Association "Viva Sol" (in short as AVS) was founded in 15 Sept 2006 in Dargužiai village, Varėna Municipality.
The overall aim of the Association is to strive for the vitality of the rural areas. This is intended to be achieved through increasing the economic and social well-being of small-scale farmers, amateurs and other rural inhabitants and preserving rural environment and building of social links between local people and organisations. Also, the AVS aims to join rural and urban people through local food and local development initiatives and learning from each other.
To keep the village alive!
The Association has 22 members, including 3 legal entities (Baltic Environmental Forum; VET Craft School "Sodžiais meistrai"/"The Village Amateurs"; and the Public Institution "Verpėjos"/"The spinning ladies"). The other members are the natural persons, where one third of them are small-scale farmers-cheesemakers, and the rest are socially active and indifferent to rural areas people from all around Lithuania and abroad (e.g. France).
The main initiator and one of the founders is a farmer and cheesemaker Valdas Kavaliauskas, farming with his wife Rasa Ilinauskaitė. They had been working in a cheese farm in France for more than ten years and had moved to Dargužiai village in Varėna Municipality for starting farming in a small-scale goat farm and producing French-type goat’s milk cheeses.
The main intention of establishing an association was bringing together the communities of local food producers and the eaters through opennes of the farms to the food consumers, e.g. to the cheese-eaters. To reinforce this goal, the relevant motto of the association was introduced, "To make the village alive!", which meant openness of the food producers and farms to the food eaters.
The Association is managed through a typical structure of the Association followed in line with the Law on Associations of the Republic of Lithuania. One member has one vote in the assembley, which elects a Board of five members, and its members elect the Chairperson of the Board. The Board and its chair are elected for a period of three years. The director is hired externaly or appointed from the members of the Association, therefore he/she performs permanent functions free of charge, in individual cases he/she is employed for a fixed term in fulfillment of grant requirements. Accountant services are contracted upon needs with a qualified accounting service provider. The auditor is elected from the members of the Association for a period of three years.
The activities of the Association are determined during the annual general meeting of members. Areas of activity are often continuous, but new directions are included, depending on national and international issues, and the competence and motivation of one or more members to take responsibility for active work in one direction or another.
Activities in 2020-2021:
- Promotion of short food supply chains.
- Conducting training in food production (Cheese-Making School; natural tanning; cider production).
- Combating climate change and assessing its impact on rural areas, application of agro-ecological farming practices.
- Advocating for the interests of small-scale farmers (addressing to the state institutions).
- Implementation of projects (topics: rural culture and heritage tourism services in local communities; engagement of youth in community activities through rural culture; environmental protection).
- Baltic Environmental Forum. Cooperation in the implementation of the Horizon 2020 project UNISECO for the transition to agro-ecology, as well as the preparation of a joint application for a project in Georgia under the Development Cooperation and Democracy Support Program.
- Craft School "Sodžiaus meistrai" ("Village Amateurs"). Cooperation in organizing trainings, such as cheese-making, natural tanning, cider production.
- Trakai Region Culture and Crafts Association. Cooperation in the organization of cheese craft trainings in the summer craft camp, and a joint application for the support mechanism for Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (EEAgrants) has been prepared.
- "Sūrininkų namai" ("Cheesemakers house"). Cooperation in organizing trainings and study visits (catering services).
- Dargužiai Crafts Center. Cooperation in organizing trainings and various events.
In 2008 the Association founded the Public Institution "Sūrininkų Namai" ("The Cheesemakers House"), which runs various activities: public catering and cheese sales in Dargužiai, the cheese trade cooperative “Mūsų sūriai” ("Our cheeses"), which supplies yeast and equipment to small cheesemakers; the Cheese-Making School. The name of "Sūrininkų namai" as a trademark belongs to the Association.
From 2019 the Association is a member of the Trakai Region Culture and Crafts Association.
From 2019 the director of the Association is delegated to the Board of the Dieveniškės School of Technology and Business in Šalčininkai district.
Association implements various national and international projects:
LEARN THE LIFE / Erasmus
IN CULTURE / Erasmus
SHORT FOOD SUPPLY CHAINS IN NORDCI -BALTIC REGION / Nordplus Adults
Please contact us by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +370 682 52618.
Address. Merkio 53, Dargužiai village, LT-65445 Varėna Municipality, Lithuania.