RDP projects

RDP projects (10)

Self-sufficiency in the Škofja Loka area is low, but the demand for locally produced food has been growing. Despite the interest, there were not enough providers and consumers, particularly public institutions. The goal of the project was to solve challenges encountered by actors with association.

The project innovatively upgrades existing practices of local food supply to elementary schools by eliminating problems and ensures smooth supply of locally produced food to schools to provide seasonal healthy food for our children. The comprehensive approach takes into account the interaction of all stakeholders in the food supply process. The project considers the interaction of all stakeholders in the supply chain, from producers – suppliers, cooking staff at schools, staff responsible for meal planning to teachers who are present when food is distributed.

It addresses challenges when providing local food for schools. Consequently, it ensures more local products and services and contributes to solving the problem of low self-sufficiency. Within the scope of the project, balanced school meals from local food products, which are economically, technologically, culinary and nutritionally suitable, were prepared and short supply chains for local school meals were established.



The abundance of food in shopping centres has never been so great; at the same time, our dependence on food imports is on the rise and the quality of imported food is questionable. Nutritional value – access to sufficient and high-quality food – is one of the strategic objectives at the European, national and regional levels. Locally, we strive to attain this objective by increasing local food self-sufficiency and promoting short supply chains. The demand for locally produced food has grown recently, both from individual consumers as well as from major food consumers such as public institutions.

Food production in the Škofja Loka area fluctuates and quantities are not always sufficient to meet the growing demand; however, there is interest to increase the production and processing of food products.

We noticed interest in higher quality of products, but there was not sufficient knowledge. Public institutions wanted more high-quality local food, and also pointed out that quantities were insufficient, prices too high, and local production disorganised. The project attempted to achieve for school canteens to not only be food distribution units but to maintain their role and keep providing cooked seasonal food.

The local environment sent signals that in this field there was room for improvement and interest in changes. Interest was shown by both local food providers and schools which attempted to include more locally produced food on their menus. However, there were hesitations and challenges related to the actual supply, such as food distribution and delivery, sufficient quantities of food products, lack of consumption during the summer, coordination of prices, etc. These challenges had to be solved.



The project's long-term goal was to increase local food self-sufficiency, i.e. to increase local production, processing and consumption of locally produced food.

The project's short-term operative goals were to prepare balanced school meals from local food products, which are economically, technologically, culinarily and nutritionally suitable, and to establish short supply chains for local school meals.



The most significant contribution of the “Local food at schools” project is the connection and communication between actors who are included in the supply of locally produced food to schools. In the first stage of the project, an expert group was formed, which included school food service managers, school cooks and chefs, and project partners. The group's job was to prepare a concept of local school meals by including new and redesign existing dishes by including local ingredients, design a technological plan and to estimate the costs of local school meals.

The bases for this activity are the results of the “School lunch” project which showed that it was possible to prepare balanced and affordable school meals from local food products. This also provided a solution to hesitations of schools regarding the prices of locally produced food, as it was coordinated with providers. The expert group could also highlight problems and potential problems, which could be solved if identified early. The use of available local food products and the identification of food products that could be produced locally are crucial in the preparation of local school meals.

Food products of local producers frequently do not meet the huge needs of public institutions. Therefore, the needs of elementary schools and available produced food must be harmonised, and local producers and processors must be prompted to expand their range of products. By connecting local providers, we were able to ensure larger quantities and more diverse locally produced food products. We had meetings with local food providers to encourage them to expand their range of products and provide food that was missing. The main goal was especially their connection so that together, they could provide larger quantities to meet the needs of at least smaller schools. To implement local food orders, we prepared a plan of food supply for school lunch and organised a workshop for elementary schools to prepare a public procurement with suitable criteria for the selection of high-quality food products.

The second stage of the project included more work on providing larger quantities. Expert support was available for local food providers to provide sufficient and suitable local food products ready to be accepted. In addition to training and workshops for agricultural producers and processors, individual and group field consultations were carried out. We prepared a list of consultants who gave advice to agricultural producers and processors in the field. The list was gradually supplemented in view of the needs for expertise in the local environment.

Another relevant segment when supplying schools with local food is also logistics – transport. It is important that food is suitably prepared, packed and promptly delivered. We prepared a selection of current and potential distribution channels from farmers or processors to schools. The focus was on the logistics to supply food products for local school meals devised in previous project activities for individual elementary schools.

At two workshops, the structure and factors of the prices of local crops and products, and theoretical sales prices for individual local crops and products were prepared. The goal was to determine the sales prices of food products for local school meals. The two workshops brought together providers and elementary schools so that the prices were acceptable for both.

As a test of all activities carried out at central and branch schools, pilot processes of short supply chains were implemented. Responses were collected from actors and on this basis, the process was corrected for future implementations.

To spread the knowledge of the project and options for public institutions to order locally produced food, awareness-raising activities for various target groups were also carried out. To support changes, we need to understand the reasons for them; therefore, awareness-raising activities of the advantages of locally produced food adapted to various target groups were carried out.




- Economic:

The project boosted the local economy. With the project, children at elementary schools began consuming more local food, and short supply chains and plans to simplify the inclusion of locally produced food in elementary school meals were established. The promotion and workshops on the advantages of locally produced food included 676 people including pupils, parents, school staff and the general public.

The project comprehensively included all actors to attain the common goal. 11 elementary central and branch schools with 270 pupils were involved in the project, which tested the pilot implementation of school lunch with food from local providers.

Food supply for school lunch included 23 local providers or farms, while 201 local providers attended group consultations or decided on individual consultations.

The network of, and plans for, short supply chains were established through the cooperation of various stakeholders. Pilot implementation of school lunch was facilitated by communication with school staff responsible for the preparation of school lunch and providers of locally produced or processed food.

- Networking value:

The project is deemed an example of a good network at two levels. The establishment of a network of local producers on the one hand, and the establishment of a network of project partners on the other. The project contributed to the systemic establishment of a network and networking of local food producers, processors and schools as consumers of food. The systematic approach provides for a network to be set up, which will be upgraded with more products and demand on the basis of current principles.


The established partner network was based on the competences required for high-quality realisation of the project. The lead partner Razvojna agencija Sora d.o.o. was responsible for project management. As it is included in the business sector and cooperates with local public institutions, it was in charge of communication with schools, chefs and promotion staff. P-ino d.o.o. participated in the preparation of menus, the optimisation of the process from suppliers to consumers, communication with suppliers, the elimination of logistical problems and financial management. The Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry of Slovenia, Kranj Institute participated in training and counselling for suppliers to increase production and processing, and ensure a suitable quality of products.

- Transferability:

According to known information, the incentive has not been replicated in the EU. However, both the concept and the implementation are suitable for application in other fields, which requires specific features of an environment to be considered.



Project beneficiary name/organisation:

Lead partner: Razvojna agencija Sora, d.o.o., Poljanska cesta 2, 4220 Škofja Loka

Partner 1: P-ino, inovacije in razvoj podeželja, d.o.o., Martinj Vrh 24, 4228 Železniki

Partner 2: Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry of Slovenia, Kranj Institute, Cesta Iva Slavca 1, 4000 Kranj


Contact person:

Lead partner: Mag. Jerneja Klemenčič Lotrič

Partner 1: Dr. Janez Benedičič

Partner 2: Majda Luznar



Lead partner: jerneja.lotric@ra-sora.si

Partner 1: info@p-ino.si

Partner 2: majda.luznar@kr.kgzs.si



Lead partner: 00386 4 50 60 222

Partner 1: 00386 40 886 394

Partner 2: 000386 4 511 27 02



Lead partner: www.ra-sora.si

Partner 1: www.p-ino.si

Partner 2: www.kgz-kranj.si


Additional info sources, links:  https://las-pogorje.si/projekti/lokalna-hrana-v-sole/




Photo copyright: ČZD Kmečki glas d. o. o.

 20180920 100427

20181004 100444

20181004 111239

20181004 111405 Tea workshop

IMG 20181004 113747

Pilotna izvedba šolske malice z lokalno pridelano hrano Osnovna šola Ivana Tavčarja Gorenja vas

Pilotna izvedba šolske malice z lokalno pridelano hrano Podružnična šola Bukovica





Deli informacije na svojih socialnih omrežjih

Farming on Anton Vrbnjak's farm is done on 10 ha, where mainly wheat and corn are cultivated; they also have 5 ha of forest. They had a few horses, but their desire was to offer their daily visitors and guests who spend holidays on their farm and their local community something more. Therefore, they wanted to add to the tourist value with a subsidiary on-farm horseback riding activity. This was enabled by financial support within the LEADER measure, since they were not able to purchase all basic means for horseback riding, prepare a riding hall and long field riding paths, and much less employ a professional riding instructor who could also run riding camps for children.



The Mala Nedelja – Radoslavci Tourist Society acts as a partner in the project application in the context of the tourist products and services provided by it, the Prlekija Development Agency is the lead partner, and the Bioterme Mala Nedelja Spa, the Terme Banovci Spa, and nearby schools, nurseries and institutions are also included in the project. In addition to recreational field horseback riding, tourist carriage rides for guests and riding courses on public and forest paths are provided on the farm, stimulating local development of the rural area of the Prlekija LAG. The provision of recreational infrastructure will potentially encourage local residents and their guests, and guests from nearby spas to learn in more detail about the rich tourist products and services of the region, their cultural and culinary special features, and the quality of tourist stays in pristine nature, setting a role model for others to decide and realise entrepreneurial knowledge and proposals which are still being prepared.


