Part of the Food Policy Snapshot Series
Policy Name: Short Supply Chain Development in Ljubljana, Slovenia
Population: 288,307 (World Population Review, 2018)
As part of the Rural Development Strategy of the City Municipality of Ljubljana 2014-2020, a number of measures have been designed to improve the local agricultural sector. By increasing the productivity of local farms, city planners hope to make Ljubljana more agriculturally self-sufficient, benefitting producers as well as consumers and shortening food supply chains.
Progress to date:
Ljubljana has already been successful with several initiatives, including farmers’ markets and regional food festivals, designed to promote local food. However, the city still seeks to involve more participants, such as restaurants, shops and hotels, in its efforts to shorten food supply chains.
Ljubljana received special recognition for its plan from the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact in 2017.
Food policy category:
Food Supply & Distribution
Ljubljana aims to increase its agricultural self-sufficiency by improving relationships between farms and local businesses and also plans to promote organic and sustainable agricultural practices in order to preserve the natural environment of the city and its surrounding areas.
How it works:
Ljubljana has developed six key strategies for promoting local food and creating links between the region’s 826 farms and the city.
- Promotional events – These include special events, such as the “Zeleni” festival, which takes place in October and features food from several local suppliers. There is also Saturday Organic Market, which takes place at the Ljubljana Central Market every weekend.
- Doorsteps sales – The city encourages farmers to set up farm stands and sell their produce directly to the consumer in order to increase people’s awareness of where their food comes from.
- Market areas – There are already four marketplaces in Ljubljana. However, eight marketplaces are currently being prepared where citizens will be able to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables.
- Basket of Ljubljana – The city has designated a set of local organic food products produced by 70 local food suppliers to make up the Basket of Ljubljana. Qualifying products must meet specific principles of organic production.
- New forms of sales – The city encourages farmers to develop online sales platforms.
- Short food supply chains – The city is working to foster cooperation between local businesses and growers. For example, Ljubljana now hosts “Apple Week,” when local restaurants, shops and hotels serve dishes made with locally grown apples. By focusing on locally grown seasonal ingredients, local businesses can reduce the food miles that go into their products.
Why it is important:
Establishing shorter food supply chains can positively impact Ljubljana in a number of ways: by promoting good relationships between consumers and producers based on trust and transparency; by allowing consumers to identify the source of their food, and thereby creating a greater understanding of the food chain as well as building stronger interpersonal relationships and business partnerships. Shorter food supply chains support the local economy by promoting economic activity within the community and particularly help protect the livelihoods of small farmers as well as small business owners. According to EU Rural Review: Local Food and Short Supply Chains, locally-oriented food systems produce more jobs and retain more money in the community as money is “recycled” many times over. Moreover, through food festivals and promotional goods like the Basket of Ljubljana, the city is likely to increase its share of revenue from tourism.
In addition to providing economic benefits, the above strategies are designed to produce positive environmental outcomes through a focus on sustainable and organic growing methods as well as through shortening supply chains. The European Commission on Agriculture and Rural Development cites several such benefits, including reduced transportation costs, CO2 emissions, wear and tear on rural roads, traffic congestion, and road accidents.
Several departments from the City of Ljubljana are responsible for evaluating the various aspects of the project.
Point of Contact:
City of Ljubljana
T: +386 (0)1 306 10 00
F: +386 (0)1 306 10 01
The European Union has recognized short food supply chains as an important component of sustainable economic development, and several member states have undertaken initiatives to achieve that end. Austria’s national and regional short food supply chain scheme is called Gutes vom Bauernhof, or “Good Things from the Farm.” In 2009, France diverted subsidies away from large corporate farms to small farmers growing for local markets. Hungary’s Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 supplies 3,900 farms with targeted economic support to promote short supply chains.