Initiative came from local communities and local fruit growers. The Municipality of Ajdovščina launched this project for the establishment of an educational centre and fruit processing facility in 2012. Since May 2015 the building comprises food processing facility, spaces for education and cultural activities and exhibition and sales spaces.
Description of the original use
The building used to be a school. It was built in 1923 and operated until 2005 when it got closed due to the small number of pupils enrolled. In 2007 it closed terminally. Restoration began in 2014 and in May 2015 was the opening of the new education centre Brje.
Description of conditions for change of use
The Municipality of Ajdovščina is the economic and cultural centre of the Vipava Valley, which lies in the west of Slovenia, near the Slovene-Italian national border. The municipality is divided into 26 local communities and comprises 45 villages.
Agriculture is the most important activity in the rural area. The climatic conditions in the lowlands of the valley are ideal for growing fruits and vegetables, while the numerous vineyar
ds that lie on the hills enclosing the valley give birth to the many renowned and fine wines. Today, the economy in Ajdovščina is quite varied. There are timber, food-processing and textile industries, with construction and metallurgy being also well-represented.
Brje Educational Centre is located in one of the communities of the municipality. Almost all of these communities used to have its own school and the same was for Brje. But since the development of the city centre of the Municipality in town Ajdovščina and simplified and fast ways of transport took place, many of these schools were closed.
The initiators of this project and renovation came from the local communities and local fruit growers. The Municipality of Ajdovščina recognised an old school in Brje as the most appropriate facility, so it launched this project for the establishment of an educational centre and fruit processing facility.
Together with local action group of the Upper Vipava Valley and the Komen karst the Municipality drafted a project proposal and raised 195.000,00 EUR (approx. 60%) from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. Additional 130.625,00 EUR (approx. 40%) were provided by the MA. All together 325.625,00 EUR was enough to make the educational centre reality. The renovation and adaptation works were launched in 2013 and the opening was in May 2015.
Brje Educational Centre comprises food processing facility, spaces for education and cultural activities and exhibition and sales spaces. The premises of the centre offer also exhibition spaces for various artists and a sale area for the promotion of local products. Its main purposes are education, fruit processing possibilities, tradition preservation and social cohesion of rural areas. In addition to that, the centre also provides a good environment for the promotion and visibility of the trade mark representing all the Vipava valley products, especially agricultural ones.
The fruit processing facility is equipped with advanced technology, comprising fruit washing machine with a grinder, a press, pasteurizer, bottling machine, cauldron for marmalade, fruit dryer and fruit peeler and cutter. The equipment enables fruit processing, fruit drying and bottling, giving the fruit growers the opportunity to produce juices, marmalades and dried fruits.
The Education centre like this is one of a kind in this area. Our wish and goal is to set an example and become recognized as a good practice case in Slovenia, but hopefully also abroad.
Description of the current use
The facility is being used by local fruit producers. The management of the facility was forwarded to community Brje. They are making sure that the building and equipment are in line with HACCP regulative. The final products are a responsibility of the producers who choose to rent the facility. Community Brje is also responsible for renting the facility and making sure that the producers know how to use all this equipment.
The facility comprises also of two conference rooms which are being used mostly for organisation of various workshops. The workshops are being organised by the Adult Educational Centre, such as processing local fruit like how to dry persimmons and pears, how to cook marmalade, educational edible gardens, herbalism, permaculture, baking in a traditional way without the use of yeast and many more.
In the future Municipality wants to expand the production facility by purchasing new equipment such as a strainer machine for stoning of peaches and apricots, which will allow processing of peach and apricot pulp and also an equipment for cooking brandy.
We have had a number of problems with the equipment supplier, so we had to change the pasteurizer, we will also purchase a new strainer machine in the future. Otherwise, we resolve all problems promptly, therefore, work is proceeding smoothly.
Educational centre does not have its own website; news is published on the website of the Municipality of Ajdovščina. The Adult educational centre took over the organisation of the workshops and lectures, so the news relating to education are published on their website.
The exterior of the old school has been preserved, however, the modern and practical content has been introduced. In addition, the centre connects fruit growers and producers, since they have many opportunities to meet in the training courses and exchange experiences.
If you have an equipment which is used on a daily basis and is almost like a factory line production equipment, make sure you spend a little more when purchasing it, so you will spend less on maintenance.
http://www.ajdovscina.si/novice/2015052015544767/, http://www.ajdovscina.si/medijsko_sredisce/sporocila_za_javnost/2015031214514793/, http://www.ajdovscina.si/novice/2015120413364782/, http://www.ajdovscina.si/novice/2015061016022058/,
|What||Educational centre and fruit processing facility|
|Timeline of current use||From May 2015|
|Previous uses||Abandoned school|
|Where is it, address||Brje 53, 5263 Dobravlje|
|Size||300 m2 in two floors|