rss_2.0European Countryside FeedSciendo RSS Feed for European Countryside Countryside Feed European Citizens’ Stance on the Subsidies Given to The Eu Farmers<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has evolved over the years, and climate change mitigation and sustainability were recently added as objectives to the policy. This <italic>sustainability</italic> policy includes subsidies for farmers. The success of EU policies relies on positive public perception. This study aimed to investigate Europeans' perception of EU <italic>sustainability</italic> subsidies. This analysis was complemented by evaluating citizens’ attitudes towards agriculture and climate change and socio-economic variables. Overall, EU citizens support CAP and <italic>sustainability</italic> practices. Our findings reveal that EU citizens strongly in favour of this support tend to be older, more educated, politically left-wing, from higher social classes, residing in smaller communities, and optimistic about the EU's future. Additionally, these citizens hold strong environmental concerns and support innovative practices to benefit sustainable agriculture.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue in the Rural Municipality as an Issue of Politics: Czech Mayors' Attitudes towards the Role and Support of the Local Elementary School<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Public elementary schools in rural municipalities represent key institutional amenities for the communities they serve, and their administrations are part of the broader municipal political structure. This article focuses on the views of Czech mayors regarding the role schools play for municipalities and a consideration of how school operation practice can produce positive outcomes for school and community. Schools have proven to be important local institutions with many social functions for which municipalities have various support tools and strategies. We argue that the good functioning of the school strongly depends on the local political representation’s support. The rural school incorporates both an investment in the physical environment of the municipality and a strategic investment in the human capital for the future generations, and sustainable development of municipalities.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Brandscapes. Integration of Landscape Elements into Destination Brands<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Encapsulating the destination’s USPs and identity in a logo with high recognition value is a challenge DMOs face. This recognisability as key to a ‘strong brand’ is particularly based on natural resources and the attractiveness of landscapes that form the basis of touristic USP in most destinations. The paper stresses the importance of the logo and that the destination’s ‘DNA’ or identity must be transposed symbolically and naturally by integrating distinctive landscape elements into the logo. Ideally, they merge authentically and harmoniously, fostering identification among locals and tourists, brand awareness and a positive image, contributing to a strong, authentic brand. A 40% presence of landscape elements (mountains prevailed by 85%) was found in the top 50 Austrian logos.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of Leader Community Initiative to People’s Quality of Life: A Case of Thirty Years Application in Rural Spain<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>LEADER development programs have a primary objective of enhancing the quality of life. However, their evaluation has been limited due to the extensive time required for analysis. This report investigates the contribution of the LEADER approach to improving the quality of life through a thirty-year case study in the Alcarria Conquense region of Spain (1991-2021). Funding for projects focused on rural heritage, infrastructure, and essential services has played a pivotal role in creating conditions for a prosperous life in the region. Nonetheless, limitations have emerged, including deepening territorial imbalances, a heavy reliance on local government entities, and potential drawbacks to the innovation and management capacity of other economic and social actors. While LEADER offer a valuable tool for policymakers seeking to enhance rural communities' quality of life, further analysis is necessary to refine their implementation and maximize their overall impact.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Analysis of Food Losses and Waste in Ukraine<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>At each stage of the food chain, the cost of food losses differs significantly. Also, they are significantly differentiated depending on the type of products and the region, which requires different approaches to solving this problem. The purpose of our research is to assess the degree of impact of food losses and waste at each of the stages of the food chain in their total volume for a specific type of product. The empirical research was conducted using primary sources and secondary data. Primary sources were used to calculate food losses and waste according to the FAO methodology. Secondary data were used for correlation and regression analysis. According to the results of the correlation and regression analysis, the assumption of relationship absence is not confirmed, all factors are significant. It was established that the greatest impact on the volume of food losses and waste per person occurs at the stages of production and consumption, except potatoes and vegetables – the greatest impact on the amount of food losses in these groups is caused by losses at the stage of delivery and sale, at the same time food losses at the stage of handling and storage have the least impact on the performance indicator – physical restriction of access to food. The results of this empirical study are a necessary condition for making appropriate management decisions regarding the implementation of measures to achieve SDG 2, 12 in Ukraine.