Land Sharing for food and social good

Land Sharing for food and social good: Integration and empowerment of disadvantaged groups for local food production

Maribor, SloveniaMaribor, Slovenia
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Future eco-social project that unites people with a desire for organic locally grown food for improvement of their social and economic situation. Connects elderly owners of uncultivated agricultural land and unemployed people, those who have land with those who need land for growing food.

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

What if cooperative local organic food production could aid in the improvement of intergenerational social good?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Most important problem is the social exclusion of people due to their financial income and differences in these problems between countryside and towns. Older people in the countryside possess agricultural land, due to their inability to work, the land is not cultivated. Unemployed people in towns possess no arable land, but they are willing to work to improve their social status. This situation leads to low self-sufficiency with local food.

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

The solution of the pilot project is to connect unemployed people from cities and rural areas for the growth of local organic food and to increase local self-sufficiency. This will be achieved by connecting participants in the mixed intergenerational cooperative and the reintroduction of traditional forms of land cultivation. We will empower unemployed people for local production of organic food on derelict land or overgrown areas. Elderly owners of agricultural land will establish new social contacts, and transfer their knowledge about traditional farming practices to younger generations. With the establishment of an social co-operative we will enable new business opportunities in rural areas and improve the social status of participants.
Impact: How does it Work

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

Socially disadvantaged groups in the towns and rural areas will be directly jointed with the cooperative work for food production. We will use new organizational forms for the intergenerational cooperative work with the direct transfer of traditional knowledge of organic farming from older generations to younger ones through working on uncultivated land with owners. Once we establish enough connections between participants, we will establish, together with them, a social co-operative, where participants will have their own decision about their workflow and the further development of partnerships. The social co-operative will enable them an opportunity for employment, supply route to customers and implementation of future ideas.

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

We are presenting the idea to NGO groups and government institutions in Slovenia and abroad. They have all shown a lot of interest for its implementation. We have established a network of people and organizations that are willing to cooperate in the implementation of the idea. An application of the project idea was send to the competition for funding by the EEA Grants and Norway Grants. We have received a letter of intent from the Employment Service of Slovenia. Also the Agricultural and Forestry Institute in Maribor has participated as partner in the application. We already gained one farm in the outskirts of a city to work on and are implementing our working ideas on this farm to further promote our idea on the basis of practical work with the results we will gain. We expect that a raise of local food self-sufficiency by 1% helps to generate approximately 1,000 new workplaces.

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

Cooperatives have a long tradition in Slovenia, till now they had close economic and social functions, which we want to restore for today's needs. Goal is to establish a social co-operative to help people to connect and empower them to make their own decisions for the improvement of their economic and social situation. Strategies are to promote the idea through work on the farm, establish a social co-operative and present our results in Slovenia and abroad with IT services, so that potential participants have a clear insight of our work and easier decide if they wish to join/implement our idea

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

With the establishment of social co-operative we will introduce an eco-social brand for greater visibility of social co-operation on the market, extend the scope of activities that can be implemented in rural areas: handcrafts, tourism, local agricultural products and services. This will provide other sources of revenue, which will strengthen the development of the cooperative and encourage further development activities in rural areas.

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

Only a community of Eco Urban gardening exists, which covers the city needs. Our project idea covers the rural outskirts of the city, so we do not have any direct competition that is trying to solve the extensive problem. There is no market similar to the eco-social inititative addressing consumers: buying of local organic food is directly contributing to the solution of social, ecological and regional problems and at the same time supporting the wider local economy. Introduction of the eco-social brand will increase the confidence, between owners, producers and consumers in urban areas.

Founding Story

Iztok Erjavec and Klemen Bizjak, co-founders of Intercer, had a conversation in year 2013 about the worsening of social situation in Europe. Iztok, who works on landscape ecology research for master study has mentioned that there are many older people living in the countryside that possesses agricultural land and knowledge of the sustainable multipurpose farming that took place in the past, but cannot work on land due to their age and suggested that they should be joining forces with unemployed people in towns to grow food. They can teach unemployed people about organic agriculture through practical work on their land and share harvest. Klemen supported the idea and saw a challenge to create jobs in terms of doing well by doing good.


Institute Intercer team composition: Assistant manager-MSc,univ. dipl. inž. gozd. Klemen Bizjak, part-time; full-time Chief Ideas Officer-univ. dipl. biol. Iztok Erjavec; Chief Creative Officer-univ. dipl. upr. org. Andrej Firm; Project manager-Martina Gopurn Bsc; . Team is compatible by Belbin team role standards. Supporting partners: Styrian Technology Park, Employment Service of Slovenia
About You
Institute Intercer
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Project
Organization Name

Institute Intercer

How long has your organization been operating?

Organization Country

, Maribor

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Maribor

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Friends and family, Foundations, NGOs, Regional government, Other.


Improving Nutrition, Sustainable Sourcing, Fairness in the Workplace, Opportunities for Women, Inclusive Business.

Audience: Who have you identified as your customer/recipient groups and do these groups value your solution for different reasons? How do you engage different customer/recipient groups to deliver your solution?

People with a desire for organic locally grown food for improvement of their social and economic situation. Elderly owners of uncultivated agricultural land and unemployed people, those who have land with those who need land for growing food. With the direct social approach we will connect socially disadvantaged groups in the towns and rural areas will be directly jointed with the cooperative work for food production. We will use new organizational forms.

Scaling the solution: How would the prize money and publicity help you to achieve your objectives over the next two years?

With the help of the prize money we will be able to continue the pilot project towards establishment intergenrational social cooperative. Next year we will establish connection on the basis we achived in pilot project on results we gained this year. Already connected people, with no knowledge and no land will gain the knowledge of traditonal multifunctional organic farming and food growing under the guidence of eldery farm owners and under supervision & help of the Intercer team.When this connection will be producing supplements of food we will establish a cooperative with a eco-social mark for entering the food market.This will enable people an opportunity for employment, direct supply route to customers and implementation of future ideas.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered

I am part of the Inter(trans)disciplinary laboratory (GT22 - that connects art and sport and life, and through organic growth and analysis establishes educational, research and productional platform in Maribor, Slovenia.

Are you are eligible to attend the Accelerator event in Cambridge and subsequent events in London, UK in January, 2015?


Will you require a visa to enter the UK?

Are you are a current Unilever employee?