Ljubljana focuses on local food self-supply in February
The municipality, which had 826 farms as of 2010, organised a number of workshops aimed at presenting the production and sales of locally grown foods.
Maruška Markovčič of the municipality's environment office stressed for the STA that Ljubljana can build up its food self-supply to 50% in optimal conditions, which is also the figure for the entire country.
Rural areas encompass as much as two-thirds of the entire municipality, with farmlands representing 11,000 hectares and woods 10,650.
Most of the farms in the municipality had to specialise, with greens now dominating the production, followed by cattle breeding and dairy production.
To the east of Ljubljana, however, fruits and berries dominate the hills of Posavje. Apples, pears, cherries, plums and peaches as well as strawberries are also popular. Beekeeping is strong as Ljubljana beekeeping societies bring together some 300 beekeepers, which is as much as 3% of all Slovenian bee-keepers.
Markovčič moreover explained that farmers sell most of their product at home, while some travel to Ljubljana's farmers' markets to promote their trade.
The municipality moreover publishes two public tenders each year - in 2016 EUR 105,000 is earmarked for rural development projects and EUR 30,000 for backing local societies' projects in rural development and events in the countryside.
The city itself meanwhile devotes special attention to plots for vegetables. Currently there are 323 allotments in several boroughs, but Markovčič noted they planned to more than double their number this year and create plots in all the boroughs by 2020.
While they were meant as tackling social issues of the elderly in the past, the trend of vegetable growing is blossoming among young families. Ljubljana is following the trend and offers training and workshops to those who are interested.
Besides self-supply, socialising is another important factor among green-thumb enthusiasts, and most projects are based on the grassroots principle, Markovčič explained.
The municipality has not forgotten about children and the young, as two projects have been launched to promote interaction of young people with nature and food.