As part of the University of Worcester’s lunchtime sustainability talks, Natalija Speh, visiting academic from Slovenia talks about her recent research in Šalek Valley.
Food production, organic farms, renewable energy
We were interested in the economic perspective of farms, we wanted to know their attitude to energy supply as a supplementary farm activity or if they might have experienced renewable energy sources.
The purpose of this research is to examine the local offer of the Šalek Valley rural area and to determine what is the potential for development promotion of organic farming in the area which is traditionally more known as the electricity producer and industry supplier. The predominant agricultural activity is livestock and there is almost no market-oriented horticulture.
1218 farm owners were invited to participate and the research was presented orally to 370 farmers.
There were farms included in the study from three neighbor municipalities: Velenje, Šoštanj and Šmartno by Paka. Only 40 surveys were returned and filled in, 9 of these were declared as organic farms and 4 as farms in conversion. The average age of the surveyed farm owners was over 50 years and was not significantly different regarding the farms’ orientation. 63% of family farms have already introduced the successor, less the organic agricultural holdings. Since also organic oriented farms showed the livestock as the predominant agricultural activity, we assumed a good perspective for the renewable (biomass) energy production, eg. co-generation of electricity and heat.
With these input data, we want to check: a) agricultural holdings, especially those oriented organic, that are expected to have the prominent role in the future food supply, b) how the owners plan the on-farm activities, and c) the current energy supply and openness of farmers to use other energy sources.
Food production, organic farms, renewable energy, rural landscape, sustainable farming, Šalek Valley