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Hub or Not Yet? Exploring the Food Hub Milieu in Czechia<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In global research, food hubs are evaluated as a suitable tool for the development of alternative food networks and the transformation of the agri-food system towards sustainability. However, in Europe, research conclusions in recent years point to a lack of knowledge about operating food hubs. Expanding information about how food hubs work is crucial for improving their operational effectiveness and establishing support from the public sector. Therefore, this exploratory research aims to discover examples of food hubs in Czechia where the term "food hub" is not used and no appropriate equivalent has been developed. This leads to the task of determining the criteria under which it is possible to define existing entities as food hubs. Using several examples supported by qualitative research, the article opens a discussion about the acceptability of the hybridization of alternative food networks. Our findings contribute to the debate about the potential of food hubs to develop local and regional food markets, especially in the context of post-socialist countries, where the conditions are different from the Western states.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Development of Rural-Urban Agglomerations of Ukraine: Capacity, Sectoral and Socio-Economic Orientation, Trends<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Ukraine, as a large Central European country, because of its available natural resources, has stable traditions of agriculture. However, the unsatisfactory state of the rural socio-spatial environment, the low standard of living of the rural population do not correspond to the country's achievements in the field of agricultural production. The reform of decentralization of public power and management, launched in 2015, created prerequisites for solving not only the problems of rural development but also overcoming spatial disparities, inequality in the incomes of the rural and urban population. The article presents a view of United Territorial Communities and new districts as rural-urban agglomeration formations that differ from urban agglomerations in terms of population, resources and functions. The inclusive capacity, sectoral and socio-spatial focus, development trends of these agglomerations based on inclusiveness are determined. These processes have many common features and characteristics that are characteristic of similar socio-spatial formations of other countries, which gives the investigated problems international significance. Solving the problems formulated and solved in the article will contribute to the successful post-war reconstruction of Ukraine on an inclusive basis.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Areas and Big Game Hunting in Spain: Analysis of Preferences According to Hunter's Gender and Family Income<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Hunting is one of the main uses associated with land which, in the current context, has a strong economic significance for rural areas. This work generates knowledge that can be useful for designing strategies that favour the economic dynamisation of rural areas, in a context of population loss and scarce economic diversification. In this sense and based on the results of a survey of hunters (N = 1662), the objectives of the work are first to analyse the territorial distribution and abundance of big game species in Spain and secondly, to examine the existence of correlations, between hunters' income, hunters’ gender and preferences for certain big game species. This analysis is based on primary and secondary sources and its characteristics are explained in the methodology section. Univariate and bivariate descriptive statistics were used, specifically the chi-square contingency test, which allows us to determine the relationship of dependence between two variables. We found that female hunters showed greater interest than their male counterparts in hunting big game species, and the same interest was found in hunters with higher income level regardless of their gender. Our results may help to design and develop socio-economic strategies related to supply and demand hunting activities.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Functions of Schools and Municipal Support of Schools on the Continuum of the Rural Periphery – Town<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article compares the community functions of schools and the support to schools from the municipality representatives and community depending on the location of the school – in peripheral or semi-peripheral rural areas, rural small towns, outer suburbs and also in towns, i.e., at various distances from the town. It is based on controlled interviews with school headmasters and mayors of the respective municipalities and on the collection of information from annual school reports and school inspection reports. A total of 57 schools of two districts in the south-west of Czechia were evaluated. The assumption that complete rural schools in peripheries have the greatest community functions was confirmed; but complete rural schools in semi-peripheries also received similar assessment. However, a fully functioning rural "community school" was not found in the case study area. Schools in towns show weak community functions, because community functions in towns are provided by other institutions and facilities.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue‘Is Second the New First?’ – The Conversion of Second Homes Into Primary Ones During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The COVID-19 pandemic has brought profound changes to the realm of second-home tourism, with far-reaching consequences for rural areas. Our quantitative survey of Hungary explores the multifaceted implications of this transformation along three axes: motivations, usage patterns, and future intentions. The results show that the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the trend of rural gentrification, turning many second-homes into permanent residences. Two locations play a crucial role in this phenomenon: Budapest as a source on the one hand, and traditional destinations, primarily Lake Balaton, on the other. The sudden increase of users posed challenges for the local infrastructure and public services, and the differences in values, preferences, and behaviour between new and old residents, may also create tensions and problems. Policymakers face the delicate task of balancing local needs with those of the burgeoning second-home population. Shaping a sustainable future for rural areas therefore requires strategic planning in order to amplify the positive impact and mitigate potential drawbacks.