A pilgrim hostel on Norway's famous St. Olav Way pilgrim route to Trondheim is selling local produce to benefit community creativity and economy.
Munkeby Pilgrim Hostel is located on a farm in the rural area Skogn outside the village of Levanger in the region of Trøndelag in Norway.
Gradually converting the old farm houses, Munkeby Pilgrim Hostel now offers accommodation, food and local produce. By restoring the old scullery into a farm shop they managed to create a local market place for creative businesses and local producers.
Munkeby Pilgrim Hostel invites family, friends, local artists and local producers to sell homemade products at the farm shop. Whenever a product is sold, it is registered to the producer on the cashier. At the end of the year, when the books are done, each producer is paid the amount they have sold minus a small fee to cover cashier and banking costs.
Good contacts with local producers, a sales point, a bank terminal and a cashier where you can differentiate between produce as well as producer.
Evidence of success
Through the farm shop, the local community has gained a sales channel for local produce, with little cost to themselves. This way of thinking builds and supports local community initiatives. Even though it is a small scale business, it provides possibilities for the local community and it inspires the local community to be more business oriented.
Demand for local produce is dependant on the amount of pilgrims. Pilgrimage is seasonal in Norway, so there are long periods of low or no sale, meaning this is a financial contribution and not a livelihood. In areas with year round pilgrimage it could be more financially sustainable.
Potential for learning or transfer
The concept is easy to adapt in rural areas, as long as there is an infrastructure to set up a bank terminal and an online cashier. To set up the sales point, which in this case is a pilgrim hostel, you need someone with a strong belief in their local community. In fact, the lesson learnt, is that the business-model boosts local creativity more than it boosts the local economy.