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.
Between 3 and 10 July 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 programme will be available shortly,” says Adrian Bell, ENAJ 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 who take part in the crossing will have the opportunity to meet local inhabitants and learn about their farming practices and other livelihoods. 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 that journalists will take home ideas from the Alpine region for transfer into other similar mountain regions elsewhere.”
Needless to say, the organisers stress that participants must 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,” says Adrian. “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.”
Anyone selected for the trip will have to commit to publishing at least two articles about the crossing within three months.
To apply, fill out the registration form and the waiver and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org 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.