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Editorial: 15 Volumes of European Countryside Issued<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The paper evaluates the first 15 editions of the European Countryside magazine in relation to the EURORURAL conferences and international projects of the Department of Applied and Landscape Ecology of the Mendel University in Brno.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue and Prospects for the Determinants of Socioeconomic Development in Rural Areas: Evidence from Lithuania<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article presents the newly introduced model for EU policy-making, based on combined ‘bottom-up’ and ‘place-based’ approaches by establishing rural science-society-policy interfaces – Multi-Actor Platforms (MAPs). MAPs are open forums for exchanging relevant ideas in solving region’s most urgent place-based challenges, performing co-learning, and acting as knowledge co-creation platforms for the contribution of creating reflective research and policy agendas for the future of Europe’s rural areas. The main aim of this paper is to explore the challenges and prospects for the determinants of socioeconomic development (i.e., entrepreneurship, social economy, and sustainable and resilient value chains) in rural areas, based on SHERPA science-society-policy interface co-learning and co-creation results in Lithuanian MAP. Research results show that the combined bottom-up and place-based approaches with the help of regional MAPs as science-society-policy rural interfaces hold high potential to be applied to develop reflective research and policy agendas for the regions in the EU.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of Short Food Supply Chains in Western Balkan Countries to the COVID Crisis: A Case Study in the Honey Sector<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Operation of short food supply chains (abbr. SFSCs) during the period of the pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus provided a lesson which might be useful for perceiving the behaviour of farmers and local food systems in potential future crises caused by various endogenous or exogenous factors. A study based on a sample of 1081 beekeepers in Western Balkan countries shows how beekeepers involved in SFSCs perceived the influence of the pandemic on the growth of demand and sale of honey through these marketing channels. On the scale from 1 (no influence) to 7 (very strong influence), the average rating of 3.53 indicated a weak to moderate influence, which was fairly consistent across the countries of this region. The Kruskal-Wallis test and Mann-Whitney test determined that large-scale beekeepers, those in mountainous areas, those adding value to honey and beekeepers producing other bee products apart from honey stated that the pandemic had a stronger influence on the growth of demand and sale of honey through SFSCs. At the same time, a higher rating of the pandemic’s influence on sales growth was accompanied by greater limitations of beekeepers regarding the availability of family labour for selling honey, as well as by greater needs for digital marketing knowledge and skills. Binary logistic regression showed that the increase in beekeepers’ age led to the decreased rating of the influence of the pandemic on the growth of demand and sale of honey through SFSCs. It also showed that the influence rating rose with the increase in production capacity, adding value to honey and beekeepers’ needs for digital marketing knowledge and skills. The obtained results provide valuable knowledge about the potential response of SFSCs and involved producers to future crises and disruptions. It is primarily intended for policy makers, but also to practitioners and scientific and expert communities. All of them should respond proactively on behalf of society and prepare themselves for future challenges.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Architecture as a Catalyst for Wine Tourism: A Case Study of Marques De Riscal<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article explores the intersection between Frank Gehry’s iconic Hotel Marqués de Riscal (MdR) and the Marques de Riscal winery, investigating their causal relationship with the surge in wine tourism. Using Google Trends data and empirical research, it establishes the influential role of the MdR Hotel in driving positive impacts on the winery and the local economy. Findings highlight: (1) the hotel’s symbolic signaling elevates the winery’s reputation globally, (2) repositioning efforts lead to increased economic returns and profitability, and (3) the transformational MdR Hotel attracts visitors, generating new economic activity and job opportunities in the Rioja region. Insights into the transformative effects of the iconic MdR Hotel on the winery and the local economy are provided.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of the Wine-Growing Enterprises in the Mór Wine Region, Hungary<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The Mór Wine Region (MWR) is one of the smallest ones in Hungary. Its area decreased continuously to only 724 hectares till 2022. Nevertheless, a spatial concentration of farms can be observed, like it has happened in other wine-growing regions of Hungary. Our principal aim is to investigate the sale channels with special consideration of the personal, market and online forms in the light of sustainability. The pandemic time is over, the online sales are in vain, the personal relationship between the winemaker and the customer is currently enjoying a revival period. Within the framework of mixed methods approach, we surveyed 28 winegrowers and wineries to fill in our semi-structured questionnaires, as main method in this article. After evaluating the questionnaires, we can say that some young wineries, thanks to good marketing activities, are able to take advantage of modern community-based media and are able to reach semi-wealthy social groups that usually consume wine. Unfortunately, the majority of wineries are not able to do so. Furthermore, there is a lack of cooperation between suppliers that can initiate smaller wineries to process and store grapes, and at least appear on the domestic market.