Using the advantages on digitalization, the platform Meet The Local Producer was developed in Slovenia. The aim of this platform is to connect local farm holders and food producers to their consumers. It helps local producers to present themselves and their products to the local market in a new, innovative way.
The platform, which emphasizes sustainability, builds its uniqueness on the awareness of the importance and role of local producers. With the so-called "storytelling" it shows a new way of representation and communication, bringing producers closer to the people using their products. It promotes the process of making the products, in this way promoting the importance of the people behind it and not only the end products.
Another benefit of this platform is boosting of the local tourism. This comes as a result from consumer’s knowledge of products origin, which makes them more likely to visit the place of production. Using the advantages from the digital technology, it also presents a new way of building and increasing the digital skills and competences of people in these areas.
This platform also represents a new business model on local level, which support sustainable local rural economy. In overall, this platform supports local food supply chains with a new way for economic and social sustainability, showing the importance of local producers.
The functioning of this platform is done working directly with the local influencers, which we call them local heroes. In this way, through these people, local communities are encouraged to suggest new ideas and solutions. This means that the platform is based on the local needs and adapted to serve local people. It enhances rural digital innovation ecosystems via digital services. It promotes sustainable culture in which ICT plays an integral part and it points out the “personal touch” by focusing on local farm holders and producers. This is an example of a good practice that shows that it is not about the technology, it is about people and technology is only a media that will improve rural people’s lives.
Key conditions for success
Access to the internet; Motivated locals (local heroes), who act as coordinators on the local level and are the glue between the community and other stakeholders.
Key steps for activity implementation
Identify local coordinators - local heroes; Identify what kind of connectivity is available in the village; Identify and prioritize spots in the village that need internet access; Identify local IT integrators; Install Wi-Fi access points; Identify digital services that will have high social, economic and environmental impact for the residents; Look for funding; Design and develop digital products and services; Measure impacts.
Except of COVID-related issues (unable to meet with the stakeholders), there were no major issues encountered. On the other side, COVID encouraged new business models enabled by digital technologies, in our case virtual wine tasting. Another lesson learned was - when you present good project, it is easy to encourage big companies invest in your project, in our case IoT in the vineyards.
HSBN access, WiFi access points, local IT integrators, local coordinators.
Would you like to know more?
Contact the project authors for more information about project implementation, resources, planning and impact.
University of Ljubljana, Faculty of electrical engineering
Emilija Stojmenova Duh