North Macedonia
Food region
Eastern European
Small City
Prilep a FEAST Living Lab

Our Living Lab is focused on promoting and preserving traditional and sustainable diets that are adapted to local resources, traditions, and values. We recognize that globalization, urbanization, industrialization, and Westernization can threaten these diets by promoting the standardization and commodification of food. Therefore, we aim to value and promote the diversity, authenticity, and sustainability of traditional diets by involving the local community in the planning, preparation, and consumption of school meals. As part of this effort, we are also developing a platform that offers information on healthy and accessible meal options, as well as resources on the food cycle, food maps, and sustainable food education.

Video in Macedonian with English subtitles

Who we would like to support

The target group of the proposed Living Lab includes school children and their families, local producers, and school staff, among others. The children are likely to be of different ages, genders, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds. The families are diverse and may face different challenges and opportunities, such as time and financial constraints. The producers are likely to be small-scale, local, and often informal. The school staff are likely to be teachers, cooks, administrators, and support staff, and may have different roles, responsibilities, and incentives.
The participants may experience different vulnerabilities and risks depending on their specific situation and context. Children may be at risk of food waste, unhealthy diets, and chronic diseases. Families may be at risk of food insecurity, malnutrition, and social isolation. Producers may be at risk of market volatility, food safety, and social exclusion. School staff may be at risk of job insecurity, workload, and stress. The study aims to minimize these vulnerabilities and risks and to maximize the benefits and opportunities of the project.

What’s coming next

The first steps for this project will include:

  1. Conducting a needs assessment to determine the specific food-related challenges and vulnerabilities of the target communities, including factors such as food insecurity, malnutrition, and access to healthy and culturally appropriate foods.
  2. Engaging with local stakeholders, including the municipality, the kindergarten administration, farmers, schools, community organizations, and government agencies, to build partnerships and networks that can support the project's goals.
  3. Developing a detailed project plan that outlines the goals, objectives, activities, timeline, and budget for the project, as well as the roles and responsibilities of the project team and stakeholders.
  4. Designing and implementing interventions that are tailored to the specific food-related challenges of the target communities, such as providing direct food assistance, promoting local food production and distribution, and increasing access to healthy and culturally appropriate foods.
  5. Monitoring and evaluating the project's progress and impact, using both quantitative and qualitative methods, to determine the effectiveness of the interventions and identify areas for improvement. 
Prilep image

Get to know the region

Prilep is a city located in the southwest region of North Macedonia. It is the fifth largest city in the country and has a population of approximately 66,000 people. Prilep is situated in the Pelagonia valley and is surrounded by the Baba and Kajmakčalan mountain ranges. Prilep is a city with a rich history, culture, and natural beauty. It is known for its tobacco industry, marble quarries, and vibrant cultural scene. The city has several attractions for tourists, such as archaeological sites, museums, and natural landmarks. Prilep is also a city with a growing economy and a vibrant sports scene.

Prilep is also known for its rich agricultural landscape. The region surrounding the city is blessed with fertile soil, plenty of sunshine, and moderate rainfall, making it ideal for agriculture. The area has a long history of agriculture, dating back to the Roman era, and today it remains an important center for agriculture in North Macedonia.
One of the main agricultural products in Prilep is fruits, with apples being the most popular crop. The region produces a large quantity of apples each year, which are used for both domestic consumption and export. Other fruits that are grown in the region include cherries, plums, and peaches.
In addition to fruits, the region is also known for its production of vegetables. The fertile soil in the region is ideal for growing a variety of vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and beans. These vegetables are an important part of the local diet, as well as being sold in local markets and exported to neighboring countries.
Livestock farming is also an important part of agriculture in the region. Cattle, sheep, and goats are raised for their meat, milk, and wool, while chickens are raised for their eggs. Many farmers in the region also keep bees for honey production.
Another important aspect of agriculture in the Prilep region is the production of wine. The region has a long tradition of wine-making, with several vineyards and wineries producing high-quality wines. The most popular grape varieties grown in the region include Vranec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay.
Despite the region's rich agricultural resources, there are several challenges that farmers in the area face. One of the biggest challenges is access to credit and financing, which can make it difficult for farmers to invest in their farms and increase production. Another challenge is the lack of modern equipment and technology, which can make farming more difficult and less efficient.
To address these challenges, the government of North Macedonia has implemented several programs to support agriculture in the region. These programs provide funding and technical assistance to farmers, as well as promoting the export of agricultural products to other countries. In addition, several NGOs and private organizations are also working to support agriculture in the region, by providing training, equipment, and financing to farmers.

Skopje food market

Local Food Challenges

With inflation rates soaring close to 20%, food insecurity has become a pressing issue. The rising cost of food and energy has put vulnerable communities in a precarious position, and any long-term solutions may be viewed as redundant or detached from their immediate needs. In addition to economic challenges, there are political and bureaucratic hurdles in dealing with local and national governments that may hinder efforts to address food insecurity. To address these food challenges, short-term direct provision of food to vulnerable communities may be necessary. It is also crucial to engage with local stakeholders, including farmers, schools, and consumers, to understand their needs and work collaboratively to find sustainable solutions. Communication and education efforts can help combat negative perceptions and create a sense of ownership and pride in the project. By working together and taking a holistic approach, it may be possible to mitigate the challenges and create a more resilient and sustainable food system.


Living Lab Actions

The Living Lab aims to:

  • Organize educational programs and events that teach pupils and their families about the benefits of consuming local products, such as supporting the local economy, reducing carbon emissions from transportation, and ensuring freshness and quality.
  • Work with kindergarten staff and local producers to develop menus and meal plans that incorporate a variety of local fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins, and provide samples and tastings to students to encourage them to try new things.
  • Adopt policies and practices that promote waste reduction, such as implementing composting programs and providing reusable containers and utensils.
  • Establish partnerships and incentives with local producers and suppliers to secure a steady supply of high-quality, affordable, and diverse products, and negotiate discounts or other benefits for the schools and the students.
  • Engage with the local community and stakeholders, such as parents, teachers, health professionals, and policymakers, to share information, seek feedback, and gather support for the initiatives, and coordinate efforts with other organizations and initiatives that promote healthy eating and sustainability.
  • Organize an educational "farmers market" on the premises of the kindergarten for parents, their children, and staff, to sample the food and participate in activities on food sustainability.


ARETE association for sustainable prosperity 
Adela Gjorgjioska 
Jane Sandanski, 37, ¾, 1000 Skopje 

Ana Tomičić 
Cernička 8, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia


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