This year, 44 finalists were running for the first places in seven categories. Ljubljana has received the highest recognition in the Best of Cities category, which is already the fifth award Ljubljana has received by the Green Destinations organisation.
The jury observed the three criteria in selecting Ljubljana: The Green Destinations sustainable assessment of Ljubljana (their Green Destinations Gold Award), the implementation of the Locally Grown Food Exchange (Borza lokalnih živil) innovative project and the options of implementing such practice in other locations.
Petra Stušek, M.S.C., the Managing Director at Ljubljana Tourism, accepted the award with these words: “The basic drive behind the organisation of such type of locally grown food exchange is the aim of the organisers themselves to encourage the local food self-supply. The short supply chains have positive effects on several perspectives of the sustainable development of the city and its wider region in the field of the economy; it influences the environment of social relationships, the direction followed by the City of Ljubljana for more than a decade. At Ljubljana Tourism we are introducing environment and society friendly components in our products, services and projects because we are aware of the ever-increasing recognition of the concept of sustainable tourism development and of the inquiries made the tourists themselves on sustainable products. The locally grown ingredients represent a trend in contemporary cuisine, which is increasingly becoming an important element of the Ljubljana’s tourist offer, therefore we intend to continue with the Exchange and encourage more and more suppliers and consumers to join us.”
The Locally Grown Food Exchange (Borza lokalnih živil) was organised twice in 2018 – in February and November. The food producers from Ljubljana and the Central Slovenia region as well as potential buyers from the public and private sector gathered in one location, following the initiative by the Ljubljana Tourism, the City of Ljubljana Section for Rural Development, the Regional Development Agency of the Ljubljana Urban Region (RRA LUR), the Agriculture and Forestry Institute (KGZ Ljubljana) and in collaboration with the EKOmeter Institute.
It is the continuation of the Green Supply Chains ongoing project from 2015, where the Ljubljana Tourism collaborates with the City of Ljubljana Department for Environmental Protection, the Association for Sustainable Tourism GoodPlace and the Cooperative for Rural Development Jarina to connect the producers of local food and the hotel and restaurant managers, encouraging them to use 100 % locally grown ingredients in their kitchens.
Last year the domestic public also recognised the incredible meaning of the Exchange: The Ljubljana Tourism received the 2018 Premik Naprej (Moving Forward) award for the best improvement in public administration for its implementation of the Exchange; the ceremony is organised within the Days of Slovenian Administration (Dnevi slovenske uprave), organised by the University of Ljubljana Faculty of Administration.