Land sharing for food and social good

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Land sharing for food and social good: Integration and empowerment of disadvantaged groups for local food production

Maribor, SloveniaMaribor, Slovenia
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Future eco-social project that unites people with a desire for organic locally grown food for improvement of their social and economic situation. We are connecting elderly owners of uncultivated agricultural land with unemployed people, those who have land with those who need land for growing food.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if cooperative local organic food production could enable cooperation between old and young generations for the improvement of social good?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Main problem is the social exclusion of people due to their low financial income and differences in these problems between countryside and towns. Older people in the countryside possess agricultural land, but due to their inability to work the land is not cultivated. Unemployed people in towns possess no arable land, but they are willing to work to improve their social status. This situation leads to low self-sufficiency with local food.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The solution of the pilot project is to connect unemployed people from cities and rural areas for the growth of local organic food to increase local self-sufficiency. This will be achieved by connecting participants in the mixed intergenerational cooperative and by the reintroduction of traditional forms of land cultivation. We will empower unemployed people for local production of organic food on derelict land or overgrown areas. Elderly owners of agricultural land will establish new social contacts, and transfer their knowledge about traditional farming practices to younger generations. With the establishment of an social co-operative we will enable new business opportunities in rural areas and improve the social status of participants.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Socially disadvantaged groups in the towns and rural areas will be directly jointed with the cooperative work for food production. We will use new organizational forms for the intergenerational cooperative work with the direct transfer of traditional knowledge of organic farming from older generations to younger ones through working on uncultivated land with owners. Once we establish enough connections between participants, we will establish, together with them, a social co-operative, where participants will have their own decision about their workflow and the further development of partnerships. The social co-operative will enable them an opportunity for employment, supply route to customers and implementation of future ideas.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We are presenting the idea to NGO groups and government institutions in Slovenia and abroad. They have all shown a lot of interest for its implementation. We have established a network of people and organizations that are willing to cooperate in the implementation of the idea. An application of the project idea was send to the competition for funding by the EEA Grants and Norway Grants. We have received a letter of intent from the Employment Service of Slovenia. Also the Agricultural and Forestry Institute in Maribor has participated as partner in the application. We already gained one farm in the outskirts of a city to work on and are implementing our working ideas on this farm to further promote our idea on the basis of practical work with the results we will gain. We expect that a raise of local food self-sufficiency by 1% helps to generate approximately 1,000 new workplaces.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Cooperatives have a long tradition in Slovenia, till now they had close economic and social functions, which we want to restore for today's needs. Goal is to establish a social co-operative to help people to connect and empower them to make their own decisions for the improvement of their economic and social situation. Strategies are to promote the idea through work on the farm, establish a social co-operative and present our results in Slovenia and abroad with IT services, so that potential participants have a clear insight of our work and easier decide if they wish to join/implement our idea

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

With the establishment of social co-operative we will introduce an eco-social brand for greater visibility of social co-operation on the market, extend the scope of activities that can be implemented in rural areas: handcrafts, tourism, local agricultural products and services. This will provide other sources of revenue, which will strengthen the development of the cooperative and encourage further development activities in rural areas.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Only a community of Eco Urban gardening exists, which covers the city needs. Our project idea covers the rural outskirts of the city, so we do not have any direct competition that is trying to solve this problem. There is no market similar to the eco-social deal addressing consumers: buying of local organic food is directly contributing to the solution of social, ecological and regional problems and at the same time supporting the wider local economy. Introduction of the eco-social brand will increase the confidence between owners, producers and consumers in urban areas.

Founding Story

Iztok Erjavec and Klemen Bizjak, co-founders of Intercer, had a conversation in year 2013 about the worsening of social situation in Europe. Iztok, who works on landscape ecology research for master study has mentioned that there are many older people living in the countryside that possesses agricultural land and knowledge of the sustainable multipurpose farming that took place in the past, but cannot work on land due to their age and suggested that they should be joining forces with unemployed people in towns to grow food. They can teach unemployed people about organic agriculture through practical work on their land and share harvest. Klemen supported the idea and saw a challenge to create jobs in terms of doing well by doing good.


Institute Intercer team composition: Assistant manager-MSc,univ. dipl. inž. gozd. Klemen Bizjak, part-time; full-time Chief Ideas Officer-univ. dipl. biol. Iztok Erjavec; Chief Creative Officer-univ. dipl. upr. org. Andrej Firm; Project Organizer-Martina Gopurn Bsc; . Team is compatible by Belbin team role standards. Supporting partners: Styrian Technology Park, Employment Service of Slovenia