Thu 23 May

Live Case 2: Short Food Supply Chain Speed Dating

The Living Lab of Ljubljana Urban Region is focusing on establishing a functional collaborative partnership/platform to co-design and operate short food supply chains in Ljubljana’s rural-urban relations.

We would like to identify the success factors that enable shortening the food supply chain. In the context of the characteristics and trends in the region, factors such as purchasing power, consumers’ needs, supply capacity of local producers, impact of local chains on the environment, social inclusion and internationalisations are just some of the ones to be considered.

The Living Lab performed a mapping exercise in order to identify various stakeholders, particularly the key “players” in the food supply chains in the region. These included producers focused on the local market, local producers’ initiatives/groups, LAGs, public institutions, restaurants, specialized shops and similar. The mapping built on the work of Municipality of Ljubljana on public procurement of locally produced food and expanded it to the whole region and beyond just public procurement.

As a result, a database was set up, which will be expanded throughout the project when also new tools for data collection will be used. The role and interest of the stakeholders were identified and this will be followed by focus groups and interviews with a range of types of the stakeholders. Such approach will enable us to verify the findings and create an internal partnership among stakeholders.

The interest and potential for participating in public food procurement was noted and factors that influence this will be researched in the following stages, including the legal requirements for procurement procedures that might inhibit publicly procuring local food. Past work is already yielding some results.

On 21 May 2019, the third marketplace meeting will be organized. It is an event for pairing local food producers and consumers together that is a mixture of a stock exchange and quick pairing meetings (business “speed dating”). The previous two events took place in 2018 and attracted a number of producers and mainly public institutions. The event is organized in cooperation with the Municipality of Ljubljana, Tourist Office Ljubljana, Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry and EKOmeter. The interest and number of participants is growing and we plan to attract more businesses, too.

Photo by Urša Peršič , RRA LUR

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Fri 18 Jan

Live Case 1: Shortening the Food Supply Chain in the Ljubljana URA

Living Lab Ljubljana urban region partners have a history of collaboration. Public institutions, restaurants and smaller food producers have been trying to meet their interests and to collect data on food demand in public institutions and on food supply in the region for past two years. This cooperation started in the capital city of Ljubljana, but the intention of the Living Lab is to widen this cooperation throughout the whole region of half a million inhabitants.

Research and other preparatory work in the Living Lab will be therefore focused on collecting additional data on the food demand and potential supply over the territory of the whole region. In parallel we will run co-design processes to build internal partnerships among stakeholders. With their help, we will look into legal requirements on procurement procedures concerning the local food supply chains with the goal to increase the use of locally-produced food in public institutions. In order to show differences between the traditional approach to food purchase in public institutions and the localized one, we will evaluate the impact to the economy, environment and social inclusion.

Several activities have already been implemented in the region within the context of the ROBUST project. As an experiment, we started to organise events for pairing local food producers and consumers (mainly public institutions). Two of these events took place in 2018, in the spring and in the autumn. The participants welcomed the idea of pairing and have expressed enthusiasm over doing it regularly.

Photo credit: Aleš Rosa

As the research and cooperation in this field is rather new in Slovenia and there are no examples of larger scale (regional or national) to local food chains, the Living Lab will also engage other stakeholders - from the national and regional policy level to the municipalities - to help identify potential partners in the process.

To close the information gap we are facing about short food supply chains, the Living Lab will test different methods of data collection and sharing using are variety of participatory methods (e.g., participatory GIS mapping, co-design of processes and products, co-design school diet). This will help build the community around the local food chain and improve the value for all participants.

Challenges to a Regional Approach

This process makes the Living Lab process experimental and a catalyst for the future food chains in the region, but the (lack of a) regional governance structure may be one of the obstacles in the process. The regions in Slovenia have no governance structures at this scale and a lot of work will need to be invested in cooperation with municipalities and stakeholders to gain project and policy support. The goal of the Living Lab is to adopt the idea of supporting short food supply chains by all the partners in the Ljubljana urban region.

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News about Rural-Urban Europe and the ROBUST project is published regularly in the INFORMED CITIES newsletter.

ROBUST is a European research project involving 24 partners from 11 countries. ROBUST receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727988.

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