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Elena Zupanc

Development Agency Kozjansko

Programme Lead

“When my grandmother was working in the field, she used a leaf of coltsfoot to protect her from the sun. That’s when I realised that there are so many natural remedies and resources all around us”.

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Elena’s work with Slovenia’s Development Agency Kozjansko has taught her how important it is to create opportunities for the most vulnerable groups in society. She believes that the “Traditional and Wild” project is a perfect way to help those people by using the natural resources around them.

“It is so important to preserve the traditional know-how and transfer it to the younger generation”, she states.

Elena first encountered wild plants as a small child, when her grandmother took her to pick centaury and Saint John’s wort in the countryside.

“When she was working in the field, she used a leaf of coltsfoot to protect her from the sun. That’s when I realised that there are so many natural remedies and resources all around us”.

In her work at the Agency, she concentrates particularly on communication at all levels. “I believe that the best way to achieve results is to change the way we think. It takes time and patience but brings great rewards for everyone. This project is about sharing the best ways to use wild plants to preserve communities and to use communities to preserve the plants”.

Elena believes that countryside traditions have a vital place in the future of the communities which use them and the countryside which surrounds them.

“I love the countryside, its mystery and its beauty. I am always happy to pick a wild mushroom and smell the forest in it or to take in the exquisite taste and scent of wood strawberries or delphinium”.