A new initiative, created with care for the healthy nutrition of the youngest, was recently launched in a small municipality in Bulgaria. This is the first municipal organic farm in Bulgaria, located in the city of Troyan. Its main goal is to provide healthy food to local children, but it will also reduce the cost of organic food and allow the price to remain affordable for young families. The farm was created as part of the BioCanteens Transfer Network, funded by the EU URBACT Programme which aims to ensure the distribution of sustainable school meals in EU cities. The integrated local agri-food approach applied by the network focuses on the transfer of good practices in the field of collective school catering across Europe. The initiative is also in line with the long-term strategy of Troyan municipality to stimulate the local economy focusing on agriculture, including organic farming, traditional local foods and supporting young farmers.
In Troyan, the initiative was replicated through a collaboration among local actors with complementary roles. The local authorities allocated municipal land, a local investor donated a prefabricated building, which houses two refrigeration rooms (for fruits and vegetables), a preparation room and a storage room, and an agronomist from the Research Institute for Mountain Livestock and Agriculture takes care of the crops. The farm already has its own vegetable and fruit production. The fresh produce goes directly to the local Baby-Food Kitchen and the newly created Central Kitchen (which provides meals for kindergarteners), thus raising nutrition standards and providing environmentally-friendly nourishment in the canteen’s menu. It is expected that the farm will receive some beehives to ensure organic honey for the canteen’s menu as well.
For the Cocoreado project, this initiative is an exciting example for replication of good practices in different contexts. It shows that in contexts where local actors lack experience, but have potential to recognize certain problems, the transfer of knowledge from abroad could be a successful innovative solution.
Svetla Stoeva – IPS-BAS