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Agriculture; my vocation.

By Ivana Radic, from Serbia In my early childhood my mother was the manager of a big and successful agricultural cooperative, so for me it was an everyday situation to spend the mornings in the sugar beet field, or the afternoons in the wheat storage.Later on, my father started running a pig and cattle farm, and this was opportunity to experience a bit of husbandry production.In the teenage years I use to work part time at the purchase station that was collecting cherries from small local producers and giving them to the processing centre.Both in elementary school and high school I was the best student of generation, having all the highest grades. When I decided to take the entrance examination at Faculty of Agriculture, most of the people I know were confused, thinking that a good student with potentials like mine shouldn’t waste time studying agriculture. I thought the opposite. I was always proud to be involved in the sector that is primary from all the aspects. I would always tell "We all have to eat".In the year 2004 I started studying Fruit science and viticulture at Faculty of agriculture of University of Belgrade. I finished as Diploma engineer in June 2010. During these studies I am especially happy to have had the opportunity for the practical training. We spent a lot of time in the orchard and vineyard, performing hard field work. But this is how we were able to see and experience all the issues that we were theoretically learning about.In September 2010 I was honored to start Erasmus Mundus International Master in Horticultural Sciences, jointly offered by University of Bologna, Technical University Munich, and University of Life Sciences Vienna. And this was academically, professionally and culturally a life-changing experience.During this master program I was facing several aspects of agricultural research, and finally I decided to do my thesis in agrifood marketing, with a topic that was dealing with geographical indications. I enjoyed doing market research, and this is when I was sure I want to continue with academia in the future. Now I am in the phase of preparing myself for PhD research.Being naturally with a very wide spread mind, I have a lot of extracurricular activities. I was volunteering in organic farms in Iceland and Central Italy through European Voluntary Service. I attended summer school Youth encounter on sustainability, which I am very proud of, since it was an informal type of education, that brought together people from different countries and continents, and different professions, and where I learnt a lot from professors themselves but also from other participants. I am a member of Slow food in Serbia, and through this organization I am trying hard to involve and inform small scale producers about different possibilities for them, but also to inform and teach consumers on how to behave and purchase more sustainably helping the local production.Recently I became a YPARD member, because I believe in the philosophy that it is promoting. Now I am proud to become a representative of my country, and I will try to serve well at this position with all my heart.