Final Conference


17-18 October 2022

Sopot (Poland)

and field visit to Tomaszyn on 19 October

The conference presented the final outcomes of the Smart Rural 21 project that was the result of intensive collaboration with rural communities and other relevant stakeholders across Europe to realise Smart Villages on the ground over more than two years.

1. Programme

17 October 2022: Learning about Smart Rural 21 & Smart Villages approaches

From 10 am onwardsRegistration & Exhibition of the Smart Rural 21 selected & Come Along! villages
12.00 – 13.00 (CET)Light lunch & registration
13.00 – 13.30 (CET)Welcome speeches & introduction LIVESTREAMED
Video message from the EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski
Piotr Ostaszewski (Ostoja Natury, Tomaszyn)
Joanna Gierulska (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Poland)
Maria Gafo Gomez-Zamalloa (DG AGRI)
13.30 – 13.50 (CET)Being Smart in Rural, Edina Ocsko (Smart Rural 21, Project Coordinator) LIVESTREAMED
13.50 – 14.15 (CET)Q&A and discussionLIVESTREAMED
14.15 – 15.00 (CET)Inspirations from Smart Rural 21 villagesLIVESTREAMED
·      Laura Cantarella (Ostana, Italy)
·      Annina Airola (Raudanmaa, Finland)
·      Katerina Cadilova (Mukarov, Czechia)
·      Peter Plant (Torup, Denmark)
·      Daiga Kalnina (Alsunga, Latvia)
·      Nives Laharnar  & Polonca Kavčič  (Sentviska Gora Plateau, Slovenia)
·      Aikaterini Kasimati & Dimitris Bogiatzis (Kythera, Greece)
15:00 – 15.30 (CET)Coffee break
15.30 – 17.00 (CET)Lessons on working with villages from the Smart Rural 21 project & Discussion- LIVESTREAMED
·      Edina Ocsko – Overview on lessons learnt
·      Fritz Pichler – The SR21 process in Stanz
·      Piotr Ostaszewski – The SR21 process in Tomaszyn
17.00 – 18.30 (CET)Smart Rural Market Place
·      Human Library
·      Stalls & stands including SR21 villages, Come Along! villages (7 to 9)
·      Speed-dating
·      1-to-1 meetings
19.30-23.30 (CET)Dinner

18 October 2022: Smart Villages policy & practice (workshops and networking)

9.00 – 9.15 (CET)

Introduction to the day

9.15-9.30 (CET)

Find your workshop room

9.30 – 11.00 (CET)

Workshops Series 1: Acting smart

1/1. When is digital technology becoming a ‘game-changer’ in improving local services?


Pat Kennedy (eTownz, SR National Expert)
Lutz Kubitschke (empirica):
How to co-design digital e-services with rural communities – Lessons from the Smart Rural 21 project
Marcos Nogueira (AURORAL H2020 Project):Technologies for Smart Communities and AURORAL middleware
Juan Manuel Velasco Leons (DG AGRI):The relevance of the work of the Broadband Competence Office(s) for Smart Villages

1/2. How to preserve natural, cultural and architectural heritage while entering a modern age (including dealing with mass tourism)?


Tom Jones (ERCA)
Kirsten Birke Lund (SR National Expert)
Laura Cantarella (Viso a Viso- Ostana, Italy):Preserving architectural heritage through vision and persistence
Rigas Zafeiriou (Kytherian Foundation for Culture & Development-Kythera, Greece):Developing Kythera Island as a Sustainable Destination for the Conservation of Natural & Cultural Heritage

1/3.  How to breathe new life into old buildings? – Community buildings & community engagement


Ed Thorpe (E40 Expert)
Andrzej Halasiewicz (SR National Expert)
Nives Laharnar (Šentviška Gora Plateau, Slovenia): Reviving the community centre to become a hub of intergenerational exchange in Sentviska Community building.
Paul Hendriksen (Earthship Community in the Netherlands):The Earthship Idea and how to transfer it to other rural communities (video presentation)
Annina Airola (Raudanmaa, Finland):How we transformed an old school building to a community center?

1/4. How to overcome the energy crisis in a smart way locally? – Renewable energy & local energy communities


Michael Fischer (SR National Expert)
Hans-Olof Stalgren (SR National Expert)
Rainer Rosegger (Stanz, Austria):The emergence of the Smart Stanz Renewable Energy Community

1/5. How to keep young people busy, engaged and interested smartly?


Anna Parizan (SR21 Assistant Project Coordinator, E40)
Veronika Zemenova & Katerina Cadilova (Mukarov, Czechia):Youth engagement through the newly emerging Hangout4Teens Club
Elisabetta Percivati, (Ostana, Italy):Creative work with children
Daiga Kalnina (Alsunga, Latvia): Programming a small ‘weather station’ with youth

1/6. One size does not fit all: How to find adapted smart mobility solutions to your community’s needs?


Xavier Delmon (SR National Expert)
Brendan Finn (MemEx, Italy – SMARTA I Project): The SMARTA experience and lessons for rural communities
Silvia Rovere (Ostana, Italy): The diverse mobility challenges and smart solution planning in Ostana

11.00-11.30 (CET)

Coffee break

11.30-11.45 (CET)

Find your workshop room

11.45 – 13.15 (CET)

Workshops Series 2: Smart Villages support framework

2/1. Enabling a supportive framework for Smart Villages through the Smart Rural 27 project – How to get involved?


Hans-Olof Stalgren (SR National Expert)
Edina Ocsko (SR27 Coordinator, E40):How Smart Rural 27 aims to change the Smart Villages landscape
Makis Papamichael (SR National Expert):Smart Rural 27 – Smart Villages Taskforce in Cyprus
Andrzej Halasiewicz (SR National Expert)

2/2. LEADER and Smart Villages – Are they competing or complementing each other?


Kirsten Birke Lund (SR National Expert)
Michael Fischer (Austrian NRN & SR National Expert): How Smart Villages will be supported through LEADER in Austria
Peter Plant (Torup, Denmark):LEADER & Smart Villages implementation in rural communities – The experience of Torup
Kristiina Tammets, (Tartu LAG & ELARD, SR National Expert): The experience of the Estonian Smart Villages training with LAGs
Robert Lukesch (ÖAR)

2/3. Building trust & engagement – How local elected leaders can help making their villages ‘smart’?


Pat Kennedy (eTownz, SR National Expert)
Eduardo Santos (Penela, Portugal): Becoming a mayor in Penela
Silvia Rovere (Ostana, Italy): Challenges and rewards of being a mayor in Ostana
Fritz Pichler (Stanz, Austria)

2/4. Exploring new networking approaches – How National Rural Networks support Smart Villages?


Anna Parizan (SR 21 Assistant Project Coordinator, E40)
Pawel Krzeczunowicz (Polish NRN) & Xavier Delmon(Walloon NRN):Smart Villages activities of the National Rural Networks
Salla Patila (Finnish NRN)

2/5. How regional policies & smart ecosystems support Smart Villages?


Lutz Kubitschke (empirica)
Jonathan Gomez Raja(dRural Project/ Extremadura): The Smart Ecosystem of Extremadura & how dRural (Horizon 2020) supports smart rural communities?
Marcos Nogueira (AURORAL H2020 Project): Smart Villages support in Alentejo
Fernando Merida Martin (JRC)

2/6. How Smart Villages is supported outside of Europe – Creating synergies & cooperation


Maria-Christina Makrandreou (European Commission, DG AGRI)
Erik Caldwell Johnson(World Bank): The Smart Village approach to Rural Development
Valentina Jug (FAO): Digital villages initiative in Europe and Central Asia
Magda Porta (SR National Expert)

13.15 – 14.30 (CET)

Lunch and networking

14.30-15.00 (CET)

Feedback from workshops

15.00 – 16.00 (CET)

Final panel discussion and conclusions
Moderator of the panel discussion:

  • Ed Thorpe (E40 Expert)
  • Silvia Rovere (Ostana, Italy)
  • Katrina Idu (Forum Synergies)
  • Edina Ocsko (Smart Rural 21 Project, E40)
  • Pawel Krzeczunowicz (Polish NRN)
  • Maria Gafo Gomez-Zamalloa (European Commission, DG AGRI)

2. Event venue & livestreaming

The Final Conference of the Smart Rural 21 Project was held in Sofitel Grand Sopot (Gdansk, Poland).

