Inspirational ideas: Local farmers producing food for nurseries and primary schools in Ljubljana
Supply chain, marketing and consumption
short supply chain
Municipalities supporting local farmers
When public institutions like primary schools and nurseries purchase food, they can shorten the distance between farmers and urban consumers. The Municipality of Ljubljana, Slovenia, wants to promote buying food from local farmers. Vesna Erhart, external expert for the Sector for Rural Development at the Department of Environmental Protection of the municipality, says: “The circa 800 farms around Ljubljana are small to medium-sized. This implies that, to meet its food needs, a school has to buy produce from a range of small farmers, which in turn brings along a logistical challenge. Bigger farms can provide what schools need, like peeled potatoes and cleaned and cut salad greens. Therefore, they are the frontrunners in working with the procurement tenders.”
Erhart’s main task is to connect small and medium-sized farms with the persons in charge of buying food at nurseries and primary schools. Celebrity television cook Primož Dolničar, and Danijel Habjan, a cook from the local primary school in Stranje, prepared dishes made from local and seasonal food. Erhart: “When seeing the ingredients, the participating school employees were sceptical at first.” The tasting was followed by a food market. Farmers, including those from smaller farms, shared what they can produce in different seasons, and school employees placed orders. “Once the small-scale farms have made their first arrangements with the schools, these smaller farms may produce more and eventually apply for the larger and more complex procurement tenders”, says Erhart.
To prepare the tenders, schools can get the help of the procurement department of the Municipality of Ljubljana. Erhart is happy with the achievements: “We are proud that we can enable primary schools and nurseries to buy food from even the smallest farmers, and that quality meals are served.”