Source: EUROPEAN CLUSTER COLLABORATION PLATFORM EU
The Green Cluster is an initiative developed by AKTI Project and Research Centre, with the objective of building a community of small business andproducers. Its major task is to achieve gender equality and women empowerment, fostering cooperation across different economic sectors and implement an inclusive growth concept. The cluster has more than 300 members and has emerged from the inherent need for continuous business innovation, and the acknowledgement that transformative cooperation is essential in the evolution of small businesses. The Green Cluster brings together enterprises from fourteen different economic sectors to and targets SMEs with less than 10 emplyees. During the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Green Cluster took quick actions to protect and support its members such as small farm owners by collecting testimonials from members, and capitalising on the cluster infrastructure responded swiftly and well ahead of governmental bodies in raising the alarm for ‘excluded/ isolated’ small producers due to the lockdown measures of the pandemic. The Green Cluster was correctly positioned and with the right structures to respond. If structures like this do not exist, then there is no time for planning the response when a crisis emerges and thus, no time for needs identification, developing support tools and lobbying. Based on these experiences, the Green Cluster has published a response practice guide.
The full guide can be found below.
One of the first things we plan on doing once we are back to our usual routine is to visit Lysos village and document how the village's traditional 'Maxiles' are produced. 'Maxiles' are a type of dried fig that is made in the village of Lysos using local fruit. The production method starts with olive oil is applied, using cotton wool on the end of a hollow tube, to the tip of the figs while they are still on the tree causing the figs to ripen. About a week later the fruit ripens and is ready to be harvested. The figs are then spread out over pine needles and left to dry for about 1-2 days. They are then split through middle without being fully separated and left for another 3-4 days to dehydrate further. The last step involves boiling the figs in water infused with fennel seeds for 1-2 minutes, they are then strained and left to dry. Lets soon go to Lysos then!
While we were staying at home, the bees never stopped collecting pollen! With a large amount of effort, bees visit plants and flowers, picking up pollen as they go, transporting it on their feet to their beehives. Pollen is a source of food for bees and contains a large amount of protein. In some areas, including Akamas, the rock rose is currently flowering and the bees are busy! For as much as we allow, nature is in balance! Our Green Cluster member, Christina from Carob King - Black Gold, shares her experience with us. Using a photo she took, Christina described to us how the pollen is carefully collected from the beehives found on their fields. Alongside the sale of carob products, Christina wishes to include the pollen she collects as a product of this small business. Bee pollen is a natural product and contains an impressive amount of nutrients including protein, amino-acids, vitamins, carbohydrates and fats. Therefore, pollen provides an impressive boost to your immune system!
We wish to thank Christina for the information and her hard work!
On the 1st of April, AKTI Project and Research Center began a campaign to support a large group of citizens who have been affected by the lock-down measures: the small-scale producers of Cyprus. These producers are found all over Cyprus and produce incredible products. At this point in time, they have been left out of the market, having no way of reaching their client base. Over the last 5 years, AKTI has developed the Green Cluster platform which is the largest network for small, local businesses (http://www.greenclustercy.org) and now houses 380 members. Using our platform as a basis, we are attempting to bring together our stranded producers.
'Theodoros' Pervoli' and 'Regenas Gardens' join forces! Haris and Koulla are two unique people with genuine views. With a lot of hard work and love for the traditional products of Cyprus have created their first organic product within the Green Cluster product! An excellent new product resulted from the combination of Haris' organic olive oil and Koulla's organic aromatics.
A huge well-done to these unique members, from all of us here at AKTI!
For more information: https://www.clustercollaboration.eu/cluster-mapping
Sophia's Tavern in Letymbou now holds the 'Chrysos Skoufos' award, 'Restaurants awarded with the Cypriot Kitchen award' - Sofia and Andreas Traditional house in Pafos - Letymbou Traditional Cypriot Cuisine.
Sofia's tavern is a particularly special example of a traditional Cypriot tavern. Sofia makes her own halloumi, white cheese, anari and yoghurt as well as baking sourdough bread daily using her wood-fired oven. They obtain the raw materials for their products from the village and surrounding areas while the zivania and wine is produced in-house. They have set-up their space in the image of a small museum with a collection of traditional items and outfits. During the summer months they set out their tables under the grapevine.
For the winter issue, Sotia, the reporter of Hermes Airport magazine (Welcome to Cyprus…Yours To Be Unlocked) along with her assistant photographer took to the villages of Pafos to report on some of the members of the Green Cluster. Their first stop was the Vasilikon Winery in Kathikas followed by Maria's Cheese Factory in Droushia. In Milliou they visited 'Ayi Anrgyri' honey farm and then went to Kili for Thymios carob syrup. They moved on to Letymbou with Sofia's traditional tavern and then Statos with Giota's spoon sweets, Eleni's Trachana, Rodothea's Shoushokos Costas' sausages and tsamarella (deli meat).
Its with our great pleasure that we helped with this presentation of our members!
'La strada' coffee shop went looking for a kattimeri (cinnamon and sugar flatbread) supplier and came across the Green Cluster. They used this as an opportunity to become a member of our network in order to be put in contact with one of our other members who produces kattimeri.
And so the synergies began!
Eftichia and her family have created a beautiful and scenic spot literally right by the sea! We found ourselves in beautiful Argaka, where we documented this bar and grill. These young owners aim to create a number of synergies and collaborations with other members.
Good luck guys!
The beautiful coffee shop cleverly named 'ANERADA' has now been registered as a Green Cluster member. These young and creative owners are interested in synergies and collaborations with other small-scale producers.
Welcome to our team!
'Ayii Anargyri Honey', after entering the local market of Cyprus, has now ventured abroad in search of international recognition! This honey, made in Pafos, is another way in which Cyprus is showcasing its unique products internationally. Using their love for the region, respect for the environment and passion for their work they were able tom create a quality product. This led to 'Ayii Anargyri Honey' being recognised and awarded in an international competition. Their hard work has paid off and we are very proud of them and their products!
A big well done from all of us here!
Casa Mespilea, a boutique hotel in the heart of Pafos, has become a new member of the Green Cluster. New synergies are being created between our other members and the hotel's kitchen such as halloumi and haliji (traditional soft cheese) provided by Droushia Dairy Products, spoon sweets and jams from Mama Made, as well as orange cordial and cinnamon cordial from Argyris Sweets, and wines from Esouza and Vasillikon wineries.
Its with great pleasure that we congratulate yesterday's winners of the 'Kathimerinis' newspaper and 'Gastronomos Cyprus' magazine, awards.