Open Farm Network in Zala-valley

Hongria
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Open-farms-in-Zala-Thermal-Valley

Short presentation

The Open Farm Network of Zala-valley is a cooperation of the farmers, local product makers and agritouristic service providers in a small region.

Goals

Build up a local network with local stakeholders to attract visitors from nearby tourist attractions.

Contexte (territory issues, targeted audience)

Located in the western part of Hungary. This region is agricultural area, underprivileged in social and economic aspect with high rate of unemployment.

Actions implemented

The members of the collaboration organize events on their farm throughout the year. Events for example: product sales on the farm; food tasting; craft workshop; farm petting zoo; guided workshop visit etc. These events are announced in advance on the common website (http://nyitottportak.hu/) and on an Android Mobile App. With the help of the online interface, visitors are constantly informed about the events, so they can visit the open farms all year round. Visitors are buying local products directly from the farm, attend the event and take advantage of other farm services.

The launch of the network was preceded by a comprehensive regional food system research and a number of workshops.

The following was written about this rural development process:
Good Practices in short food chain (SKIN H2020 project) – Nyitott Portak, Network of local producers – http://www.shortfoodchain.eu/good-practices/
Repository post (BOND H2020 project) – Open farms in Zala Thermal Valley – https://www.bondproject.eu/open-farms-in-zala-thermal-valley/


At the start of 2018, the network had 16 qualified members. In the spring of 2020, another 8 farms joined the cooperation. To the best of our knowledge, another 6 new members are expected from the region within a year.

Funding and resources

European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development 250 000 €
Global cost (in Euros) :  €

Human resources and partners

When a farmer joins the network, he or she becomes eligible for support to develop his or her farm to meet the network’s qualification requirements. This support is provided by the local LEADER fund, the Local Development Strategy. Using a grant of up to € 14,700, farms can develop, for example, their hospitality infrastructure or the buildings needed for direct sales from the farm.
With the help of the LEADER fund, network cooperation projects are also implemented. For example, in July 2019, a large-scale marketing campaign was held in connection with the "Open Farm Night" event organized by the network.

Other information

Project's start year : 2018

Points of vigilance, difficulties to pass through, success factors

This network is good for farmers as it makes them better known in the area and helps them sell their products and services. The network is useful for residents and tourists visiting the area, as they can get up-to-date, easily accessible information about what farms are operating in the area and what they offer.

The establishment of the network was facilitated by the local LEADER action group (Zala Termálvölgye Egyesület) and to this day it helps the operation and development of the network with coordination.

What are the main lessons?

1. It is important to use real existing results (social networks, trust, existing enterprises) to base your new SFSC on.
2. It is important to involve strong local actors, gate keepers, opinion leaders, to create empowerment and ownership.
3. It is important to have strong management, facilitation with (at least at the beginning) external/additional funding and make sure that this management is continuously available and financed for a longer period of time (some years at least)
4. It is important to close the communication gap between local actors and IT experts and ensure real understanding when designing internet platforms, apps. etc.

Structure

Zala Termálvölgye Egyesület (LEADER Local Action Group) (Non profit organization )
Batthyány Lajos út 13.
8790 Zalaszentgrót
+3683361305 info@zalatermalvolgye.hu
Contact : Tibor Szabó, +3683361305, info@zalatermalvolgye.hu
http://zalatermalvolgye.hu/

Supported by LEADER

Zala Termálvölgye Egyesület (LEADER Local Action Group)