Representative of the Prlekija LAG points out that the project is part of the Local Development Strategy for the Prlekija LAG; the project provides perspective to tourism development in rural areas and is also promising due to the fact that it efficiently supplements products and services provided at nearby hotels. Vrbnjak Farm has already been active in tourism, as they offered accommodation facilities, added attractive tourist horseback riding based on guests' interest, and employed a therapeutic riding instructor, rounding off activities of the Prlekija LAG whose purpose was to improve the attractiveness of the area for tourists.



The goal of the farm is to promote and connect local businesses, focusing on tourism and new services on the farm in the form of tourist horseback riding, to improve the quality of life in the Prlekija rural area, and to enrich products and services towards spending leisure time more healthily, therapeutic riding, enriching culinary products and services, and meeting of horse and horseback riding lovers at cultural and social gatherings. The role the farm has and will have to improve the self-esteem of Prlekija residents and to implement measures for nature protection and sustainable natural resource management is not to be overlooked. The project does not need additional energy and its activities will not put a strain on the environment, but it will maintain the natural environment by arranging riding paths in it.



Activities are carried out in two stages; the first stage includes purchasing a carriage and other equestrian equipment and basic means for horseback riding, learning how to ride and preparing riding paths in the field with signposts. The second stage include preparing the land for a riding hall which will be 20 x 40 m large, employing an instructor – therapist, and organising the first meeting of equestrians and horse-pulled rides. Horseback riding and horse-pulled rides will be carried out throughout the area of the Prlekija LAG, and if necessary, the farm will be represented at cultural and other events with horse-pulled rides or horseback riding. Such a vertical connection between an investor as the provider and partners will enable the area to become alive in the tourist sense through products and services new to the area, and is part of the Local Development Strategy for the Prlekija LAG.




- Economic:

The project aims to expand the range of tourist products and services in the Prlekija area, and has both economic and social benefits. It shows a 15 per cent growth in visits to the farm, and growth in the use of services of tourist horseback riding (carriage rides and horseback riding on riding paths) and therapeutic riding, and a new job of a therapeutic riding instructor was created on the farm. Social benefits are evident too, as the farm has been connecting with local tourist service providers, nurseries and schools, and closer cooperation with nearby institutions, where physically or psychologically impaired people are treated, is planned for the future. The project realises the basic principles of the LEADER approach, i.e. collaboration, innovation and networking.

- Social:

Therapeutic riding is a healing activity that has positive effects on physical and psychosocial functions, and dynamic healing. Its purpose is to eliminate or reduce diseases and disorders, and to develop potential, self-realisation, socialisation, and humane relationship to animals and people. At the project development stage, the most frequent users of therapeutic riding are nearby schools and nurseries. This can only be done by qualified instructors with a valid licence. Therapeutic-pedagogic riding includes pedagogical, psychological, psychotherapeutic and socially-integrative effects, with the help of a trained horse, on children, adolescents and adults with the following indications: behavioural disorders, learning problems, emotional impairment, problems in the social and emotional field, etc.

- Networking value:

The project is a good example of good network cooperation between the Mala Nedelja – Radoslavci Tourist Society, the Bioterme Mala Nedelja Spa, the Terme Banovci Spa, and nearby nurseries and schools. Networking of local partnerships in Prlekija means an exchange of experience. The expansion of traditional equestrian products and services stimulated collaboration of the tourist society and nearby spas that promote the services of providers of horseback riding on riding paths and of carriage rides in the pristine nature of Prlekija in their desire to entertain their guests. Therapeutic riding connects particularly schools and nurseries, and the therapeutic riding provider.




Contact person: Anton Vrbnjak

E-mail: tk.vrbnjak@gmail.com

Phone: 00386 31 705 646

Website: www.turisticna-kmetija-vrbnjak.si

Additional info sources, links:  LAS Prlekija, Prešernova ul. 2, Ljutomer; www.las-prlekija.com



Photo copyright: ČZD Kmečki glas d. o. o.

 IMG 6955

IMG 6948

IMG 6950

WP 20181207 10 17 25 Pro

WP 20181207 10 22 04 Pro





Deli informacije na svojih socialnih omrežjih

Vizjak Farm proves that even a small farm (0.90 ha of agricultural land) can provide jobs by developing new innovative products, and good marketing approaches.

The young farmer constantly expands the range of his products, and improves and seeks new innovative products; they were the first to combine wine with chilli peppers, and won three awards for their innovation at their first international competition in New York. The young farmer regularly broadens his knowledge through training abroad. In 2017, he was selected as the most innovative young farmer in Slovenia.

He is also distinguished by his good sense of marketing based on personal marketing – one on one, which is upgraded with social media, videos, event organisation, such as the largest spicy food festival in this part of the Europe. The young farmer successfully markets his products through the Jager and Tuš commercial networks. He also promotes his mission and products abroad, for example in Amsterdam, Trieste, the United States of America, Great Britain, Japan, Thailand, etc.

In Slovenia, we are not self-sufficient in terms of crops, and do not market vegetables enough; therefore, the focus of Vizjak Farm is also very important from the aspect of the strategic needs of Slovenian agriculture.

By taking over the farm and becoming self-employed, the young farmer significantly strengthened the competitiveness of the farm. Several activities are pursued at the farm, and new innovative products, and new marketing channels are constantly sought.

Investments made under sub-measure 6.1 Business start-up aid for young farmers are intended primarily to modernise agricultural machinery – to purchase flail mowers with hammer blades, modernise the production line for chilli pepper processing, tiller and seeder. The investment includes the setting up of a new beehive for apitherapy and its interior equipment, and part of the funds is intended for equipment for subsidiary on-farm activity.


“If we continue to speak only about our farms, we will not change people's mindset. We need to dig deeper and stimulate young people that they can succeed even on small farms measuring a mere two hectares. I know that this is a weird number in the European context but this is the reality in Slovenia. Such farmers must be given hope and shown that they can succeed if their aims are ambitious enough and if they believe in them.” (from the address for the selection of the European Innovative Young Farmer)


“It is a completely different feeling when you work for yourself, when a product comes from your hands and when you see that the market has actually accepted it well. This gives me more pleasure and satisfaction. Money used to be my priority. Now, everything else is my priority, money is just the consequence of what I do. When I made this change in my head, my life turned upside down. In these few years since I came back home, our farm has made considerable progress. Many new things have been introduced to agriculture.” (from an interview in the Narava zdravi (Nature Heals) magazine)



Vizjak Farm – A Farm with a Vision was taken over by young farmer Matic Vizjak in 2016. He became a farmer after he had changed nine jobs, travelled the world and finally settled down on his farm.


He had always loved being outside, and as his father Silvo kept bees and produced wholemeal flour, he joined him. The rest is a classic success story. The yield of chillies was rich that year and the Vizjaks could not eat all the fresh chillies, which gave rise to the first sauces that are now a great success. They tried new things with honey too; they developed cream honey, and added goji berries, ginger, cinnamon, chocolate, etc. to it. The response was phenomenal.

For this reason, Matic made the bold decision to stop looking for a job abroad, take over the farm and be employed on the farm.

Since the farm is very small, they pursue other activities, adding value to basic agricultural products. Matic's basic principle when developing new products is to do something no one ever has before and to create the highest possible margin (the difference between the sales price excl. VAT and purchasing price excl. VAT). Matic and his father are very successful, as they managed to raise the market value of certain basic products by 300 per cent and up to 1000 per cent in three years.

The activities pursued on the farm are:

  • beekeeping (innovative honey products, apitourism);
  • cultivation and processing of chillies (chilli sauce, salsas, brandies, jams, etc.);
  • milling products (gluten-free wholemeal flour);
  • wine making (first official spicy wine in the world);
  • organisation of the largest spicy food festival in this part of the EU.

Matic Vizjak is the mastermind, ambitious, innovative, lucid, the marketer, promoter and connector. He has full-time employment on the farm. In 2017, he was named as the most innovative young farmer in Slovenia by the Slovenian Rural Youth Association.



The vision of Vizjak Farm is to promote agriculture with its own success story and stimulate young people by showing them that innovative approaches enable one to survive on a mere two hectares.



Several agricultural activities are pursued on the farm; i.e. apiculture, chilli peppers and organic milling products. Products are also processed and marketed. They keep seeking opportunities to improve and develop new innovative products at all stages.


Bee products

The number of beehives grew from 16 to 65. The special feature of their bee products is a completely new innovative cream honey line with modern design and high added value in the form of additives for the immune system they named Melissé. Several products have been developed.

Cream honey with:

  • cinnamon and pollen;
  • real cocoa;
  • Bourbon vanilla;
  • chilli peppers;
  • ginger;
  • goji berries;
  • mint and lemon balm;
  • spruce tips.

Cream honey is cream-like natural honey made with a special stirring process. This is finely crystallised honey that can easily be spread due to its fine, even crystals which have not solidified.


