Shortly after Andreea and Ronen arrived in Romania at the end of 2010 they walked into the offices of EcoRuralis, an NGO based in Cluj-Napoca that supports peasantry in Romania. Shortly after that they were invited to join a yearly peasant meeting. Ronen barely spoke Romanian and Andreea did her best to translate to him some of the conversations. It was there that they learned that there is plenty of good food available in Romanian villages that is having an increasingly harder time finding its way to consumers in cities.
Inspired by what he learned, Ronen created a draft design for a website through which consumers in cities could find and connect with local producers.
Ronen and Andreea then became preoccupied in moving out of an apartment in Cluj into an old, deserted village house. It took them a couple of years to transform it into a livable home. So the „Peasant Box” was put on hold. During that time they brought home two dogs from the dog-pound in Cluj and (for a while) made an effort to train them by taking them for walks. During one of those walks they’ve met lldi and Levente. A couple of months later Ildi and Levente provided them with produce to make a few batches of Zacuska for winter. Then during winter, when Ildi and Levente had more free time, Andreea and Ronen spoke to them about the idea of Cutia Taranului. Ildi and Levente were skeptical, but decided to give it a try.
By early spring Cutia Taranului had a simple website where a box by Ildi and Levente was presented. People who were interested in subscribing to the box could fill out a form and Andreea would communicate with Ildi by phone to give her the information about people who joined. Ildi was supposed to then contact the members to confirm their registrations.
The website was launched on a Friday. Andreea and Ronen shared it with a few of their friends and within 24 hours two things happened. First, Ildi and Levente’s daughter got sick and they had to take her to hospital in Cluj. Second, all the places were taken. Andreea and Ronen sent an email to the people who had registered to let them know that their registrations were received and that the call they were expecting from Ildi and Levente would be delayed because their daughter was in hospital. Many of the members, quickly replied asking to relay wishes of health to Ildi and Levente and their daughter.
For Andreea & Ronen (and Ildi & Levente) the response was overwhelming, magical and inspiring. They wondered who were these people who blindly trusted an unknown project and then expressed patience, understanding and compassion when, right at the beginning, the project faltered. It was a confirmation that Cutia Taranului had a place in the world. In the years since, that same vital energy flowing through producers and members that inspired and gives Cutia Taranului its life and direction.