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In the last hours of the end of last year we got the letter from the Head of the LEADER  Bureau of the Estonian PA, Marek Treufeldt: "Today, on 30.12, it is the historic day for PA – we approved the last project application of the 2007-2013 period. It has been a wonderful, difficult and enlightening journey for all of us in the Estonian LEADER family. More than 7300 projects (17 800 different activities) contribute to rural development and the promotion of community life. Thank you" writes Marek.



From 7-11. October 2014, 20 LEADER LAG members from Hiiumaa, 6 from Saaremaa and 1 from the island of Muhu (Estonia) took a LEADER study trip to Finland to examine the success stories of three local activity groups - Ravakka, Pyhäjärvi and Karhuseutu – that were outstanding during the last period. In particular, we wanted to know how they were so good in international cooperation work. While Hiiumaa and Saaremaa LAGs got 2 nominations in the Baltic-Nordic project contest, Finns were successful with as much as 6 projects. But we also wanted to see projects and success stories that fall outside of the LEADER support measure, but are important for the community, and serve for us as inspiration for new ideas. We held several workshops: about LEADER strategies for the next period, about the development of wind farms, about the promotion of local food and about the water studies and projects. For our Finnish hosts, we prepared a local food dinner to give an idea of ​​how good it is to live on the islands.


The transnational cooperation project Growing Gastronauts was chosen from among 160 LEADER projects throughout Europe to present good examples of past six years in rural community development. The jury of ENRD selected 14 projects representing 10 countries to be celebrated in the special publication.

The publication will appear this year in early June, when a seminar "6 Years of Connecting Rural Europe: Learning from the Past, Preparing for the Future" will be held. The European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) organized a competition to find outstanding projects during the program period 2007-2013.

Partners of the LEADER transnational cooperation project Growing Gastronauts (Sirguvad Söögisellid in Estonian) are LAG Pays Vallée du Loir (lead partner of the project), LAG Central Warwickshire Villages,  LAG Saarte Cooperation Organisations, LAG Hiiumaa Cooperation Network, LAG Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership.

The main objective of the project is to strengthen links between schools and local food producers. The aim of the project is to study the implementation options of short supply chain from producers and processors "from farm to fork", exchange experiences and to learn from each other. The second objective is to teach children practical examples, farm work, food preparation, etc.

 Read the publication here



Dear LEADER Friends!

We wish you a Very Merry Christmas and all the best in new strategical year 2014!


In the beginning of November 2013, the group of 29 people from LAG Hiiumaa took a study tour to Aland. The choose of destination was inpired by two factors: first - Aland is an island region, thus similar to Hiiuma; second – Aland hosted a Baltic islands network B7 chairmanship and Annual Conference. Our goal was to take part in the seminar on Green Economies and Sustainable Development. Another similarity was, that Aland, too, is ending up the first LEADER period with making conclusions and preparing for the new period.


On the 26th of September, in the Tallinn Gala-event the The Nordic-Baltic Leader Cooperation Award for the best cooperation project in the category of Local resources and Environment was given to the project Growing Gastronauts!

The LEADER Transnational Cooperation Awards collected 60 applications from participating countries.The finalists of the five categories were chosen out of 60 nominees in Roskilde, Denmark on the 6th June 2013. The evaluation committee included the representatives of Estonia, Lithuanian, Latvia, Swedish, Finnish and Danish rural networks. The final selection of the winners of Nordic-Baltic Leader transnational cooperation projects was in Helsinki on 27th August on 2013.


Making butter is not a piece of cake! But it is always useful to know how to cope, when the store is closed. LEADER transnational cooperation project Growing Gastronauts taught to 15pupils and their parents in Partsi Mill, in Hiiumaa, how to make butter with handy tools. In addition they learned about wild-growing plants, that we usually classify as weeds, but can be used in culinary because of their excellent taste. 3-minute educational video Making Homemade Butter is filmed by Toomas Kokovkin; the Chef of Growing Gastronauts in Hiiumaa is Heli Hahndorf. Watch the movie here


At 6:45 the first cooking shift from class 5b arrives to the school kitchen. In the kitchen Elena Linkov, the chef of the Kärdla Gymnasium welcomes the young staff of Gastronauts. She provides children with special clothes, presents and divides tasks among the shift. The first group has plenty of work to do: to peel potatoes and carrots, to chop onions. It turns out that these tasks are not as easy as they seemed to be at the first glance. But Gastronauts are tough and cheerful.

Soon the first “customers” arrive to eat the morning porridge. Gastronauts’ task is to serve. After the day’s work is done, the first shift leaves to study in the classroom.

Second shift’s tasks are to chop tomatoes and to cut bread. As the first round of school lunch is about to start, the Gastronauts must deliver food to the tables. It’s time for them to eat as well. We wish everyone bon appetite, and inquire how the lunch tasted. They all say it was very good. Gastronauts empty their plates completely - they realize now it is not good to waste the food that they have cooked themselves.

Third shift lays the tables, cleans the dining hall and kitchen, and delivers food to the next lunching round. Also they help to prepare food for the next day's lunch – they cut the meat for the soup. There is a lot to learn from the school’s cook!

Suddenly the school day is over. Gastronauts learned that cooking is not an easy task, and therefore it is a pity when the work is not appreciated.


The first TV3 production of the series Straight for field to the pot is ready for the wievers. Growing Gastronatus from Käina School assisted the chef Ants Uustalu in making the gourmet milk soup.