Ljubljana is the capital of the Republic of Slovenia, administratively a part of the Municipality of Ljubljana (MOL) and in broader terms, a part of the Ljubljana metropolitan region (LMR) which comprises the area of whole Slovenia. MOL, covering an area of 275 km2, encompasses 1.36% of Slovenian territory (20,273 km2) and has 286,994 inhabitants (2013), who make up for 13.9% of population of Slovenia (2,060,663). The dense core of Ljubljana is integrating with other municipalities into Ljubljana Urban Region (LUR) encompassing 26 municipalities with a total of over 500,000 residents or 25% of all population of Slovenia. The LUR belongs to the most densely populated area in Slovenia. LUR’s boundaries correspond to the boundaries of central Slovenian statistical region, representing 12.6% (2,555 km2) of total Slovenian territory. MOL has the highest density of population in Slovenia, is economically the best developed and has the highest index of the standard of living. MOL plays a key role in the entire area of LUR and LMR, connecting the metropolitan region into an integral whole with its administrative and economic power, traffic ways and daily migration of labour.
Farming in the case study region is partly affected by less-favoured conditions in hilly parts of the region, and in the area of the Ljubljana moor. The rest of the area is lowland with alluvial soils and good production conditions, but under strong pressure of other economically stronger and favoured economic activities. On the other side have farmers in the case study area favourable marketing and development opportunities due to the biggest consumption market for their products. For Slovenian circumstances is the case study region the region with the below average share of employment in agriculture (0.6 %). In 2010 the Slovenian agricultural census counted over 8,000 farms operating on 65,000 ha of agricultural land.
The farms in the area are above national average specialised and intensive in their production. Also the share of the farms, which sell their products directly on the market, is above average, especially plant producing oriented farms are selling their products predominately directly on the market. The predominating production type are cattle breeders and dairy farmers (42 %) followed by specialized vegetable and fruit producers. On the other side the number of traditional farms without a distinctive production orientation is declining.
Within the city boundaries only few active farms are situated and majority of them is struggling with the problem of spatial limitations considering their development and growth. Another important aspect of city farming, which still exists in Ljubljana is small gardening, where especially the Krakovo gardens situated in the very city centre, having a long and interesting past, make a coherent part of urban agriculture, particularly as their traditional land use has been protected as cultural heritage. Small gardens were traditionally cultivated for covering the vegetable demand of families living in the city. There is an estimation that the small gardens are covering an area of 130 ha with more thousands units (Jamnik et al, 2009), what is an area equivalent to the half of the Ljubljana city centre. The development of the small gardens were in the past not regulated, so the new cultivated areas emerged even on the grounds not suitable for agricultural productions (brown fields, polluted soils, etc.).
The farms in the case study area are beneficiaries to all CAP measures, with the exception of LEADER measures for the settlements with more than 10.000 inhabitants (Ljubljana, Vrhnika, Domžele and Kamnik). The mayor actors considering the urban and peri-urban farming in the case study area are: the Ljubljana city administration, Regional development agency, Ljubljana agricultural institute with its advisory service, local agricultural products traders.
The future development plans anticipate that the farming land will be cultivated by using hotbed technology; glasshouse production units will supply the city with fresh vegetables and fruits. On the southern marshland part of the city a set of dams will be built to protect the city from threatening catastrophic floods. There, in the regional landscape park the farmers will cultivate the land and protect various habitats, of endangered animal and plant species especially in wetland. The residents in the landscape park will offer alternative forms of eco-tourism.
The farms in the suburban areas will continue with their transformation into eco- farms, biological cultivation and protection of the natural landscape. The adopted strategy for development of country side and renewal of villages will stimulate various forms of symbiosis between the city and rural areas in the city region. An exemplary farm will play an important role in promoting ecological awareness.
Historically, food chains in Slovenia, as well as in Ljubljana ware short. Local producers use to be successfully organised in cooperatives to support local market. In the last two decades cooperatives declined mostly, but there is a wish to establish new innovative short food supply chains which will work on a local level.
Contact: Marina Pintar (marina.pintar (at) bf.uni-lj.si), Matjaž Glavan (matjaz.glavan (at) bf.uni-lj.si)
Jamnik B., Smrekar A., Vršaj B.. 2009. Vrti?karstvo v Ljubljani; Založba ZRC, 2009 (Ljubljana : Bori). – 224 p.