Intensive research is underway in Work package 2 (Foresight and trend analysis), which is being conducted at the level of three types of rural areas and in ten European countries, including Slovenia. Slovenia is an example of “rural area close to the city” and our case study is the Local Action Group (LAG) Srce Slovenije, located in the central part of Slovenia and territorially defined by six municipalities – Dol pri Ljubljani, Kamnik, Litija, Lukovica, Moravče and Šmartno pri Litija. The Slovenian partner in the FLIARA project consortium is the University of Ljubljana (Faculty of Arts) and its researchers from the Department of Geography and the Department of Psychology.
On April 20, 2023 we were hosted by one of the LAG’s smaller municipalities (Dol pri Ljubljani), which is due to its size closely connected and is in the last years known for its successful LAG projects. The workshop was conducted just 15 km from the capital city Ljubljana, in municipality, where agricultural and non-agricultural activities meet, thus offering potential for the development of challenges and problems between different activities and groups of inhabitants.
The workshop was divided into two parts. In the first part, local community, including mayor and Association of rural women, welcomed us with interactive presentation of their municipality. In the second part, participants were introduced to the content and objectives of the FLIARA project, followed by active work in three smaller groups. 11 different participants, experts on local and regional conditions, actively participated: local representatives and policy makers, non-governmental organisations, farmers and participants representing the regional (e.g. LEADER) or national level (e.g. The Slovenian Rural Development Network, Slovenian Rural Youth Association). We identified problems/challenges in LAG Srce Slovenije – there were over 20 in total (e.g. passivity, disconnectedness, conflicts of interest in land use, lack of farmers, rapid growth of residential settlements, etc.). Participants addressed three selected problems, identified the steps that should be taken to solve them, and based on this, outlined visions for the future LAG Srce Slovenije. For each vision we defined 10 elements representing the characteristics of the identified rural vision. The final result of our first workshop is 11 visions.
With FLIARA project, new topic and approaches were brought to small, but very active and vital rural community. They welcomed it with open arms and it emphasises how important and stimulating are the activities of Horizon projects also for small localities.
Researchers from UL