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The sustainable Alps: a press tour with a difference

You’ll see it either as a busman’s holiday, or a fantastic opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Hannibal while immersing yourself in alpine and family farming.

alps_tripFrom July 3- 10 2014, the permanent secretariat of the Alpine Convention is organising a crossing of the Alps, created specifically for journalists focusing on family farming. By concentrating on the people in the Alps region, and their livelihoods, the project aims to raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities of the region.

“A draft program will be available shortly,” said Adrian Bell, ENAJ (European Network of Agricultural Journalists) communications officer, “but the overall aim of the ‘We Are Alps’ tour is to promote the Alpine Convention – an international treaty between the Alpine countries which seeks to promote sustainable development in the region.”

Nearly 14 million people see the Alps as their natural, cultural, living and economic environment, so the Convention aims to protect their interests. Journalists participating in the crossing will have the opportunity to meet local inhabitants and learn about their farming practices and livelihood. They’ll also meet a range of other people: new inhabitants, business owners, experts relevant to the area and the politicians responsible for economic and policy development.

With a wide enough range of participants from around the world, the Convention hopes journalists will take home ideas from the Alpine region for transfer to other similar mountain regions.

Needless to say, organisers stress that participants have excellent physical condition and an appropriate level of experience in hiking. But hiking’s not the sole means of transport; the aim is simply to make the crossing by sustainable means, so trains, buses and bikes will all play their part too. A support minibus will accompany the group, carrying luggage and equipment, but it will only be used by participants in the event of inclement weather forcing a change in the route.

“I’d encourage any guild members who can show a proven interest (based on previous writing, articles and experience) in the mountains and farming topics to apply for a place on this trip,” Bell said. “The Convention has undertaken to pay the travel and accommodation expenses for those taking part in the event, although each participant will have to bear the cost of outward and return travel.”

“It’s another great example of the myriad international opportunities that are open to our members,” Bell said.

Who can participate?

Participants should prove professional interest in alpine and farming related topics, have excellent physical condition and an appropriate level of experience in hiking. The permanent secretariat of the Alpine Convention will select the participants based on their articles, professional experience and connections to the mountains and farming topics. Anyone selected for the trip must commit to publishing at least two articles about the crossing within three months.

How to apply?

To apply, fill out the registration form and the waiver and send them together with a sample of your articles by 10th May 2014. More information about the trip, and the Alpine Convention, can be found on its website.

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