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Leadership in Wine Tourism in Portugal<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Based on data collected from managers of wine tourism businesses in rural areas in Portugal, this study highlights the equal potential of female leadership in wine tourism. Specifically, women’s profiles, management practices and leadership narratives were analyzed and contrasted with corresponding data reported by their male counterparts. Concerning personality traits, no statistical difference between men and women was identified, which was also the case for some management practices, with sustainability concerns being important for both male and female business managers. Differences were found in communication with markets, being dominated by online devices, particularly with social networks in the case of women. As for their leadership position, women further tend to prefer a shared management approach in opposition to a more individualist management style followed by men.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Voluntary Divide? Exploring the Role of Digitalisation in German Rural Volunteering<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Rural communities have experienced significant changes in their social, economic and demographic structures, leading to an increased importance of volunteering. Such activities are related to traditional association structures, which seem to be declining in popularity. One of the current hopes for strengthening rural volunteering is digitalisation. This article examines the extent to which digitalisation has found its way into volunteering and how this is related to rural areas. It summarises the discourses on volunteering, rural areas and digitalisation and introduces a mixed-methods approach at the organisational level. Based on a nationwide survey and in-depth interviews with volunteers and experts, we present a digitalisation index to illustrate that digitalisation has found its way into rural volunteering, but not to the same extent everywhere. We suggest that the sparse use of distance-bridging digital tools is due to the structural peculiarities of rural voluntary organisations rather than stereotypical rural backwardness.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue the Gap. Policies to Accelerate Social Change for an Inclusive Rural Digital Transformation in Sweden<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This study explores officials’ perspectives on Swedish policies for rural digital transformation (RDT). Through the lens of Social Acceleration and systems thinking, employing Critical Systems Heuristics collecting empirical data, we explore how officials perceive that Swedish digitalisation policies impacts inclusive RDT. We investigate whether the possibility to implement Swedish digitalisation policies support or hinder inclusive RDT. Our results emphasize the importance of Social Acceleration based on the aspirations of rural residents, encompassing technical acceleration, social change, and the pace of life. The rapid societal acceleration driven by digitalisation impacts the implementation of digital services in rural areas. Policies do not address the needs of tailored digital services; officials strive to manage this through creative methods despite inherent challenges.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Identity and the Role of the Confraternities in the Valorisation of Local Products. The Confraternity of in the Promotion of Culture and Inland Tourism<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Considering gastronomy as a source of expression of local culture, its use in tourism can contribute to enhancing and adding value to the destination, as well as encourage the pride of the local community, stimulating its production and consumption, and its dissemination outside the region. Bucho Raiano is a gastronomic product of identity and representativeness for the inland border region of Portugal (Riba Côa), for which its confraternity seeks the dissemination, the promotion of its consumption, and enhancement as a cultural resource. In this context, we seek to frame the Bucho Raiano gastronomic product, its identity, and the role of the confreres in its promotion and dissemination. Thus, this research aims to contextualize the Confraria do Bucho Raiano as a case study, evaluate the confreres’ perception of the confraternity’s mission, its strategies and contributions to the promotion and enhancement of this gastronomic product. The aim is to find out whether <italic>Bucho</italic> can be an important tourist product for this region and, consequently, strengthen the link between traditional local gastronomy and the tourist destination, according to the confreres’ perception.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Economic Environment: Insights from North Macedonia’s Agricultural Sector<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The role of agriculture in the broader development process is extensively explored, but with no particular focus on the direct and indirect linkages among factors considering the influence of the business environment on the regional economy. This study explores the managerial perception of agricultural companies in North Macedonia regarding the status, prospects, and challenges for agriculture within the regional economy when having cooperation with Albania, Serbia, and Montenegro. A comprehensive five-stage methodology was applied to assess the factors of influence underlying the pros and cons of agricultural development. These stages encompassed a literature review, the construction of a theoretical model, data collection, principal component analysis, and the application of structural equation modeling. Three direct and two indirect linkages are hypothesized for constructing a model that quantifies the impacts of the business environment essential for the regional economy. The highest significant threshold is found for the direct path of COVID-19, followed by a strong negative direct connection to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and a medium direct effect of governmental support. The latter indicated the Russia-Ukraine crisis and COVID-19 as having extremely strong indirect connections to the regional economy. So, supporting measures and activities of government is identified as the key issue for further growth and development of the agricultural sector in North Macedonia. The proposed model can be easily adopted and applied to other countries to screen and evaluate agricultural development. The study informs main policymakers on how to approach the challenges of the regional economy and to improve the country’s agricultural outlook.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue