Marketplaces in Croatia were fully shut down on March 23 as an anti-coronavirus effort. The measure was enacted to ensure maximum public safety against the ongoing pandemic, but left many small-scale family farms (which are a legal entity known as OPG - obiteljsko poljoprivredno gospodarstvo - in Croatia) with no way to earn income. The days that followed kicked off a scramble to find alternative ways for family farms to sell (and for citizens to buy delicious, healthy local produce). On March 28, the Croatian government decided to allow reopenings for certain marketplace stores and kiosks selling food, hygiene products, medicine, veterinary-medicinal products, agricultural medicine and food for animals. Market stands, however, remain closed. Despite these measures which resulted in their own struggles to make a living, even to exist, family farms are selflessly paying it forward to help currently struggling communities. We're bringing you three inspiring examples of family farm owners turned philanthropists.
Manuela Babić owns a family farm of the same name in the Krapina-Zagorje region's town of Luka, a 35-minute drive from Zagreb. Following the capital city's March 22 earthquake, which only added pressure to COVID-19 crises in the region, Babić made a decision to help. She is giving away between 200-250 home-grown eggs to those most in need, on a weekly basis, each Friday. Deliveries will be made via the Red Cross, Caritas and other charitable organisations, or delivered by Babić and her husband themselves. Those in need, or charitable organisations willing to help, can contact Babić at +385 91 6202 782.
Based in the Slavonia region's town of Podgorač, OPG Đanić sells high-quality rakija of all flavours and types (including plums, herbs, berries and lavender). It's decided to totally change its tune, however, and transform its products into disinfectants for hospitals. Thousands of liters of OPG Đanić's already-made rakija will be re-distilled and remade into Virus Stop - the name of its new alcohol disifectant. With this change, the family farm won't only be helping hospitals, but also saving the jobs of over 30 of its employees. OPG Đanić has pulled almost 20,000 litres of rakija from its warehouses in Split and Zadar (where most of its products are sold) for repurposing. Owners have donated the first batches of Virus Stop; 100 litres to the general hospital in Našice and 100 litres to the general hospital in Osijek.
OPG Ljiljana Krpanić
Just a few hours after the Zagreb earthquake hit on March 22, Ljiljana Krpanić (owner of a family farm under the same name), posted a selfless offer on her personal Facebook page. She and her husband had decided to provide their family vacation home in the town of Križevci (one hour by car from Zagreb) to a family left homeless after the earthquake - for however long needed. To gather one's bearings after a traumatic experience, the peaceful, fully equipped cottage is surrounded by nature and, other than a washing machine, has all living necessities and then some, including a garden, porch and outside pizza oven.
This feature is part of Time Out Croatia's commitment to support businesses, commerce and non-profit organisations during the period of social distancing.