Quality of living in the countryside
The countryside areas, which are mainly characterised by agricultural and forest surfaces, represent the 78.6% of the entire surface of the City of Ljubljana: in a total area of 275km2, there is 109km2 of agricultural land and 107km2 of forested areas.
The agricultural hinterland supplies the capital with quality, locally produced food, which is certainly unique and must be preserved as something special.
The agricultural surfaces are getting redefined due to significant changes in the environment and society.
The three strategic objectives of rural development
Today, we are implementing the strategy of the Rural Development Programme of the City of Ljubljana for the period between 2014 and 2020.
Three strategic objectives were set within the strategy:
• to ensure a high-quality agricultural and forestry produce from the preserved environment with the purpose of the self-sufficiency of Ljubljana by improving the supply of quality food to citizens, through a close-to-nature management of forests and their protection, preservation and development of functional capacities of farms,
• to increase the number of diverse activities in rural areas with a continuous development of supplementary activities on farms, through raising awareness and creating a comprehensive approach to the marketing of rural goods,
• to ensure the development of the social capital and maintain the identity of the countryside by promoting the operation of various stakeholders and maintaining as well as developing the existing internal options of the rural areas of Ljubljana.
Ljubljana’s countryside offers the option of meeting one’s needs in a beautiful surrounding and a well preserved environment with its recognisable identity to everyone through the development of agriculture, forestry and other economic activities. Photo: Archive of the City of Ljubjana
Apple week in Ljubljana
In the eastern part of the City of Ljubljana, at the foot of the Posavje Hills below Janče, there are areas that are highly suitable for fruit production. Therefore, we have arranged 28 hectares of modern orchards in the area, where apple production is predominant. Every year within the Apple Week in Ljubljana, we introduce apple dishes recorded in cooperation with ethnologist Dr. Janez Bogataj in cooperation with the restaurant Druga violina, local apple growers and expert societies.
During the Apple Week, apple dishes are offered in restaurants that participate in the Taste Ljubljana programme. Photo: Archive of the City of Ljubjana
Ljubljana countryside festival
Ljubljana can proudly say that as many as two thirds of our city are covered by the so-called green belt with 826 farms, which preserve the cultural landscape and supply the entire city with locally produced vegetables and fruit. At the traditional Ljubljana Countryside Festival, we introduce various activities to the citizens as well as promote them.
Janče rural learning point
We finalised the Janče rural educational trail, which has become a gathering point and a spot for sharing knowledge. With the upgrade of the subsidiary elementary school in Janče, the residents of the area below Janče now have room for various workshops, rehearsals and socialising.
Shortening the distance between the farmer and the consumer
The Green Supply Chains project encourages an organic and integrated production and processing of domestic and domesticated species as well as their seasonal consumption. In cooperation with district authorities Črnuče, Posavje, Polje, Sostro, Golovec, Moste, Rudnik, Šentvid, and Šmarna gora, we established market spaces for selling local agricultural products in 2015.
In the City of Ljubljana, we keep increasing the share of locally produced food in meals provided to children by educational institutions in the area. Themed events are organised with the help of famous chefs and caterers for the cooks in kindergartens and schools as well as everyone responsible for ordering food. Local food producers also actively participate by contributing the ingredients for the dishes prepared at the workshops.
Ljubljana Basket features locally grown agricultural crops and produce that are produced or processed in the City of Ljubljana or crops that are produced according to the principles of integrated and organic farming. We are also designing a catalogue of all providers whose crops and produce meet the criteria for the inclusion in the Ljubljana Basket system and preparing a gift range featuring products from Ljubljana’s countryside.
This way, we reduce the consumption of fertilizers and plant protection agents. By promoting direct sales at the farms and farmers markets in district authorities, we shorten the journey from the field to the consumer.
Monitoring soil fertility and content of hazardous substances in the soil in water protection areas
In water protection areas of the City of Ljubljana and in the vicinity of the water station Brest, we systematically monitor the quality of the agricultural soil. No presence of active substances prohibited in water protection areas has been found in soil samples. Furthermore, also the content of nutrients in the soil, especially in case of fertilisation in greenhouses, is improving. Through recommendations regarding the fertilisation and the use of plant-protection products, we encourage farmers to pursue an environmentally friendly operation and thereby reduce the negative impact of agriculture on the quality of drinking water sources.