“Goodies village” in Lithuania
This Lithuanian LEADER project empowered the women of a small village to create a brand for their organic fruit and vegetables, and increase the income they generate by selling their home produce.
Pociūnėliai is a small town in Šiauliai County, Lithuania. In recent years its population has been decreasing as young people are leaving for the city and businesses have declined. Men typically work in the farming or forestry sector doing physical labour. The women however have very limited work opportunities. The main activity of local women is to grow fruits and vegetables. At some point they started selling their products which are organic but with limited success. Their village is situated far from any major cities and their fresh produce would not easily reach these markets. The women thus started to think about of how to cooperate in order to sell more goods.
The project initiated the 'Village goodies' brand to help the women better sell their organic produce. It created a packaging line, order cards, information leaflets and a website. The working quarters were renovated in order to meet hygiene requirements and machinery was purchased (juice maker and drying equipment). The drying equipment was especially useful as the life of the produce is relatively short and drying can extend the sell date. After some experiments the women extended their product range to include herbal tea, candy from carrots, beetroots and pumpkins.
The project enabled the village women to work together and take advantage of the demand for organic goods in neighbouring cities.
It helped them to diversify their product range as to better serve that market.
Women are making higher returns on their seasonal product ranges.
A total of 15 women are profitably employed in the venture, providing an additional boost to the local economy.