Chilli pepper products

They offer a total of ten chilli pepper products (sauces) presented under the increasingly recognised brand Čili Frik. Most of the ingredients are home-grown. Chilli pepper is combined with fruit, smoked pepper they smoke by themselves and various spices. They cultivate the chillies in a dedicated greenhouse and have 800–1,000 plants and over 20 assorted varieties from around the world. Chilli has positive effects on health, as it boosts metabolism, destroys micro-organisms, etc.

The recognisability and sales of the brand have been rising from year to year; in a short period, they have managed to be present in over 60 retail chains, pizza restaurants, restaurants and independent retailers around Slovenia. Their ambitious target is to sell at 100 locations and become the largest manufacturer of chilli sauces in Slovenia. They have recently renovated and modernised their production line, which means that they can manufacture many more products in a shorter period. Link to their products: http://kmetija-vizjak.si/kategorija-izdelka/cili-frik/


Wine making

They developed the first spicy wine in the world. They have two types – rosé and white.

- https://www.chilli-wine.com/en/

- https://chillino.eu/

Chilli wine is a unique product, a combination of top varieties and cellaring according to old methods with a touch of fresh spicy chilli. The wine's flavour is complex, slightly spicy and mature. The recipe for the wine is protected and their intellectual property. Chilli wine was first presented in May 2016 at the Wine and Chocolate Festival in Podčetrtek. It immediately drew media attention. 450 bottles were sold in the first year, i.e. 2016; we need to bear in mind that this wine is sold at a higher price. Expectations for 2017 were higher; they prepared 4,000 bottles of white and 1,000 of rosé – a total of 3,000 l; in 2018, they prepared 4,500 l. Since they have been actively promoting themselves abroad, their primary target for 2019 is to double the sales.


Organic milling products

On Vizjak Farm, cereals, i.e. spelt, buckwheat, white corn, wheat and soya, are also grown. All cereals are cultivated in a completely organic way, for which they have obtained an organic certificate. The first mill is intended only for flours that contain gluten, while only gluten-free cereals, i.e. buckwheat and corn, are ground in the second mill.


Društvo ljubiteljev čilija Slovenije (Chili Lovers Association of Slovenia)

Matic Vizjak is the founder and president of Društvo ljubiteljev čilija Slovenije, and the organiser of the largest spicy food festival in Slovenia, which has been visited by around 17,000 people in four years. The festival hosts 36 stalls with spicy food.

The idea for the first chilli festival in Slovenia grew out of his love for chilli. The purpose of the festival is to educate about, and popularise, spicy food which is a very young culture in Slovenia.

Link: https://ljubiteljicilija.si/



Matic Vizjak boasts three innovative ideas: spicy wine (Chilli wine), the cream honey line Melissé and the organisation of the first chilli festival in Slovenia.

No one has ever made a genuinely spicy wine (Chilli wine). Chilli wine has already been used to denote quite a few products in the world, but these are 100 per cent extracts or pure juices of freshly squeezed chilli, where the pulp is removed and contains no wine, which means this does not include cellaring but merely work in the kitchen.

The cream honey line with additives is special and innovative too. There are a few products of regular honey with cinnamon and chilli on the market but no cream honey with goji berries, mint and lemon balm, genuine cocoa, spruce tips, ginger, etc.

Also special and innovative is the first chilli festival in Slovenia, which is visited by several thousand people each year, produces an extraordinary response in the media, and popularises and educates about spicy food.

Some of the farm's awards:

- gold and silver medals for spicy wine in the USA (Great American International Wine competition 2017);

- silver medal for spicy wine in the USA (Fingerlakes International Wine competition 2017);

- winning spicy sauce BBQ Smoky Jenna at a national competition in Slovenia.



- Economic:

Sales in all four segments have been growing steeply from year to year. Their aim for 2019 is to create another job. Economic outcomes are:

  • increased production capacity;
  • greater competitiveness of the agricultural holding;
  • enhanced marketing of products;
  • better quality of products;
  • new knowledge by attending training.

- Environmental / Climate action:

They farm organically and have obtained a certificate. Not only that, they also farm in a biodynamic way which takes up even more time and planning. Such farming has proven to be great, exceptionally fruitful, tomatoes weighed as much as 1,200 g, and one chilli plant produced a whole bucket of pods. They compost in a large composter where they dispose of all waste material from the agricultural land. They ferment nettle and valerian flowers which they use for foliar feeding which provides plants with nitrogen, and enables their growth and resistance. They also add organic guano.

- Social:

  • Generational renewal of the farm with parents still being actively involved.
  • The chilli festival tightly connected the local community, as one can feel the vibe of the town when collaborating and helping with organisation.
  • Considerable funds are raised each year at the festival, which are donated to a primary school, nursery and an occupational activity centre for people with special needs.
  • Since winning the Innovative Young Farmer 2017 award, Matic Vizjak has become one of the loudest promoters of agriculture in Slovenia, as he regularly gives lectures at primary and secondary schools, encouraging young people to become farmers. He gives more and more lectures at associations, events and business conferences as a best practice example and a motivator, stating that many innovations may be created from scratch with the right approach and a positive mindset, leading to success.
  • His contribution has been recognised by Europe as well, as he is invited to international events abroad as an innovator and an inspiration for young people. He went to Brussels and Tirana in December 2018 alone.

- Networking value:

They liaised with the Kolar Winery from Spodnja Ponkvica and introduced them to the story of spicy wine. They are well aware that they will not be able to satisfy all export needs alone after they succeed abroad. Ivan Kolar is a wine grower and oenologist, who brought professionalism to the development of spicy wine.

They have managed to establish good collaboration with the local community, including through the chilli festival, as one can feel the vibe of the town when collaborating and helping with organisation.


- Transferability:

Matic Vizjak promotes agriculture, agricultural sectors, cultivation and the processing of chillies in Slovenia and Europe, stirring up the interest of young people in agriculture.

They also have a website which is translated into four languages, so they send wine to all EU Member States.




Matic Vizjak, Vizjak Farm, Zadrže 19, 3240 Šmarje pri Jelšah

Contact person: Matic Vizjak

E-mail: info@kmetija-vizjak.si

Phone: 00386 41 913 999






Presentation VIDEO


Photo copyright: ČZD Kmečki glas d. o. o.

 DSC6474 Chilli vino Matic Vizjak foto Janez Marolt 

With a family


ciliji avgust 2016 15

IMG 1106

kmetijavizjak 1

With a president of Slovenia





Deli informacije na svojih socialnih omrežjih

Šolar Farm was taken over by young farmer Darja Šolar. The farm is known far and wide not only for beekeeping but also for the maintenance of the traditional craft of gingerbread making. Let us remind you that gingerbread used to be a beekeeper's added value. Gingerbread is a decorative confectionery product that may be a corporate gift or a keepsake, a Christmas tree decoration, etc. The tradition of medieval gingerbread making differs in various European countries. Gingerbread is made similarly to a honey cake (it contains flour, water, honey, but not eggs). The dough is baked in various shapes (heart, horseshoe, horse, etc.) and red paint is applied to it (people used to apply beetroot dye) together with various ornaments, for example small mirrors and inscriptions.

Fragrant honey treats are also made at their bakery. Ema's honey cake with two quality marks is well-known.

They have also developed apitourism within the scope of which they offer a tasting of monofloral honeys and other bee products, fresh gingerbread, honey beverage and honey liqueur, a presentation of gingerbread making, and lectures on beekeeping and apitherapy (acquisition, correct use and storage of bee products). Visitors may establish good psychophysical condition with the help of bees and their products (honey massages, inhaling aerosols from the beehive, a rest by the beehive, etc.) in the apiary in the yard. There is no shortage of ideas and goals on this farm. They have recently opened a shop with modern equipment in new premises in their yard, where customers may continue to buy their numerous bee products.

They have also equipped a bar, packaging unit and a warehouse to store bee products in new premises, which also include a new cooling chamber.

They try to follow new trends, preserving the quality of bee products and satisfy the most demanding of customers.


‟“I am a Bachelor of Economics with 12 years' experience in accounting. However, my desire to work with bees and honey grew to the point where I quit my job and decided to embark on a new path. I took over the farm, re-qualified to become a beekeeper, trained to become an apitherapy specialist and honey taster. I have been running our beekeeping farm with 36 years of tradition for the second year.””

(Darja Šolar)



The young farmer is a Bachelor of Economics. Years ago, she was captivated by bees and their diligence, persistence and mightiness so much that she decided to quit her job as an accountant after twelve years and embark on a new path.


On the basis of a few years' experience in beekeeping, she became a professional beekeeper. She attended an apitherapy course where she obtained knowledge of the acquisition, storage and correct use of bee products. By defending her final thesis on the topic of the immune system, she successful completed her training and became an apitherapy specialist. Recently, she has completed training for honey tasters at the Biotechnical Faculty in Ljubljana. In 2019, she will upgrade her knowledge to become master beekeeper.



By taking over the farm, she attempted to provide greater economic power and competitiveness of the farm, raise the quality of products as well as care for the environment and to obtain new knowledge by strengthening cultivation and the processing of honey and expanding the range of products and services.



She decided on investment goals that are environmentally acceptable and will contribute to better and simpler beekeeping. They have carried out or plan to carry out the following investments:

- investment in interior beekeeping equipment – cooker for beeswax, larger extractor, etc.;

- purchase of new beehives;

- other investment costs – restoration of the room for extracting and storing honey, setting up and arrangement of a new apiary with insulation at a new location, etc.;

- ICT equipment – personal computer, phone, multifunctional device, etc.



- Economic:

Competitiveness improved through combinations of activities and successes.

Increased production capacity

Darja Šolar took over the beekeeping farm with 62 beehives at three locations. Her target was 75 beehives at four locations, while today, she has 130 beehives at seven locations.

Create conditions for a new job

Conditions on Šolar Farm were established for at least one new employment. Darja Šolar became self-employed on the farm in 2017. During the course of investments and activities, she devoted a lot of time to the attainment of goals. Opportunities to collaborate with local and other partners, and individuals in the form of contractual work have been opening up.

Add products and services

Following the so-called best beekeeping practice, the beekeeping path of Šolar Farm is aimed at not only expanding beehive units and providing bee products but also at offering more to people. They have turned the existing apiary in their yard to a three-chamber apiary. Each chamber has its purpose and together they provide an opportunity to rest, relax and take a break from everyday difficult and stressful situations. The chambers are rounded off with natural spruce wood with 20 beehive units. Pleasant honey fragrances and the buzzing of bees coming from beehives fill the chambers, while the tidiness and green surroundings of the chambers have a positive and calming effect on people. At the apiary, you may rest in a massage chair and inhale aerosol from the beehive. You can also lie by the beehives with a view of bees flying in and out of the beehive, where you can completely relax and redirect your thoughts. The apiary is not just a safe home for bees but also a place for aroma and psychotherapy, honey massages and acupuncture surrounded by the pleasant honey fragrance while listening, to, watching and smelling bees. All this is assessed as added value to our products and services in Laško and the wider area. Cleansing honey massages have a positive effect on the body and soul. Honey massage is a method of cleansing the body of heavy metals and toxins and impurities, which are the products and a negative consequence of our industrial society, with minimum costs. All age groups can attend various workshops from painting on beehive panels, pouring wax candles and producing soaps to gingerbread workshops with the emphasis on maintaining the traditional craft.

Innovative products and services

Šolar Farm provides apitourism. The lack of such services in the surrounding area gives them plenty of opportunities to further upgrade and expand the service. All products and services are supported by professional and trained staff.

Enhanced marketing of products

Šolar Farm boosted their production of honey and other bee products, and expanded the range of their bee products. We intend to upgrade our website soon, which will contain all honey products so that they can be bought by customers from more distant places or outside Slovenia.

- Environmental / Climate action:

When carrying out investments and activities, the priority on the farm is to preserve and improve all that needs to be preserved and improved so that they can provide their customers with natural bee products and high-quality services. They are well aware that there is no life without bees. Bees are nature's barometer – they detect that something is wrong much earlier than people and before we know it, they die.

Approximately a third of world's food is plants pollinated by animals, with bees contributing a large share. For this reason, bees are crucial for the survival of mankind. In addition, honey is one of the rare food products people can eat unprocessed. Humans endanger bees particularly by unselective spraying of crops with pesticides.

Use of natural materials

Chambers in a beehive where people may establish good psychophysical condition are treated with natural spruce wood. When carrying out investments and activities, they favour purchasing and using natural materials that do not harm the environment and are environmentally friendly.

Reuse of materials

They are well aware that disposing of waste is the most expensive manner of waste management, which also puts the most strain on the environment. They will continue to constantly separate waste, protecting the environment and saving money at the same time. Separate waste collection means that the recycling circle is complete. Processing means that they protect the environment, as waste is used as a raw material in the production of new products, they use less raw materials and a lot less energy.

- Social:

- Generational renewal of the farm.

- Raising children's awareness of the meaning of pollinators and the manner of honey production (collaboration with a primary school).

- Networking value:

First and foremost, they want to collaborate and connect with local providers so that they can prepare an attractive programme with joint interest, increasing the number of visits to the Municipality of Laško and contribute to rural development and visits. Various development entities in the narrower and wider area (STIK Laško, Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association, Celeia Institute, dr. Filip Terč Slovenian Apitherapy Society, etc.) and inclusion in various tourist and promotional projects (Land of Celje, Laško - the Confluence of Good, etc.) would also have an important role. They have already signed a letter of intent with STIK Laško, in which several forms of collaboration are foreseen. Promotion through STIK Laško and collaboration with Thermana Laško and the Rimske Terme Spa. Collaboration is also planned with other beekeepers and nearby educational institutions (Primož Trubar Primary School and Anton Aškerc Primary School).


- Transferability:

Experience and knowledge could be passed on at round tables and seminars, where the situation prior to the takeover and now would be shown. The beekeeping farm has been visited by many tourists through the years. We raise their awareness of the meaning of pollinators and the planting of honey plants. We try to give them more information on the world of bees, and inform them how to establish good psychophysical condition with bee products. Darja Šolar has been running a beekeeping class at Laško Primary School for the second year, where she happily passes on her knowledge to children.

The beekeeping farm is an example of best practice with three strong activities, i.e. beekeeping, gingerbread making and apitourism. And it is a good role model for potential beekeepers, as it shows them how to develop a beekeeping farm where you can be self-employed with well-established goals and visions, and hard work.




Darja Šolar, Strmca 81a, 3270 Laško

Contact person: Darja Šolar

E-mail: darja.solar@gmail.com

Phone: 00386 40 759 357

Website: http://www.apiturizem.si

Additional info sources, links: https://www.facebook.com/cebelarstvosolar/

Presentation VIDEO


Photo copyright: ČZD Kmečki glas d. o. o.


 20180909 114436

20181127 120838


medena masaža v čebelnjaku




Deli informacije na svojih socialnih omrežjih

Within this project, four town markets were established in the Meža Valley in the required scope. There already was a market in Ravne na Koroškem, so this case involved the renovation of old and setting up of new points of sale, and the setting up of additional infrastructure (electrification). In Prevalje and Mežica, new markets were established, as there had been none. In Črna na Koroškem, the specific features of the elongated town and its surrounding valleys prompted the purchase of eight stalls used at various events, while in Rudarjevo and Žerjav, a new market place with points of sale (small houses) and all necessary infrastructure were set up, where local producers can sell their products.


"The desire and need of local communities in the area of our Meža Valley LAG was for each town to have a central place where not only sales but other parallel activities would be carried out. The notion of town markets has always been perceived as a hub where people meet and socialise in addition to buying." (Viktorija Barbič, Meža Valley LAG)



The goal was to set up places for sales and stimulate local producers to sell their crops and products in the local area, and to gradually increase local production and processing.

The strategic and long-term goals of the operation are:

  • versatile development of municipalities and centres of town;
  • to expand the range of tourist products and services in the Meža Valley;
  • better economic situation in the area and new jobs; better self-sufficiency of the area and a higher level of awareness of the significance of healthy food, and
  • better health of residents.

The operational goals of the operation were:

  • to provide the basic conditions for the marketing of local crops and products in towns, prompting the development of supply and demand for local products and services for better sustainable local self-sufficiency and a better economic situation in the area and new jobs;
  • to revive centres of towns – to establish conditions for all generations from the whole area to connect and gather (to prevent social exclusion of certain target groups), and
  • connection between the four markets (market operation model).





The following activities were carried out on the existing market in Ravne na Koroškem: two signposts with “TOWN MARKET” on both sides were set up in the market area; electrical connection spots were arranged in the market area; seven small wooden sales houses were renovated. The work included painting the houses in a luminous colour for illumination, and producing and installing additional metal and wooden roof trims; ten stalls from solid spruce wood were purchased, whose surface was coated with a lacquer and glaze in green colour. The roofing was covered with waterproof canvas with the municipality's coat-of-arms printed on it. The stalls have a storage shelf.


The following activities were carried out: A 50 m2 projecting steel roof was installed; two closed containers for the sale of products were purchased and set up. The containers have additional interior equipment crucial for the operation of the market in the winter (sink, boiler for sanitary water, radiator, etc.); an open 15 m2space was arranged for products, such as wickerwork and other large products, to be sold outdoors; a sanitary unit was purchased and set up, which can also be used by disabled people, as it meets all standards (door width, large enough space to turn around, ramps were additionally installed). The sanitary unit has additional interior equipment crucial for operation in winter (sink, boiler for sanitary water, radiator, installation protection).

A drinking fountain was erected and trees were planted; the market area was also equipped with urban equipment (benches, waste bins). 14 parking spaces were arranged, including a disabled bay; installations were renovated: plumbing, sewage system, electrical power lines and public lighting.


A 140 m2 open facility was built in Mežica. Its structure is made of concrete (concrete pillars), the exterior and the wooden ceiling were trimmed with wooden slates. The façade on the eastern and western side of the facility is from Alucobond material and at the request of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, it will be grown over with greenery. There are concrete pillars in the facility next to which counters for the sale of crops and products will be subsequently installed. Entry for delivery persons will be at the back of the market. In addition to market activities, the facility will also be intended for socialising. This is an open facility with installed drainage, electrical power lines, public lighting and public toilets. We have obtained a building permit to build the facility. The investment helped us to create good conditions for the sale of local crops and products, locating providers in one place. We also wish to improve the atmosphere in the centre, and diversify life in the town with events and shows.


Purchase of movable equipment for the markets: two wooden sales houses and eight wooden stalls were purchased – movable equipment which may be erected at any location in the municipality.

The arrangement of the market in Rudarjevo comprised: the arrangement of the place – the straightening and laying of paving stones; the arrangement of electrification and plumbing; the arrangement/planting of flower beds; the purchase and installation of one waste bin, two benches and one sink with a tap on the back; the erection of one signpost; the installation of movable equipment – two stalls and one wooden house (movable equipment may also be erected elsewhere in the municipality).

The arrangement of the market in Žerjav comprised: the arrangement of electrification and plumbing; the arrangement/planting of a flower bed; the purchase and installation of one waste bin, two benches and one sink with a tap on the back; the erection of one signpost; the installation of movable equipment – two stalls and one wooden house (movable equipment may also be erected elsewhere in the municipality).

Promotional and motivation activities were also carried out – the organisation of various events to activate local providers, residents and visitors. The activities were carried out by the Črna Tourist Society: the overview of local providers of agricultural and handicraft products; promotional material (flyers and invitations for societies, and a notice on the opening times of the markets and the opening event) was prepared.

- the organisation of a fair day – opening of the Rudarjevo market

- the organisation of a market exchange day

- the plan of events at the Rudarjevo and Žerjav markets in the coming months



-    Economic:

The establishment of markets will provide the conditions to sell home-produced healthy food, which in turn will improve the quality of life in municipalities, as those residents who are not involved in farming and do not produce food are able to buy such products. A part of the local residents will be given an opportunity for additional income, and healthier and fresher food, and other products will be provided to local residents and tourists. Although the project has just concluded, we have noticed an increased flow of people at these locations and slightly more products on offer but cannot state any specific data. More will be known in 2019.

-    Environmental / Climate action:

By establishing local markets, we boost local production and processing of food which is also used locally. This contributes to a well-planned cultural landscape and reduction of carbon footprint left by lengthy transport routes and intensive food production.

- Social:

The planned operation pursued the goal to establish and prepare town markets in urban areas, and to establish a model for their operation and connection. A need has been recognised to raise the level of self-sufficiency by establishing a network of providers and users of the excess of locally produced food.

- Networking value:

The project partners were: Municipality of Ravne na Koroškem, Municipality of Prevalje, Municipality of Mežica and Municipality of Črna na Koroškem.

In cooperation with various local stakeholders, such as societies, local communities, farmers – providers at the markets and potential providers, and the agricultural advisory service, we prepared a market operation model in the Meža Valley. The preparation of the model included the planning of coherent action of markets in the Meža Valley. For this purpose, we had initially checked the existing situation in town in the valley, and reviewed best practices of market operation in Slovenia. At four workshops and presentations, we spoke to local stakeholders on possible ways of coherent market operation and motivated them to join the planning and implementation of further joint activities. Finally, we managed to prepare a model for coherent market operation in the Meža Valley.



Meža Valley LAG,

Prežihova ulica 17, 2390 Ravne na Koroškem

Contact person: Viktorija Barbič

E-mail: info@las-md.si

Phone: 00386 2 82 17 860

Website: http://www.las-md.si/

Presentation VIDEO


Photo copyright: ČZD Kmečki glas d. o. o.





tržnica mežica gradnja 2

tržnica mežica gradnja 3


Deli informacije na svojih socialnih omrežjih

The project stems from the Local Development Strategy for the Dolenjska and Bela krajina Local Action Group and points out the non-utilisation of common infrastructure for revitalising, renovating and enriching local facilities to include residents. Such an unused facility is Komenda which is culturally very important, as it has been also used to provide care for the weak and gravely ill elderly since 1764. The Elderly and Loneliness research (2013) shows that loneliness is a pressing problem in Bela krajina. Therefore, the project activity foresees the revival of Komenda with a programme that will include local residents, particularly isolated and physically handicapped residents.


‟Many elderly people feel empty and alone, and are physically handicapped due to age-related changes. So we provide them with an opportunity to socialise. Those users who want to talk but do not want or cannot be included in a group are offered individual treatment and conversations on the Silver Phone. Users like workshops where they can learn about various diseases and the alleviation of problems they encounter. At workshops, they like to share their experiences, exchange practical advice, and ask lecturers questions they are interested in.”
Antonija, who regularly attends healthcare workshops, said: “I like coming to workshops, where I always learn something new and chat with my friends. If it wasn't for this programme, I'd be home alone all day. Loneliness hurts. It hurts like hell.” Her friend Katarina added: “I think this project is good, although I have problems leaving the house. But I'm glad when I come here. It's always interesting. We do different things, we made dolls and clay products with nursery children; we picked chestnuts last week, and we have healthcare workshops.”

(Anica Puhek, head of the Activity Centre – Silver Palace) 



The said survey has shown that 20 per cent of surveyed elderly people in Bela krajina were lonely, making it a pressing problem. Komenda is unused and at the same time, very culturally important for the area. Therefore, we see the fixing up of this facility as great tourist potential.



The main goal of the project is to establish the Activity Centre – Silver Palace within Komenda with a programme that will actively include residents, particularly isolated and physically handicapped residents, of the municipalities of Črnomelj, Metlika and Semič. The establishment of rooms for content-related activities focused on the preparation and testing of the Silver Palace daily programme is foreseen. The goals of the project are being realised according to plan. 15 participants attend healthcare workshops every Thursday; other workshops and meetings are also very well attended, depending on the activity, season, weather and availability of participants.



Initially, a place for the implementation of the Silver Palace programme was provided in Komenda, and equipment was purchased by Metlika Retirement Home. This was followed by the establishment of logistics and transport of elderly residents of the three municipalities who were excluded, particularly isolated and physically handicapped residents, to the facility, which was provided by the Lintvern Institute. Isolated and physically handicapped residents from three municipalities in Bela krajina order transport to the Silver Palace to take part in healthcare workshops once a week. This means that they obtain healthcare-related information and advice suitable for the elderly and physically handicapped, and socialise, easing the feeling of loneliness at least a little. Healthcare and creative workshops, and various forms of socialising are the bases for the preparation and testing of a new social programme Silver Week with which we wish to empower the elderly in the three municipalities, particularly isolated and physically handicapped residents and which is carried out by Metlika Retirement Home and the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Novo mesto.

The Silver Phone activity is also being implemented to inform, and raise awareness of, the target group, providing them with an opportunity for conversation. Elderly and isolated people who cannot come to the Silver Palace can talk with an employee or other participants on the phone, easing the feeling of isolation and loneliness and at the same time, obtaining advice on everyday life issues to which they cannot find an answer. This is socialisation on the phone and reducing personal distress.

Also ongoing are the preparation of a new tourist programme related to the facility, and the preparation and testing of a new tourist programme: digital or multimedia and guided presentation The past of Komenda (ongoing; carried out by Jazon d.o.o. and Metlika Retirement Home).



- Economic:

One new job has been created. The person is responsible for the implementation and coordination of Silver Palace activities: socialisation, the Silver Phone, healthcare workshops and “The past of Komenda” tourist programme (guided presentation and a virtual tour of the past of Komenda). In addition, the Silver Palace and its new “The past of Komenda” tourist programme will attract tourists to visit Metlika and Bela krajina.

- Environmental / Climate action:

The project directly contributes to environmental sustainability by reviving an empty and old building, and adding content to it, as it boosts the sustainability and significance of the building. The energy put into the preservation of architectural heritage will not be worthless; instead, its consumption (heat, electricity, water, restoration) will have a higher and greater purpose.

- Social:

The inclusion of people and easing their loneliness by including them in activities foreseen in the project; research shows that the area of Bela krajina is one of the areas in Slovenia where the isolation of individuals, particularly of the elderly, is greatest. Due to the large rural area and poor infrastructure, numerous elderly and physically handicapped residents do not have the financial means and social opportunities for social inclusion. Therefore, the project is focused on improving the life of residents in this area by easing their loneliness and providing them with more healthcare-related information.

- Networking value:

The project connects various institutions in this area, which take part in the realisation of the project with synergy. Metlika Retirement Home is the crucial institution in the Municipality of Metlika, which is responsible for elderly residents and owns the Silver Palace. Therefore, it is the applicant or the coordinator of the project. The Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Novo mesto has the competences in the field of healthcare and therefore carries out healthcare workshops. The Lintvern Institute establishes the logistics and transport of non-included elderly residents of the three municipalities, particularly isolated and physically handicapped residents, to the Silver Palace. Jazon d.o.o. has been preparing the tourist programme: digital or multimedia and guided presentation “The past of Komenda”.


- Transferability:

The project may also be applied to other European areas (particularly to Central and Eastern Europe), where buildings that are part of architectural heritage or other abandoned buildings are being revived by socially empowering the weakest in society by establishing a tourist programme to ensure the project's long-term sustainability.

- Synergies with other EU policies:

No other sources of funding have been used; however, the project complies with the policy of establishing a smart village, and socially and economically sustainable rural areas.



Metlika Retirement Home, Mestni trg 16, 8330 Metlika

Contact person: Jerneja Šterk 

E-mail: direktor@dso-metlika.si

Phone: 00386 7 30 63 151, 00386 41 604 344

Other contact details: petra.propsitri.si, lasdbk@rc-nm.si


Photo copyright: ČZD Kmečki glas d. o. o.


 Prevozi starostnikov 1

Srebrni dvor 2

 Srebrni dvor

Srebrni dvor 4 new Kitchen

Srebrni dvor 6 Komenda building



Deli informacije na svojih socialnih omrežjih

Janez Smrtnik's farm (Kovk Farm) is as a mountain farm with pastures in the mountains. It is a role model for how, with not much financial incentive, to not only maintain but create a good basis for the future of the family and jobs when his four children grow up. Kovk Farm is an organic farm expanding at the elevation of 750 to 1,100 metres. They decided to breed indigenous breeds as they are most suitable for this mountain environment. They were guided by the focus to maintain our cultural heritage which includes our indigenous breeds of domestic animals. The products are cultivated, processed and used in the local environment, and sold to local consumers and tourist facilities. In this way, organic breeding does not put any strain on the environment.

“With such manner of breeding and the marketing of our production, a story is essential. If there is no suitable story behind out meat, consumers treat it like any other meat from any other place and type of breeding. Therefore, we must put in more effort for our manner of breeding, our farm, our meat to be recognised. This, however, brings high costs. For this reason, we could use more substantial financial support; in certain EU Member States, financial support is more substantial.”(Janez Smrtnik)



We breed indigenous breeds (Cika cattle, Jezersko-Solčava sheep, Krškopolje pig, Drežnica goat and Styrian hen) and not so-called intensive breeds. Therefore, production is small scale, resulting in partial loss of income. The funds we obtain through the measures of the Rural Development Programme for the 2014–2020 period make the situation easier. We are glad that the government and the public understand and help us with some form of compensation, more specifically with the measures of the RDP 2014–2020. Public awareness is very important. Even within the scope of other activities such as tourism, breeding local breeds is important. City people need a break in pristine nature with pristine, healthy and locally produced food – we provide all this in these mountains.

Characteristic of the Jezersko-Solčava sheep is that they are fertile all year round, which cannot be encountered in most other breeds. The average natality is 1.5 to 1.8 lambs a year. The probability for twins is 10–50 per cent, depending also on food. Ewes are around 65 cm tall, while rams are 10 cm taller. A sheep's weight depends on food, but it is between 60 and 80 kg, with rams being heavier, i.e. between 80 and 100 kg. Their legs are firm, their backs are strong, long and muscular. Sheep are very well adapted to pasture on mountain pastures. In the past, sheep had to have a characteristic black spot around their eyes (glasses or a tear), but later, most breeders picked sheep without such a spot. Nowadays, breeders are aware again of the meaning of such a spot for the recognition of the Jezersko-Solčava sheep. Sheep are usually sheared twice a year, i.e. in April and October, with breeders obtaining around 2 kg of wool per sheep. The said characteristics of the Jezersko-Solčava sheep are important for crossbreeding on holdings.



Our aim is to keep breeding, provide consumers with healthy food, and to create conditions with revenue for the farm to be modernised, for a subsidiary on-farm activity of own meat processing to be registered on the farm in the future, and for taking up tourist activity on the farm. Our aim is also to provide more jobs on the farm, possibly for the entire family. To sell what we produce and process on our home yard, meaning to register a subsidiary on-farm activity of meat processing and tourism on the farm.



Initially, we prepared and submitted the application with the help of a farm advisory service from Kranj. This was followed by daily work and care for our animals, and seasonal preparation of fodder, from mowing, storage of hay from our own meadows, etc., to the sale of animals. Our subsidiary activity is the breeding of breeding animals, i.e. rams of the Jezersko-Solčava breed. We have an alternative ram test station. In this field, we collaborate with the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana. At the test station, we try to preserve the purity of the breed by professionally selecting the best ram. This is to ensure that the best production and breed characteristics of our Jezersko-Solčava breed are preserved. Animals are selected in the natural environment of the steep mountain pastures of Jezersko, where we carefully select the best and most beautiful male lambs from parents with the best breeding potential. Animals show their character in their natural environment, in difficult living conditions. Rams are used to moving around in nature and are capable of the efforts they will bear in their new environment as breeding rams. In this way, our customers get superb breeding animals for further breeding.

Animals that are suitable for slaughter are taken to a slaughterhouse. We market the fresh meat ourselves, as we have registered the activity of fresh meat sales, and through a lamb producer group. Our desire is for our organically produced meat to be marketed as meat with an organic certificate and not as meat from conventional breeding within the producer group, which is what we focus on. We are also part of the so-called ARK Farm Network, and the status of an ARK farm for us is the recognition of the indigenousness of breeding animals, and particularly of a special role of such breeding in the preservation of biodiversity in Slovenian husbandry.

At this point, I would like to point out that, in addition to us being included in the AEC measure as a mountain organic farm, we are also included in several other measures of the RDP 2014–2020, i.e.: LFA, Animal welfare and Organic farming.



-  Economic:

Currently, there is one regularly employed person on the farm and the farm has the potential to further develop. The important outcome is of course to keep breeding indigenous breeds, preserve the farm and create conditions for the farm to provide jobs for our children when they grow up.

-  Environmental:

Under the AEC measure, I have also undergone a six-hour training programme in the field of agri-environment-climate topics in relation to the operation “Breeding of local breeds in danger of being lost to farming”, and I have prepared an activity programme for the agricultural holding.
The said operation includes 50 sheep.

Under the Organic farming measure, I obtain a certificate of organic production and processing each year. Animals are bred in accordance with organic farming regulations, and to this end, I have undergone a six-hour training programme and comply with all other requirements.
32 hectares are included in the Organic farming measure.



Janez Smrtnik, Kovk Farm,

Spodnje Jezersko 14

E-mail: kovk@siol.net

Phone: 00386 41 368 903

Presentation VIDEO                

Photo copyright: ČZD Kmečki glas d. o. o. and Janez Smrtnik


 IMGP8189 Janez Smrtnik Kovk Avtor Kmečki glas



S5 Avtor Janez Smrtnik Kovk

IMG 20180921 Avtor Janez Smrtnik Kovk

S16 Avtor Janez Smrtnik Kovk

S18 Avtor Janez Smrtnik Kovk



Deli informacije na svojih socialnih omrežjih

This is an innovative family organic farm owned by Beno Bajda who believes in progress, innovation and development. Through years of work, learning and experience, they have managed to create world-class and unique products which have been winning awards and recognisability at home and abroad. The measures of the Rural Development Programme for the 2014–2020 period they utilise have not only stimulated their organic production of olive oil but fostered an innovative approach to production and processing. Their latest innovation (patented) is a procedure of oil extraction with ultrasound, which is less time-consuming, requires less energy and brings better quality of olive oil that contains more antioxidants than the usual cold extraction. They also used an innovative approach to protecting olive trees and their fruits against pests.

“We are small producers and have boutique-size production. But we would like to differ from others and have a wide range of products made from olive oil or leaves. In recent years, people have turned back to nature and think organically, so we try to provide them with products containing the best ingredients, and our soap is also made from organic oil. The demand for olive leaves and pickled olives has been growing.” (Beno Bajda)



Olive fruit fly attacks occur at different times, depending on the micro-location. Therefore, it is very important to notice what goes on in the grove. The difference in the risk of an olive fruit fly attack may be noticed even at 50 metres of altitude difference or 200 metres of length difference between olive groves. I have been informing the owners of neighbouring olive groves of my findings (daily monitoring) to warn them to act promptly for their and my own benefit. Coordinated action in a larger area increases the efficiency of protection against olive fruit fly attacks. which results in better quality of products and following processing, of olive oil.



First of all, it is important to me that my produce and products are healthy, not abundant in terms of quantity. Our goal is the production of healthy food products. This is also the purpose of our efforts in organic production and processing.



Organic production must be monitored daily and if necessary, preventive actions must be taken. I set pheromone traps (Cromotrap). The advisory service has its own traps (Dacotrap). The difference between the two is that Cromotrap traps contain three pheromone tablets that work in all directions, so we can determine more precisely from where the olive fruit fly will attack. Since these traps attract flies more intensively, monitoring must be carried out every morning and evening and not once a week as in the case of monitoring carried out by the advisory service. In organic production, prompt actions are very important, as we cannot carry out curative actions but only preventive. Olive fruit fly attacks must be contained in the shortest time possible. In this way, we use significantly less sprays than otherwise. When I establish that a trap contains a critical number of flies, which is a clear sign of the upcoming attack, I immediately spray a suitable permitted product only on one twig on the side of the tree which is at risk of being attacked. In our area, that is usually the east side. We only spray twigs without fruits on external trees on the terrace. In such a way, we only use 10 litres of prepared spray on one hectare of an olive grove, saving us money spent on sprays, time and energy. The downside of this manner is perhaps that spraying must be done manually. This method enables predators, i.e. natural enemies of the olive fruit fly such as ladybirds and other insects, to be preserved and developed in the olive grove. Thus we preserve the natural balance which would be disturbed with conventional cultivation methods due to plant protection products used.



-  Economic:

The main result of our work stimulated with the measures of the RDP 2014–2020 is better quality of products and olive oil. For now, we have approximately 1,000 trees, which include 400 young trees which average 10 tonnes of produce. We produce extra virgin olive oil made with extremely cold procedures; our oils have won the most prestigious awards. We produce olive oil named Belica (white) with naturally high content of antioxidants, and olive oil named Maurino which adds to, and enriches, the character of dishes. We also produce Cuvée, olive oil with the fruitiness and spiciness of Belica toned down by gentle Maurino.

All our products are sold on our doorstep in our own oil extraction plant without intermediaries. In the light of our innovation (extraction with ultrasound – photo: IMGP8252), we are considering providing our top olive oil as a healthy food product to pharmacies. Our buyers come from everywhere not only Slovenia, for example Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, even the USA. Some of them purchase as much as a few dozen litres of oil. As we produce around 1,500 litres of oil, we have not yet thought about providing it to retail chains. Organic olive trees grow in our certified olive groves and extra virgin olive oil is produced at a family oil extraction plant with an organic certificate.

We have obtained a certificate (Bureau Veritas) of organic production/processing of agricultural and food products, and the official EU organic food product label. The conditions and rules are stated in Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008. We have also obtained the “protected designation of origin” certificate. We have won international awards: Extragold medal Biol Novello 2017, Extragold medal Biol 2018, Silver medal Olive Japan 2018 (The Olive Oil Sommelier Association of Japan).

We are included in measures M10 AEC, M11 Organic farming and M13 LFA.

- Environmental / Climate action:

By promptly picking the fruits, we ensure optimum maturity during processing into oil and the highest possible content of antioxidants in oil. To achieve a high content of antioxidants in olive oil, we have developed and patented (in Slovenia) a new oil extraction technology without thermal treatment. This means extremely not only extra cold extraction. It is a new procedure during which the material is not heated (it used to be heated to 27°C in accordance with the EU regulation, which was considered cold pressed olive oil). The new procedure does not require heating, reducing the processing time by 20 minutes, saving the same amount of energy. According to analyses carried out last year, there are up to 30 per cent more antioxidants in olive oil extracted in this manner, which is actually what we seek in olive oil as a healthy food product.

Cold pressing (up to a maximum of 27°C) does not generate chemical changes in the ingredients of oil. Fruits are ground, mixtures and oil are centrifuged and then poured or filtered. Nothing must be added during the procedure save for water. Our new procedure with ultrasound requires no heating at all, generating better quality.

- Social:

All work in olive groves and the oil extraction plant (Torkla d.o.o.) is done by family members, meaning me, two daughters and a son who will become a young farmer.

- Networking value:

Despite carrying out our own daily monitoring, we also collaborate with the agricultural advisory service in relation to their forecasts regarding technological measures in olive groves. The advisory service also helps us to prepare applications for RDP funds.

We belong to the Association of Olive Growers of Slovenian Istria. Olive fruit fly attacks occur at different times, depending on the micro-location. Therefore, it is very important to notice what goes on in the grove. The difference in the risk of an olive fruit fly attack may be noticed even at 50 metres of altitude difference or 200 metres of length difference between olive groves. I have been informing the owners of neighbouring olive groves of my findings (daily monitoring) to warn them to act promptly for their and my own benefit. Coordinated action in a larger area increases the efficiency of protection against olive fruit fly attacks.

- Transferability:

In view of our positive experiences, such use of pheromone traps for monitoring and lower consumption of plant protection products, energy and time could be transferred to other countries.



Beno Bajda

Nazorjeva ulica 15, 6310 Izola

E-mail: beno.bajda@gmail.com

Phone: 00386 41 964 428

Website: www.torkla.com

Presentation VIDEO


Photo copyright: ČZD Kmečki glas d. o. o.



















Deli informacije na svojih socialnih omrežjih

We highlight an example of best practice which contributes to the main strategic needs in Slovenia – to increase the production of organic meat and fruit. The Šalek Valley Agricultural Cooperative is a cooperative which successfully transfers innovative ideas into practice. It developed an original traceability system using the QR code so that buyers may check prior to purchase on exactly which farm meat was produced and which valid certificates it has. It is also the first cooperative in Slovenia to establish a social enterprise named Zavod darilo narave (Gift of Nature Institute) which employs disabled people.

‟“We have an original traceability system introduced years ago using the QR code so that buyers may check prior to the purchase on exactly which farm meat was produced, where the farm is located and which valid certificates the farm has. This traceability system is upgraded with a new system, the so-called Origin Trail, supported by blockchain technology. This technology facilitates indelible traceability and indelible data. It is a known fact that counterfeit goods of all types, including food products, are a great problem in the global market. Unfortunately, such practices, particularly with food products from vegetables, fruit, meat and other products to products made from them, also appear in Slovenia. We have a very efficient inspection service (Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Food Safety, Veterinary Sector and Plant Protection), but the temptation for someone to counterfeit a recognised brand and launch the product on the market is strong.

(Ivan Drev, director of  The Šalek Valley Agricultural Cooperative) 




We decided to carry out this project because we lost 8 ha of orchards the land for which was leased from the Farmland and Forest Fund of the Republic of Slovenia which transferred this land to the municipality. This was an opportunity for us to write a new story. And because we lost our orchards, while our desire was to have 20 ha of orchards so that we can be someone in the market. Our apples cover a wide local market, the Šalek Valley, the Upper Savinja Valley, part of Koroška and part of the Lower Savinja Valley.


Our orchards cover 16 ha. From this aspect, we are not large but we are also not small. Therefore, it is all the more important to support marketing with a suitable story. For example: everyone produces apple chips, why would we not produce chips with chocolate, cinnamon, etc., nicely packed, boutique made. Such a product cannot easily be found in the market, meaning that the price of our innovative products can be a bit higher.


By setting up orchards of organic apples, we want to obtain a healthy sales item (apple as fresh fruit) and a raw material for other products. Our goal is to set up anti-hail nets over all the orchards, which will be carried out gradually together with the renovation of old orchards, and to build an irrigation system. Our main goal is to produce a top-quality healthy organic product and process it into top-quality food products with the highest added value. With our innovative tracing system, we want to establish the highest possible confidence of our customers and their loyalty to our brands.


A positive decision on our application meant we first had to prepare land for organic farming. We planted sunflowers as a green fertiliser, ploughed and put in plenty of organic fertiliser. Then we planted trees and set up hail protection over 2 ha, while 1 ha will be completed in 2019. The land was deep ploughed and plenty of organic fertiliser was put in. We have a bull farm, which means that we had our own supply of manure which had matured for two years. We did all this especially because the emphasis, despite suitable rotation, in this area used to be the production of corn silage. Therefore, we decided to completely revitalise the land. Suitable provision of land with organic fertilised is extremely important in organic plantations where mineral fertilisers must not be used – for humification. Later, we will use special organic fertilisers (line and phosphor by Timac Agro and a special fertiliser by the French company PRP Technologies which specialises in the production of biostimulants for soil and plants in agriculture. PRP fertilisers stimulate microbiological activity in soil. To this end, we have already carried out tests, dug up pedological holes and checked the situation. When using conventional fertiliser, earthworms occur up to 20 cm deep, while with PRP fertilisers, we have found that earthworms occur up to 60 or 80 cm deep. This depth is important from the aspect of the depth of soil aeration and better conditions for the root system of apple trees. Such fertilisation will also be introduced to our other old apple orchards.

In the year 2018 we completed the setting up of hail protection in old orchards, and received a decision a few days ago on the setting up of hail protection over a further 4 ha. This will be carried out in 2019. Currently, hail protection is set up over 6 ha.


- Economic:

The Šalek Valley Agricultural Cooperative has 12 business units. 2017 was a year of many great achievements for the Šalek Valley Agricultural Cooperative and our members. It was concluded with EUR 8,367.00 of net profit and positive revenue from regular activity. The operating revenues were very encouraging, amounting to EUR 17,287.86, which is slightly over 13 per cent or EUR 2,323,000 more than in 2016. This is the result of a visionary policy, and of serious and fair work of all actors in our cooperative chain.

Operation by sectors was as follows: The turnover of commercial activities was EUR 9,332,258, which is 11.5 per cent more than the year before or 54 per cent of all revenue. By purchasing and selling agricultural products, cooperative units together with the organic unit made a turnover of EUR 7,186,327, which is 19 per cent more than the year before. The turnover of the Turn and Ravne-Šmartno business units was EUR 609,275, which is more than 20 per cent more than the year before or 3.52 per cent of all revenue. The purchase of milk grew by 3 per cent or 14,229,907 litres. The purchase of young fattening cattle and calves was surpassed by 15 per cent, amounting to 1,760 pieces of cattle with 548,321 kg of meat. We are also satisfied with the purchase of cows, which grew by 16 per cent, amounting to 554 pieces of cattle with 152,590 kg of meat. All goods purchased from farmers who are members and non-members were paid regularly on the due date and some were even prepaid. Our organic red meat programme carried out in the EKO-RDEČE MESO business unit grew by 28 per cent; we purchased 222 pieces of organic beef and remain the largest provider in Slovenia.

