rss_2.0European Countryside FeedSciendo RSS Feed for European Countryside Countryside Feed‘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 Image of the Czech Agriculture Based on the National Television News in the Period of Adaptation of Czechia Into the European Union: Regional Perspectives<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Agriculture represents one of the most important economic activities that co-creates the qualities of landscapes. While topics such as food production, land utilization, or the development of rural regions are typically taken into account when analysing agriculture, regionally differentiated media portrayals of agriculture constitute a largely innovative approach. The main objective of this paper is to analyse and interpret agriculture-oriented news about individual self-governing regions in Czechia that were broadcasted in the framework of the national TV reporting. The paper is conceived as a historical study of the creation of the image of agriculture in the period from 2004 to 2011, which we define as the period of adaptation of Czech agriculture to the EU. The article includes both quantitative and qualitative dimensions. In summary, the media portrayals of agriculture largely differ from real conditions in Czech self-governing regions. Important themes, such as common agricultural policy or organic farming, have been mostly ignored within regionally focused national TV coverage. On the contrary, TV news is typically focused on one or a few phenomena of unusual or negative character, which is consistent with the gatekeeping conception.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Food Consumption in Hungary – Factors Supporting Consumption Growth<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The aim of the research is to assess the behaviour of the consumers of organic products, with a particular focus on the frequency of consumption, the groups of purchased products, the preferred sales channels, the consumer motivations, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the market development. The data from the online questionnaire survey were analysed by descriptive statistical and relationship analysis methods. In 2020 and 2021, the frequency of purchase of organic products increased. The regular customers are mainly middle-aged, highly educated women with higher incomes, who mostly buy fruit and vegetables, mainly in discount stores. The respondents with relatively low frequency buy directly from organic producers, although the use of short supply chains could be a remarkable price-reducing factor.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Crisis Experiences of Hungarian Small Family Farms Engaged in Multifunctional Agriculture<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The paper presents the experiences and survival strategies of small family businesses engaged in multifunctional agricultural activities in Hungary during the COVID crisis. The following topics were examined: human resources, supplier-customer relations, production and sales, distribution channels, inputs and outputs prices, strategies and business models, and subsidies in agricultural sectors combined with financial assistance. The study was conducted using a qualitative research methodology, with the help of structured in-depth interviews made with 22 small family businesses. The results show that multifunctional family businesses performed well. The health consequences and the measures taken by the government caused disruption but did not completely hinder the operation of businesses.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Accessibility and Optimising Logistics of Marginal Land Grass Biomass in the Case of Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Grass biomass originating from marginal agricultural land unsuitable for food production can be utilised in variety of bio-based productions. The key profitability constraints for such productions are regional availability and transport costs. The aim of this paper is to methodologically test open access agricultural field parcel data – enabled by the EU INSPIRE directive – integrated with the road network in measuring biomass accessibility and optimising collection and transport using geographic information system (GIS) technology in two Finnish case areas. The analytical framework applies closest facility and vehicle routing analyses for tractor and truck transport scenarios. The key finding is that the area of field parcels and the amount of biomass accumulating within an observed area are not the only important factors influencing transport efficiency: cost-effectiveness of collection routes can be equally high in regions with scarce and abundant biomass areas.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Linkages in Agri-Food Supply Chains: Roles for Producers<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Agricultural producers are entities that largely decide on the structure of the agri-food supply chain. Currently, the European Union is striving to shorten supply chains in agriculture, as short supply chains are ecologically, economically and socially more sustainable. The main objective of the paper is to examine the role of primary producers in the agri-food supply chains. The basic technique applied for data collection was questionnaire survey, which we carried out on family farms in Slovakia. Obtained data were statistically examined applying the statistical analysis using the Chi-square test. Based on the estimations, we could conclude that the choice of the main distribution channel depends on the size of the given company and also on the main type of production. Businesses with fewer than 10 employees prefer direct distribution channels that allow them to sell their products to final consumers. The identification of factors affecting the choice of the main distribution channel as well as a detailed analysis of the nature of dependence make it possible to formulate recommendations on what steps to take in order to increase the number of agricultural enterprises selling through short supply chains.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Between Farm Size, Location and Productivity of Farms in the Czech Republic<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper aims to examine the productivity of Czech farms with dependence on their size and natural conditions. The methodological approach is based on the analysis of variance (ANOVA), which enables to assess whether there are significant differences between groups of farms with different size and from different locations in terms of their productivity and profitability. We use data from the FADN CZ database for the period 2015–2020 and show that very large and large farms reach substantially higher productivity in all regions, whatever the natural conditions are. Results confirmed that farms in areas without natural constrains achieve statistically significantly higher levels of all productivity indicators in comparison with farms located in areas with natural constraints. The results also showed that the agricultural policy is decisive for functioning of small farms. The subsidies have a greater effect on smaller farms than on their larger counterparts.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of Perception and Knowledge of Bioeconomy in Selected European Universities<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Sustainable bioeconomy is one of the concepts that makes it possible to achieve the European Green Deal. A similar understanding of the term bioeconomy gives the opportunity to simultaneously take proportionate actions leading to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in EU countries. Parallel understanding of the concept of bioeconomy is crucial for achieving a common consensus on actions aimed at introducing optimal plans for the development of green technologies. Therefore, the goal of the paper was to compare knowledge and perception about the bioeconomy in different countries. Realization of the work's objective was possible thanks to the use of the C&amp;RT classification tree method. It was shown that the level of knowledge of respondents working or studying at selected universities was similar, while their perception of the bioeconomy differed significantly.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Good Agricultural Practices Certification Schemes in Chosen EU Countries<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In line with the Farm to Fork strategy and the European Green Deal plan for creating a sustainable food system, the European Commission has set goals for 2030: reducing the use of pesticides and the risks associated with their use by 50%, the use of fertilizers by at least 20%, the sale of antimicrobials used in animal husbandry and aquaculture by 50% and 25% of agricultural land used for organic farming. Implementation of these assumptions requires institutional support and providing farmers with a specific framework. Certification Schemes (CSs) in agriculture are one way to achieve these goals. The number of CSs that support the strategy in the EU member states is 170 intra-EU and 198 including associated countries. Together with Organic farming, the CSs on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) seem to be particularly important in reducing the use of pesticides and fertilizers. The aim of the article is to present selected issues related to CSs implementing the strategy of reducing the use of pesticides and fertilizers. These include the well-known Organic farming, but also the public, national level CS "Haute Valeur Environnementale" (France), CS "Sistema di Qualità Nazionale di Produzione Integrata per le Produzioni Agricole" (Italy) and CS "Integrowana Produkcja" (Poland), implementing GAP.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Study of Existing Possibilities for the Development of Social Farming in the Czech Republic<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The paper in the form of short communication deals with the phenomenon of social farming. This is a form of involvement of disadvantaged people in the integration process through agricultural activities. Based on the results of documentary analysis and benchmarking method, we presented experiences from the other European countries. In the Czech Republic, the concept is not widespread, not anchored in legislation and not supported by the public administration. Our proposals were aimed at using existing legislative possibilities, not at proposals that require changes to legal standards or the focus of financial support in the form of subsidies. We propose to use certain tools, namely a social business model or cooperation between a social service provider and a farmer. Furthermore, it is a suitable form of business for public beneficial entities, namely associations and especially institutes. We see suitability in the way of tax optimization.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue