I was excited.I was invited to the meeting of Copa Cogeca's Working Party on Olive Oil and Table Olives, to make a presentation on how smart farming can benefit the olive sector. It was a great opportunity for me to present the work that we are doing with NEUROPUBLIC's gaiasense smart farming system. A Facebook reminder (the "On this day" feature) informed me that it was only a couple of years and two days ago when I first attended a Copa Cogeca event (the annual Farmers Congress, that was collocated with the GAIA Congress in Athens, Greece).
I was stressed.The meeting would take place on the day that we were submitting a pretty important proposal for a project to take place in the Region of Western Greece. I was responsible for the communication with the partners of the proposal, the collection of all necessary documentation and certificates from their side (both in digital and printed version) - and since we are talking about Greece, you can only imagine the amount of paperwork required...
I was also responsible for uploading all necessary information on the web-based proposal submission platform - for all partners - and in general for the successful submission of the proposal, in full and on time. On top of all that, I needed to find time for preparing my slides for the Copa Cogeca meeting.
Both were equally important; I needed to find time for both.
What I did was to work on the submission until Friday, ensuring that everything would be ready for its submission on Monday, leaving only minor parts to be completed by my (always willing to help) colleagues. Then I could allocate time over the weekend for my slides; a challenging task, considering that weekends are usually full of errands and time with the family.
|Being at Copa Cogeca's premises is a privilege!|
Over the weekend, I made good use of my free time and materialized what I had planned in paper during the previous days. And it worked. I soon had a presentation consisting of more than 20 slides, telling the story I wanted to tell. I reviewed it a couple of times, made some revisions and I was ready to go. The (relatively) long travel time also allowed me to go through it and make sure that I would deliver it in a decent way :-)
When I finally reached the Copa Cogeca headquarters at the center of Brussels, I felt confident; I had gone through the slides several times, I had my story ready and some additional points to mention without additional slides. Meeting my colleagues from Greece right before the meeting helped me relax and feel more comfortable.
@vprot from our strategic partner @Neuropublic presenting the @gaiasenseGR #smartfarming system solutions for smallholder olive growers in the @COPACOGECA Working Party on Olive Oil and Table Olives: #smartfarming is a valid & valuable solution for all EU farmers & agri-coops! pic.twitter.com/JW1I0ph96o— Gaia Epicheirein EU (@Gaia_Brussels) October 8, 2018
The presentation went pretty well, with an audience of about 20 people - mostly representatives of olive cooperatives and organizations from Mediterranean countries (Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal), as well as Croatia. It took me about 20 minutes to make my presentation and to provide some additional information during the interactive session right after; the parallel translation in the languages spoken within the Party helped things a lot. It was a great experience for me and therefore I would like to thank the Chair of Copa Cogeca's Working Party on Olive Oil and Table Olives and the rest of the Working Part for the kind invitation.
Some interesting info on the trip itselfIt was a one-day trip to Brussels, and since it was booked on the last minute, I didn't have the luxury of many options - and none of the available options was a direct flight. Instead of taking the 1-stop flight at 06.00, I opted for the 2-stop flight with Swiss Air at 06.30, which allowed me to rest for 30 precious minutes more in the morning. However, this would be tricky, as I heavily depended on the accuracy of the flights (and my latest experiences were not exactly positive). I arrived at 12.45 in Brussels and at about 13.45 at the Copa Cogeca premises, early enough to catch up with the meeting starting at 14.30.
The flight back home was easier, with just one stop in Zurich. I am glad that everything went well travel-wise, so I was able to reach my destination on time.
I finished my day having taken 5 flights, 1 bus (to the Copa Cogeca premises), 1 train (to Brussels airport) and a short drive to and from Athens airport; on top of that I walked more than 5 km in total in between my destinations, according to my smartwatch :-)