Community-led initiatives in Romania

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Romania emerged from socialist times in 1989 as a developing democratic country and after joining the EU in 2007 community-led initiatives began to thrive more than before. Today, thousands of NGOs are active in the country and movements, such as Let's do it, Transition, Permaculture and ecovillages work individually but often also in close connection with each other.


Romanian civil society has started to awaken and mobilise in the last years of the first decade of the 21st century after the country joined the EU (January 2007). Since then diverse community-led initiatives have emerged, standing up against environmental destruction and corruption while developing active approaches to many burning problems in one of the least developed countries in the EU.

One of the first nation-wide bottom-up initiatives was Let's do it! Romania, starting in 2010 and organising a one-day national cleanup across Romania, engaging 200,000 people. This has led to a decade of successful citizen activation, improvements in waste management, the beginning of Zero Waste programs and boosting the NGO sector in general.

In 2011, Transition and Permaculture movements came to Romania, igniting many smaller and larger projects such as community gardens, seed saving and exchange, forest protection, ecovillages and many more.

Transition in Romania

Main page: Transition in Romania

Transition movement in Romania has emerged and developed hand-in-hand with the permaculture movement. Overlaps between these two movements and the organisations that represent them, most prominently the national hub România În Tranziţie and the Romanian Permaculture Research Institute, are therefore very natural.

The Transition Network lists 3 initiatives in Romania.[1] a member of ECOLISE, is actively exchanging information on social media and facilitating networking of various group on their website.

Permaculture in Romania

Main page: Permaculture in Romania

According to Permacultura-Romania, permaculture has grown steeply in Romania in recent years but notes a dominance in urban settings and young and alternative people without much technical training in agriculture or practical experience leading the projects.[2]

The Institute for Research on Permaculture in Romania (ICPR) is an NGO representing the Romanian Permaculture Community with the aim of "providing quality standards for courses and seminars; to actively promote the practice of permaculture in Romania; to support research on permaculture and, last but not least, to help people and demonstration centers connect, develop beneficial interactions, partnerships and many other beautiful things".[3]. ICPR is also a member of ECOLISE.

Ecovillages in Romania

Main page: Ecovillages in Romania

The Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) lists 9 projects in their database. This number is however only reflecting the projects that have registered themselves on the database. The ecovillage database contains ecovillage projects of all sizes and in all stages of development.[4]

World Cleanup Day in Romania

Main page: Let's do it! Romania

Romania was in the "first wave" countries in the Let's do it! World movement that organised the first nation-wide cleanup already in 2010. It keeps organising cleanups and collaborating with neighbouring countries. In September 2010, 200,000 volunteers participated in the nation-wide cleanup and brought the Romanian civil society from slumber. They made it clear that civil society can self-organise and take up solving national problems with the collaboration of government and non-government institutions, schools and businesses.[5]


Community Energy in Romania

Main page: Community energy in Romania

Solidarity Economy in Romania

Main page: Solidarity economy in Romania

According to the SUSY report of 2015 on Social and Solidarity Economy there is a high concentration go social enterprises in Bucharest while the projects in rural areas are limited.[6]

Community Food Production in Romania

Main page: Community Food Production in Romania

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in Romania

According to the Association for the Support of Traditional Agriculture (ASAT) there were 8 ASAT partnerships in in 2017 (Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu, Odorheiu Secuiesc and Timisoara). The ASAT Association was established as a non-governmental organization with legal personality in 2014 inspired by the French model AMAP and is promoted by the NGO CRIES.[7]

In 2014, a study analysing CSA and it´s potential in Romania in 3 case studies of CSA pioneers supplying organic vegetables to customers in Western Romania, names two main push factors supporting the further development of CSAs in Romania:

First, very low income prospects and missing social safety nets keep up to a million small farms in Romania at the subsistence level. These farms are widely excluded from the markets since large retailers such as supermarket chains rely solely on large producers. Second, the market for organic products (especially fresh organic products) is severely underdeveloped in Romania. The limited organic products on offer are mostly imported and concentrated in large retailers. Organic agriculture in Romania becomes a conundrum of demand and supply: there is not enough demand to encourage local supply and the Romanian production of organic agricultural products is exported directly to foreign consumers who are willing to pay many times its costs of production. In general, Romania exports organic raw materials and imports processed foods for the few Romanian consumers interested in this niche market”.[8]


Collaboration with Local Government


  1. Accessed on May 6th 2020
  2. Accessed on June 14th 2018
  3. Accessed on June 14th 2018
  4. Accessed on May 23rd 2018
  5. Let's do it Romania, Final report 2010 (in Romanian)
  6. Troisi, R., di Sisto, M., Castagnola, A., 2018. Transformative economy: Challenges and limits of the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) in 55 territories in Europe and in the World. Sustainable and Solidarity Economy, Firenze.
  7. Accessed on June 10th 2018.
  8. Community Supported Agriculture: A promising pathway for small family farms in Eastern Europe? A case study from Romania. In: Landbauforschung (Bd. 64, Nr. 3-4: 139-150). Judith Moellers, Brînduşa Bîrhală, 2014. Accessed on June 10th 2018.