Land Sharing for Social Good

Land Sharing for Social Good: Integration and empowerment of socially and economically disadvantaged groups

Maribor, EsloveniaMaribor, Eslovenia
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Is it possible to solve crucial problems in society and environment together and at the same time providing services and products for wider society with simple approach of intergenerational sharing of agricultural land?
Yes it is! And we know how to do it!

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if solution for solving crucial problems in society and environment combined is intergenerational cooperation?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

high unemployment rate in Slovenia high costs of unemployed people for state social exclusion of unemployment people social exclusion of older retires with low pensions abandonment of agricultural land environmental problems with loss of landscape and biodiversity negative demographic trends (Silver tsunami) and no development opportunities in rural areas labour shortage in rural areas ineffective active labour programmes loss of knowledg

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Solution is intergenerational cooperative food growing for providing services and products for socially endangered people from rural areas and towns, municipalities, state and companies. We will activate long-term unemployed people; re-activate their work habits, skills and preserve traditional knowledge of old farmers about crafts and skills. Work-integration benefits: old farmers will improve economic and social situation companies in rural areas will get new workforce municipalities: reduce maintenance costs of land in their possession, reduce healthcare and social costs for old farmers, reverse negative demographic trends, provide development state: reduce administrative/health/social/financial costs of unemployment


NO-BLE IDEAS, Reinovator Challenge 2014, Ferfl, New ideas for socially responsible entrepreneurship; ClimateLaunchpad Boot Camp of Slovenia 2015, European Social Innovation Competition 2015, Startery Central & Eastern Europe 2015,
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

WISE – work integration social enterprise will be specialised for rural areas and offer training activities for unemployed persons in cooperation with other stakeholders. Unemployed persons will come to farm for cooperative food growing. Through this process participants will improve their economic situation through sharing of food, there will come to intergenerational transfer of knowledge about traditional agricultural practices, skills and crafts. Long-term unemployed people will activate themselves and help farmers by everyday needs and start to integrate in rural environment. We will contact companies and municipalities in regional area about their needs and demand for workforce. Aim is to send unemployed people to outside training

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In year 2014 pilot project has taken place at a farm and proved that this model is working - intergenerational cooperative food growing is possible. Idea has been recognized in Slovenia and abroad to have high social impact. During our training courses and education which we attended as a reward, we have improved business plan and strategy under the broader sustainability transition theory. During this time we have already contacted municipalities, presented our idea and hold conversation about their social, environmental and development problems they are facing. They have recognized the impact of our idea and Association of municipalities and towns is willing to implement it.. Response from state ministries and institutions is also positive, since we are applying to be one of the stata pilot projects to be later scaled for the country level.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Slovenian legislation and active employment policy has to be altered for successful work-integration of long-term unemployment people. Current activities are focused through our networks on lobbying government institutions to remove regulatory barriers, therefor we focus on regime change while simultaneously working on the niche level. The model will be replicated using a social franchise. Since all European regions are facing similar problems, we expect high rate of adoption especially in Silver Tsunami countries. In average we expect at least 3 franchises in every EU country.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Work-integration of long-term unemployed people through intergenerational cooperative food growing will be supported by the state programs. On the market we will provide good value-for-money service (WISE) for solving crucial problems and reducing costs for society. Our competitive advantages is insight in problems, experience with rural development. We are specialists in topics relevant for rural areas, have a broad local and international netw

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We have governmental and non-governmental employment agencies in Slovenia, NGO organisations and government institutions working on solving problems in areas of agriculture, social exclusion, nature protection, solving problems in rural areas. However, they are not specialized on WISE with such a solution, as we did and made a sustainable business plan. Simple solution of intergenerational cooperative food growing for alleviation of poverty among socially and economic endangered people will provide benefits for wider society and at the same time reduction of costs for solving these problems

Founding Story

Iztok Erjavec and Klemen Bizjak had a conversation in year 2013 about the current social situation. Iztok work on landscape ecology research and has mention Klemen that there are a lot older people living in the countryside that possesses agricultural land but cannot work on it due to their age. Older people possess knowledge of the sustainable multipurpose farming that took place in the past before industrial agriculture. They can tech unemployed people about organic agriculture through practical work on their land for cooperative growing of food. Klemen fund it very interesting so they made application for funding by the EEA Grants and Norway Grants. We are working on the idea since then.


What is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.) and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows? Hint: Inspire confidence that the project team has the right mix of roles and qualifications needed to achieve the project's intended impact. Andreja Bizjak, MSc, Public Relations, part-time employed Klemen Bizjak, MSc, univ. dipl. inž. gozd., Project Manager, part-time employed Organizing the workflow of the project and team occupations. Always in touch with innovations and current policies in the field of social enterprises and related fields. BSc Iztok Erjavec univ. dipl. biol., Chief Ideas Officer, full-time employed Always searching for new connections and views on the idea, that means always finding new solutions and potential impact of idea which we cannot write in our applications due to space limitations. BSc Martina Gopurn prof. kem. in proiz.-teh. vzg., Executive Project Manager, full-time employed Responsible that all work is done according to timetable and coordinate the interests between Klemen and Iztok. Team has education from natural sciences and this gave us insight in different approach for solving problem of high long-term unemployment on the basis of natural resources which are available in our area. Only on this basis is possible to work on sustainable solution for alleviation of poverty and providing people employment with solving other crucial problems in society today. From this insight we are developing economic model of social business and enterprise on the basis of cooperative growing of organic food. Team will need new members but this is depending if the project will be supported with found. We have problems to do all necessary work but somehow we manage it. We are taking paths of start-up entrepreneurs, but our idea has high social and environmental impact in Slovenia and abroad so we are determine to succeed to help all social and economic endangered people in the world.
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

At the CSO workshop: EBRD country strategy for Slovenia, civil society’s feedback about the operational environment

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Public Relations, part time-employed and working on the developing of project initiative

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

We are working for more than two years intensive on development of idea. We have been awarded for our social impact of idea. As a reward we have participated in social entrepreneur start-up courses, academies, trainings national and international.
With gathered experiences and our intensive work done so far we confident to achieve.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

Employment Service of Slovenia, Regional Service Maribor
Gregorčičeva ulica 37,
SI-2000 Maribor

Municipality of Maribor
Ulica heroja Staneta 1
SI-2000 Maribor

Municipality of Šentilj
Maistrova ulica 2
SI-2212 Šentilj v Slovenskih goricah

Municipality of Lovrenc na Pohorju
Spodnji trg 8
SI-2344 Lovrenc na Pohorju

Municipality of Sveti Jurij v Slovenskih goricah
Jurovski Dol 70b
SI-2223 Jurovski Dol

Biotechnical centre Naklo
Strahinj 99, SI-4202 Naklo

Agricultural Institute of Slovenia
Hacquetova ulica 17, SI-1000 Ljubljana

Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Pivola 10, SI-2311 Hoče

Agriculture and Forestry Institute Maribor - Agriculture and Forestry Chamber of Slovenia
Vinarska ulica 14, SI-2000 Maribor

Slovenian Forestry Institute
Večna pot 2, SI-1000 Ljubljana