The indicated sessions of the first day (17 October) of the FINAL CONFERENCE OF THE SMART RURAL 21 PROJECT were livestreamed on the following link here.

3. Accommodation

Sofitel Grand Sopot 

Situated on the Baltic seashore, right next to the beach, a five-star hotel Sofitel Grand Sopot has been in the very heart of Sopot for over 90 years. The luxurious Grand captivates with its inspiring historic interiors combined with French elegance. The unique atmosphere of the seaside resort is perfectly reflected in the stunning sea view, private beach, gorgeous garden and the nearby longest wooden pier in Europe.

More information about the hotel:
Address: Powstańców Warszawy 12/14 81-718 Sopot, Poland

Sheraton Sopot Hotel

Sheraton Sopot Hotel is a five-star hotel located, right at the beach, next to the longest wooden pier in Europe and just 30 minutes away from Gdansk city center and the airport.

More information about the hotel:

Sheraton Sopot Hotel
Address:  Powstańców Warszawy 10, Dolny Sopot, 81-718 Sopot, Poland 

4. How to get there

To Poland from other countries

The nearest airport to the hotel is is Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport (GDN).

The nearest train stations are Gdansk Oliwa Station (5.17km from Gdansk Oliwa Station, approx. 13min by car) or Sopot Railway Station (1.21km from Sopot Railway Station, approx. 10 min by foot)

Please do not book your flight prior to receiving confirmation of your registration for the event!

From the airport to the hotel:

By taxi: The fastest and easiest way to get to the hotel from Gdansk airport is by taxi. It takes cc 30 minues.

You can find some of the taxi companies and phone numbers here:

  • Airport Taxi Gdańsk – TAXI Gdansk Airport +48 734 134 059
  • Taxi Gdansk Airport+48 785 196 777
  • Neptun Taxi: +48 58 511 15 55

By train: One of the transfer options available for participants arriving at Sopot is the train. For more information about routes, time schedules, please visit the following website:

By bus: There is a direct bus from Gdansk airport to Sopot city centre – line 122. This bus runs both ways between Sopot and the airport once almost every hour from around 5.00 in the morning to around 22.00 in the evening. For more information about routes, time schedules, ticket purchasing points and prices please visit the bus company’s official website: Closest bus station to the hotel: Grand Hotel 02

In order to find the best means of travel, you can use the route finder on the following link of the hotel:

5. Study-visit to Tomaszyn

On the 19 of October 1 day study visit was organised to Ostoja Natury – the representative of Tomaszyn – selected village of the Smart Rural 21 project to the interested participants.

Transfer was organised to Gdansk (approx 2 hours drive from Tomaszyn) , Olsztynek (apprx. 15 min drive from Tomaszyn with frequent train connections to the main cities in Poland), or to Warsaw ( approx. 2,5 hours from Tomaszyn) after the study-visit.

19 October 2022: Field visit to Tomaszyn – Regenerative agriculture & community-building

8.00 (CET)Departure from Sopot-Gdansk (Sofitel Grand Sopot)
10.00-11.00 (CET)
Workshop session on Regenerative Agriculture
·         introduction, models
·         no dig systems
·         regenerative gazing
·         compost production
·      Food Forest presentation (SR21 Project)
11.00-12.00 (CET)Workshop session on Technical Innovations
·         Passive solar greenhouse 
·         Presentation of Chinese-style passive autonomic greenhouse (SR21 Project)
·         Passive Hemp Cold Storage
·          Wet cleaning line
·         ”LiveWater” test presentation SR21 projects (presentation by HarmonyH2O)
·        Ost-oya passive precise irrigation system
12.00-13.00 (CET)Workshop session on Social Inovations
·         cooperative model
·         producers group – Green Five
·         BioHUB Bazar local partnership – presentation by Mayor of Olsztynek
·         Subscription sale model
·       Interaction with customers through social media platforms FB, YT
13.00-15.00 (CET)Lunch and Q&A and networking
·         live coking from Ostoja Natury ingredients (chef)
·         traditional meals made by local KGW collective of rural housewives)
15.00 (CET)Expeted departure back to Gdansk airport/ Sopot

6. Final Conference Report

Final Conference Report

7. Gallery

Day 1

Day 2

Field Visit

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