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5 years of YPARD: a life-changing journey

It was beginning of February 2013 when I first exchanged emails with Martina Graf about getting on board with YPARD. At the time, I was attending a seminar named “Be Part of the World’s Future”.

Well, being a part of YPARD surely provides the opportunity to be building Agriculture World’s Future!

Young Farmer’s Vision” was the first project I was involved in, and a chance to closely work together with Martina and get to know YPARD well. It was also a moment when I got to know much better Nebojša Djinović (Serbian protagonist in a documentary about young farmers) who later on participated in a debate organized in Prague during the Tropentag conference on the topic of employability of young professionals in Agriculture, and with whom I later formed a Slow Food Convivium in Velika Plana.

I have introduced YPARD to AgTraIn, to the gastronomic concept of Slow food (we really enjoyed a “We deliver taste” dinner during the YPARD Europe meeting in 2014), I guess I’ve acted as a connector in several case.

I participated in the Herrsching seminar as one of the YPARD delegation members. This was a great honor: to be there representing my country for the first time in almost 40 years! A true life-changing moment of my life happened in Herrsching as this is where I met my husband! How else would two people from different parts of the world (Balkans and the Carribean is not so close ;) ) meet but by being part of this greater supranational organization which value diversity, empower youth and open minds of young people worldwide!

Being a YPARD representative gave me so many empowering opportunities, but also a chance to empower others. As YPARD Serbia representative I have managed to provide a dozen young professionals from Serbia the opportunity to participate at major European events related to food and agriculture, such as Milano EXPO, Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, Tropentag conference.

And just recently I had the honor to organize a mentoring program at the Living Territories conference together with Myriam Perez, YPARD director. Working with all the young researchers, grasping an energy of intercultural and intergenerational exchange, participating in the debate about territorial development, and always underlining why youth voice is important and adds value to any debate; for all these reasons I truly enjoyed being part of an event which has the vision to Make territories great again!

I believe every organisation is driven by its culture and people, and judging by the personalities I have met through YPARD at various events and via online communication, who were all very open and enthusiastic about their mission for youth in agriculture, many of whom eventually became my friends (I ‘ll always remember our trip to the Etna with Marina, and all the Balkan jokes with Zrinka), I always felt happy as those are exactly the kind of people I really want to be with.

What a retrospective! What a wonderful 5-year journey spent with YPARD!

Picture credit: Ivana Radic Jean