On 12th – 13th June 2019, partners and stakeholders of the project RUMORE came together in Burgas, Bulgaria to exchange expertise about the establishment and support of rural-urban partnerships. The Learning Event, organized by District Government Burgas, provided an open forum for interdisciplinary discussions and mutual learning.
The two-day meeting combined a series of interactive working sessions, during which all partners exchanged their draft Action Plans and next steps towards finalization of the documents. Work in pairs enabled intensive discussion on example actions and resulted in practical recommendations for improvement. Conversations on how to keep stakeholders involved in the Action Plan implementation provided useful ideas for all involved. Partners also began preparation of practical recommendations, which seeks to support regional authorities in establishing and incentivizing rural-urban partnerships. The recommendations will be presented during the Phase I closing event of the RUMORE project that will take place in October 2019 in Lüneburg, Germany.
The programme included a number of study visits in the urban and rural territories of the Burgas region. During the study visits participants benefited from insights about the region’s innovation and economic development, learning about selected good practices including:
- Stratsin Winery: an innovative family-owned winery equipped with modern technologies for wine production and quality control;
- A Honey Museum in Kosharitsa: a regional museum and education center dedicated to preservation of bee keeping traditions in Bulgaria and of the symbiosis of agriculture, economy, landscape and society;
- Buluritest: a laboratory for applied research, supporting the transfer of research ideas to real market products, e.g. test strips for detection of adulterants in milk;
- Department for Scientific Services and Marketing to Agriculture Institute Karnobat: a center for applied research, working on the development of new regional products and providing consultations to specialists, agricultural cooperatives and farmers.
The study visits to Stratsin Winery and Honey Museum in Kosharitsa exemplified the efforts of local entrepreneurs from the rural areas of the Burgas region, to secure and improve traditional regional products. The study visits demonstrated how the modernization of production technologies, the introduction of new branding strategies and the organization of education campaigns resulted in new market opportunities for local producers and contribute to the preservation of jobs in small villages.
The study visits to Buluritest laboratory and Agriculture Institute Karnobat demonstrated how technological innovations and their transfer to local SMEs help guarantee high quality of local products, as well as an ability to adjust to changing climate conditions and dynamics of the market.