Coordinating partner is Agroväst, an organisation to support the development of rural entrepreneurs in the region of Västra Götaland. We have two co-beneficiaries. The first is Lokalproducerat I Väst (Locally Produced in West, LPIV), promoting local food production, processing and trading. The second is Sötåsen vocational school, one of seven natural resource schools governed by the regional authority of Västra Götaland.
Step 1: Mapping
In Västra Götaland already a fairly clear balance between regional food demand and supply is achieved. There is a highly developed demand for local and food at grocery stores, restaurants, delis and internet sales. Our conclusion is that demand and supply of products match very well. The mismatch concerns logistics, volumes and sales. Activities in this step will therefore concentrate on mapping the demand from the hospitals in the region, which can be served through internal trade with the regional natural resource schools and competence centres. We will also summarise our previous mapping activities to be offered as a tool to our partners.
Step 2: Smart specialisation strategies
To better meet the large scale demand and help producers to scale up from local to regional, we want to try to tailor our rural food supply chain and form a better proposition from the suppliers. To that end, we will focus on three main activities:
1. Development of a distribution network for effective logistics and joint marketing. Responsible co-beneficiary is LPIV. A major challenge in Swedish rural areas is transport and logistics. We will develop a model to test a distribution network of hubs for regional produces throughout Västra Götaland. The objective is a cost-effective distribution network of about 15 hubs or access points covering the region. Currently there are already six “start-up-hubs”, which should be evolved towards a self-sustaining system with economically viable and independently working hubs.
2. Focus groups for innovative producers. Responsible co-beneficiary: Agroväst. Quite a number of producers are willing to invest money and time to develop a profitable smart specialisation on the regional market. They are important role models for others to follow and often they are already highly qualified. They don’t need main stream counselling as is usually available, but tailored and high profile advice leading them to take the next step. We want to develop a concept for such expert meetings with focus groups, create new networks and give easy access to experts with the latest knowledge within the target group area of business. We will organise meetings with business developers, experts and researchers for discussions and knowledge sharing.
3. Internal trade at natural resource school – a sustainable food and waste chain. Responsible co-beneficiary: Sötåsen natural resource school. The school and education centre for lifelong learners will develop, host and expose a model for learning in sustainable food production and short food chains supportive to rural development, interaction between rural and urban area and sustainable food production. The education-centre will become a learning environment for work methods in regional ecologically produced food, short food chains and procurement with focus on sustainable short food chains. At dat, the school runs a full scale organic dairy, meat production and biogas plant.The pilot will develop this further by establishing sales to hospitals in the area as a testing environment and a living lab of a sustainable short food chain.
Step 3: Urban Intentions
Our earlier mapping and experience shows a strong demand from the urban consumers in West Sweden. The positive attitude towards regional food has increased during the last ten years, partly due to a common trend in Sweden considering regional food as healthy, sound and trendy, partly due to consistent work with branding Västra Götaland as a food region (“Taste of West Sweden”). The county government is coaching municipalities and small-scale food producers to step from “paper strategy” regarding public procurement to real implementation and to get more local food in public kitchens. This activity is not a part of this projects budget, but will still be a part of our REFRAME-pilot. Activities budgeted in this project are focussed to get commitment from the hospitals in the region, lobbying towards grocery stores and restaurants in the metro area and sharing experiences and working models with the other REFRAME -pilots.
Step 4: Cooperation and market structure
Small producers can create opportunities for more trade and business through smart collaboration and interaction with other producers, and through closer business to business cooperation with consumers. Sales is one of the main areas that LPIV supports SMEs in. The difficulties encountered have mainly been in logistics and up scaling to achieve profitability in the sales organisation. As part of the logistics (presented under step 2) our pilot will develop joint marketing of the hub system. The companies engaged in joint marketing activities will strengthen their interaction to each other and their attractiveness to customers. Marketing activities includes joint marketing materials, brochures or common activities like speed - tasting or participation in trade fairs or similar.
Step 5: Evaluation and improvements
We will closely monitor how everything is working. We will register bugs and problems and try to settle them along the way.