Investments have been paying off, bringing us greater market shares in new fields and new brand groups.

Fruit industry signifies 1.8 per cent of the cooperative's operations (carried out within the Turn business unit) – in terms of investments, fruit industry is currently our main focus. We have our own brand SLODAR (since 2007) through which we market fresh apples and products made thereof. This is conventional production. On the other hand, organically produced and processed products are marketed under the brand of EKODAR. Organically produced meat is also marketed under EKODAR (since 2009). We are the first in Slovenia to receive the Selected Quality certificate for organic meat.

We collaborate with over 100 public institutions – nurseries, schools, hospitals, and also sell products online.

We guarantee extraordinary quality. We boast two golden awards for organic apple juice with aronia won in 2017 and 2016 (Delicacies of Slovenian Farms within the AGRA fair). If we win this award next year, we will receive the champion award. This juice is made in collaboration with an organic farmer who supplies us with organically produced aronia.

In 2019 we applied for the irrigation measure. To this end, we have drilled a 70-metre bore, which will probably be deepened to 140 metres to reach sufficient quantities of water.

- Environmental / Climate action:

The Slovenian fruit industry has over 100 years of tradition of growing fruit for sale. Climate change and the awareness that we need to do more to mitigate it has brought about greater demand for organically produced food. Organic fruit production is also a contributing factor; its main goal is to produce top-quality fruit by using organic fertilisers and particularly permitted plant protection products in a controlled and economically acceptable manner, while preserving and in many cases, reestablishing biodiversity. These goals are also pursued by the Šalek Valley Agricultural Cooperative, so we decided to gradually redirect our current production (integrated) to organic by restoring orchards. The first step in the fruit industry was the project to set up an organic apple orchard, and to purchase and set up anti-hail nets. We have done that on 2 ha, while 1 ha will be done in the spring of 2019.

- Social:

The Šalek Valley Agricultural Cooperative has established a social enterprise named Zavod darilo narave which currently employs four disabled persons. We are the first cooperative in Slovenia to establish such an enterprise. Within this social enterprise, part of the organic apple produce is processed into organic products with higher added value.

- Networking value:

The Šalek Valley Agricultural Cooperative collaborates with over 700 farms and has almost 340 members. Its operations were expanded to the Upper Savinja Valley whose own cooperative went bankrupt. We have two shops in the area (Nazarje and Luče), where around 35 per cent of all turnover is made.

In 2018, we also introduced a benefits card which will stimulate our business relationships. A mechanism was introduced which enables members of the cooperative to buy at a lower price and provides a loyal mutual relationship.

For the products of our brands, particularly organic meat, to keep their reputation among consumers and for consumers to be absolutely sure that these products are ours and not fake, we implemented state-of-the-art traceability technology, i.e. the Origin Trail, supported by blockchain technology. This technology facilitates indelible traceability and indelible data. This is extremely important for us, as we are a cooperative and cannot allow any of our members, farmers, to become victims of unscrupulous actions by third parties.



Šalek Valley Agricultural Cooperative,

Metleče 7, 3325 Šoštanj


Contact person: Ivan Drev

Email:  ivan.drev@kz-saleskadolina.si

Phone: 00 386 03 898 49 70

Website: http://kz-saleskadolina.si/

Additional info sources, links: http://ekodar.si/https://www.facebook.com/slodar/

Presentation VIDEO


Photo copyright: ČZD Kmečki glas d. o. o.






Deli informacije na svojih socialnih omrežjih

We highlight an example of best practice which is relevant to the conservation of our environment, since this is an example when an organic dairy owned by a cooperative uses modern technology to help preserve rural areas, give jobs to locals, process local raw materials, and produce top innovative products from organically produced milk..


‟As an organic dairy, we are well aware that the environment must not be polluted with emissions and wanted to reduce the consumption of cleaning agents, water, time and energy, and provide maximum security for employees and the environment in which we live. The life and work of the Planika Dairy is extremely important for the Soča Valley, which is one of natural and tourist gems of Slovenia, since all farmers who live in this valley and have milking cows may bring all their milk to our dairy. This does not only ensure and preserve life in our villages but also ensures that the land is cultivated and the Soča Valley is beautiful and attractive for tourists. Our job at Planika is to purchase everything produced in this valley, process it well and sell it to our customers by means of new acquisitions.




The problem was the old central system for cleaning and washing production lines (all machines, plumbing, reservoirs, containers, etc.) with which only one line could be cleaned at a time, and we spent a lot of cleaning agents, water, energy and time on such cleaning. In addition, cleaning had to be regularly adjusted, depending on what was produced on a certain line. All these time-consuming processes increased costs and reduced production efficiency. The old system also posed a significant risk to our organic dairy.


With this computer-controlled project, we wanted to ensure good cleaning of all machines, plumbing, reservoirs and containers at the dairy. We also wanted to cut down the consumption of cleaning agents, water and working hours. The goal was to achieve better safety of our employees at the dairy and to better protect the environment.


Many outsourcers were included in this project besides us. At first, we had to provide suitable premises for the clean-in-place system (CIP), which was followed by the purchase of all the required equipment. Suppliers of cleaning agents were also part of the implementation of the CIP for us to optimise the cleaning process by determining exactly the consumption of cleaning agents, water and time on the basis of measurements. We had to train all our employees who use the system.


- Economic:

The quantity of milk processed annually is currently slightly less than 600,000 litres; a lot of it is exported to Italy. The quantity of processed milk grows by approximately 5 per cent annually.

Three production lines may be cleaned at the same time with different formulations, which significantly reduces time consumption and facilitates the processing of more milk. The Planika Dairy processes its products into traditional and increasingly innovative products, such as cheese with hemp tips, wild oregano and smoked Soča trout, which increases the added value of its brands and products on the market.

The company keeps developing new and innovative products, for which they have won:

A special award of the Nutrition Institute for innovation when stimulating local cultivation and processing of food products in 2018. The Planika Dairy purchases and processes only milk produced in local mountain areas. In this way, they significantly contribute to the cultivation of agricultural land, preservation of the industry and local employment. Special attention is dedicated to fresh pasteurised milk which is characterised by its full taste thanks to the manner of its production. This is affected by animal nutrition, the manner of breeding, high mountain areas of the purchased land where animals graze in the summer. Such milk is also an excellent raw material for various dairy products to which interesting local ingredients are added with a great deal of innovativeness.

An award of the Finance Newspaper for the best food products as selected by consumers in 2018. With its cheese named Dobra misel (good thought), the Planika Dairy continues its story of authentic dairy products from the Soča Valley. This cheese is based on the Kober cheese produced from milk from mountain farms in the Soča Valley. The heavily sweet but pleasant fragrance is provided by the wild oregano which is also called in Slovenian dobra misel (good thought) after which the cheese was named. WIld oregano is picked by a local herbalist from whom herbs are purchased by the dairy.

- Environmental / Climate action:

First and foremost, good cleaning of production lines, and significantly lower consumption of cleaning agents and water are guaranteed.

The Planika Dairy is actively included in the following measures of the RDP 2014–2020:

- Organic farming (M11): 102.76 ha of grassland
- Payments to areas facing natural or other specific constraints
– LFA (M13): 102.87 ha - Animal welfare (M14): 117 animals

In June 2018, the “Bogata” organic estate was opened in Bovec with approximately 130 milking cows, where they produce organic milk for their eco product line – milk, yoghurt with hemp oil and cheese. To add to tourist products and services of Bovec, and give particularly families with children a pleasant experience in nature among animals, they adapted the estate for visitors to see grazing cows and sheep, and learn about the history of dairy farming in the Soča Valley. They also learn about the difference between organic and conventional milk, and see how milk is processed.

The Planika Dairy is part of the organic production and processing scheme, for which it has obtained various certificates.

- Social:

By intentionally purchasing all milk in the Soča Valley, including from small mountain farms, they significantly contribute to employment and revenue on farms. Networking value: Can the project be considered as an example of good networking? Is it the result of the cooperation of different stakeholders? Please explain how. The Planika Dairy is a cooperative company owned by the Tolmin Agricultural Cooperative which has 201 members. The Planika Dairy purchases all milk from local farmers; the network includes 95 farmers who all come from the Soča Valley and the Idrija area.

When developing their products, they connect with other suppliers, such as a local herbalist who provides wild oregano for their innovative Dobra misel cheese, and with the Ileršič Organic Farm which supplies them hemp for their awarded innovative cheese with hemp tips and yoghurt with hemp oil.



Anka Miklavčič Lipušček,

Mlekarna Planika d.o.o.

Gregorčičeva 32

5222 Kobarid


Email:  anka.lipuscek@mlekarna-planika.si

Phone: 00386 41 693 141

Website: www.mlekarna-planika.si

Additional info sources, links: VIDEO "Products of Planika diary"

Presentation VIDEO: Video Planika diary


Photo copyright ČZD Kmečki glas d. o. o.




Deli informacije na svojih socialnih omrežjih