Locally Grown Food Exchange

The Exchange was developed to raise awareness in tourism industry on the importance of serving local food and drinks even in urban destinations (Ljubljana). The project objective is to positively affect the living standard of local farmers whereby quality and quantity of local food in hotels and restaurants will increase. With this project, Ljubljana has successfully and uniquely linked tourism sector and local agriculture to bolster sustainable economic growth and create new opportunities.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

The mission of the project is in line with the Ljubljana's mission: the main intention of the project is to positively affect the living standard of local farmers and create conditions for their long-term operations whereby quality (and quantity) of (local) food in hotels and restaurants will increase. The project will result in an increased satisfaction of visitors and eventually bring them back to the city or turn them into destination's advocates.

Modern tourists are increasingly searching for green and responsible destinations with real and authentic experiences, which is the reason why sustainable forms of tourism are becoming a necessary direction of development. Since cuisine is an indispensable part of the tourist offer, it is only right we build our competitive advantage on locally grown food.

The objective of the project is to increase the % of locally grown food and drinks in the hotels and restaurants in Ljubljana and its surroundings.

Following steps were taken to achieve the objective:
1. Identification of project partners.
2. Study of best practices and potential solutions.
3. Development of a model of cooperation between public body as main partner and financer, private cooperative as main executioner, businesses as consumers and farmers as suppliers.
4. Organising the Locally Grown Food Exchange.
5. Implementation – start of active sales and delivery.
6. Promotional activities.

We designed the Exchange as a wide area, since we invited local producers, the representatives of restaurants and hotels, as well as schools and day-care centres; and in the area of organisation, we are collaborating with the Department for Environmental Protection of the City of Ljubljana, the Regional Development Agency of Ljubljana Urban Region (RRA LUR), the Agricultural and Forestry Regional Institute and the Ekometer Institute. The Exchange of local products represents an important business opportunity to the hoteliers and restaurant owners, where in one place, they can meet the producers of local products in person and even taste some of the products.

The Locally Grown Food Exchange has managed to raise awareness among tourism businesses about the importance of serving local food and drinks even in urban destinations, such as Ljubljana. The project is used by the Slovenia Green Consortium as best case to follow in other destinations that have set the same goal of increasing the % of locally grown goods.

The project has also contributed in some of the key areas of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development:
- Inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
- Social inclusion, employment and poverty reduction.
- Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change.

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