing that the women and girls of Trizs dared to dream big a few years ago, drawing on their knowledge, traditions, experiences, and diligence, they created a social enterprise named „Tastes of Trizs”.
Being caring fruit growers and preservers for their families, doing the same for their community was easy: they started making premium quality syrups and jams, based on the recipes they inherited from their great-grandmothers.
15 women work in production, packaging, and sales. The jams and syrups produced in their manufacture have made the reputation of the village and vice versa. The Ministry of the Interior supported the cooperative by financing the construction of a small fruit processing unit and its machinery.
The cooperative’s products are registered in the trademark system of the Borsod-Torna-Gömör LEADER association and labeled accordingly. The LEADER group supports the cooperative with its own marketing tools, such as the organization of days promoting local products and other events in person or online.
The management of the cooperative must seek and apply for financial support in order to ensure long-term employment for the employees. In addition to fruit processing, propagation and marketing of products for partners, the cooperative has recently run a local product shop, a mobile shop and two canteens. Most of their products are sold under the label “Excellent product of the geographical area” of BTGE and some carry the brand “Domestic product” of the Hungarian company Product Nonprofit LLC. Company.
The ancestors of the inhabitants of Trizs were the guardians of the royal forests (strázs in Slovak, meaning verderer) and they knew the fruits and herbs of the land. The legacy they left behind, ancient varieties of fruits and products from forests and fields as well as traditional recipes form the basis of tasty foods.
In such a closed and traditional community, the breadwinner, who works for wages, was mainly the man. After the era of unemployment, and later of weekly commutes, men were skeptical about the financial profitability of women’s work, whether “housewives’ work” could provide income for families, just like jobs for men.
The innovation here is that instead of degrading the traditional role of women, a community enterprise is born based on their skills, which, more than what is earned for the family, brings confidence and recognition to women. The men accept this development and are proud of the success of their wives, who have become entrepreneurs. Project participants are mainly women. Gender equality would never have been possible without their willingness to participate, as they took on the role of breadwinner.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Leader France, in collaboration with ELARD, is organizing an award ceremony for the European LEADER Award for Gender Equality. This competition, open to all European LAGs, highlights concrete achievements funded by the LEADER 2014-2020 program and which contribute to gender equality in rural areas.
As the French Senate report of 14 October 2021 points out, women living in rural areas face more obstacles in their private and professional lives than men. Fortunately, there are many good ways to combat these inequalities in France and Europe.
Focus on the women of Trizs, was one of 6 projects that went on to the finals of the European LEADER Award for Gender Equality in France