Development projects

Development projects

Development projects of priority in 2023-2030 are:

Tartu food network – Tartu County Development Association (TAS) is the coordinator of the network. The basis for the activities is the implementation of the Tartu county food strategy and action plan. Other funds, along with TAS’s measures, are used in order to support the project, including additional workforce when possible or necessary. In order to implement the Tartu county food strategy, TAS will carry out the following projects: LEADER joint projects “Tartu county series of food events and the development of food network”, “Development of Tartu county food area”, “Short supply chains” with the support from Agricultural Registers and Information Board (PRIA).

River Emajõgi network – TAS is the coordinator of the network. Along with Gauja area in Latvia, TAS is carrying out the project “River Networks” funded by the Estonian-Latvian programme. With the Association of Municipalities of Tartu County, TAS carries out the RTK project “Development of lake Võrtsjärv, river Emajõgi and lake Peipus cooperation network and waterways”. TAS also organises the river trips series and collective action events on river Emajõgi.

Tartu 2024 South Estonia Community Programme (South Estonia cooperation) – TAS is helping to carry out one of the biggest regional programmes of the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024, which involves around 120 events organised by local communities for the visitors of the culture capital in the years 2023-2024. For the period of 2025-2027 a follow-up project for the rearrangement of the yellow windows journey is also planned.

The Smart Village programme – TAS is the leader of the programme in Estonia. We continue our cooperation with the cross-European network Smart Rural 21 as well as carry out several projects supporting the field, such as raising digital capability through the Interreg Baltic Sea Region project „eRural Resilience“ and cooperating with Tartu Regional Energy Agency in the Life programme “Renoverty”. An additional international cooperation project to further support the field is currently in the process of development.

The Youth Fund – activities are carried out with the help of Tartu County Youth Council, Tartu Business Advisory Services, and the Union of Tartu County Youth Workers. TAS is the partner and provides the funds for the activities as well as carries out the call for applications.

ESF+ implementation – launching and administrating the Social Fund requires separate attention in order to assure the largest possible impact of the activities. During the implementation of ESF+, TAS works in cooperation with countries with those LEADER areas who have previous experience with the Social Fund. Cooperation projects are currently in the process of preparation. TAS will begin the call for applications in 2025.


TAS’s particularity from the beginning (since 2007) has been the organisation’s clear position as not only an implementer of the LEADER support measure, but also as a regional development organisation. Over the years dozens of international, regional and local development projects with a significant positive impact on the development of the area covered by TAS as well as the broader region have been initiated and carried out by TAS.

An important aim for TAS during previous strategies has been the development of local, regional, and international cooperation networks, some of which have been led by TAS while others have been supported through respective measures. Good examples include the Onion Route established for tourism development, the cooperation networks of Elva recreation area, river Emajõgi and lake Võrtsjärv, Tartu county food network and green festival cooperation network initiated under the international cooperation project „Food Corridors“, Tartu county cooperation network for youth workers aimed at supporting the field of youth, networks directed at regional cooperation such as “Tasty South Estonia”, “Yellow Windows” and “Tartu 2024” etc. The funding from other sources (eg URBACT, Erasmus) has been included in the development of network projects.

In addition to networks, TAS has initiated several other cooperation activities. Success stories include the implementation of Tartu county youth fund (supporting youth’s own initiatives), bringing in and implementing the “Smart Villages” concept in Estonia, cooperation between regional airports, as well as developing cooperation with third countries (implementation of LEADER principles in Moldova). In addition to aforementioned projects, TAS has carried out several other international cooperation projects, for example projects developing innovation (international cooperation project “Searching for Innovation”) and the self-sufficiency and co-financing capability of the region (international cooperation project „Crowd4Region“). 

The scope of TAS’s cooperation partners in carrying out development activities is wide. In addition to local governments, NGOs and businesses, the most important local and national partners have been the Association of Municipalities of Tartu County, Tartu County Youth Council, Tartu County Union of Youth Workers, Tartu County Tourism, profit-cooperative Taluturg, Tartu Business Advisory Services, Tartu Science Park, University of Tartu, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Estonian Aviation Academy and Tartu Airport, Tartu Vocational College, foundation for Tartu 2024, South Estonia Tourism Cluster, South Estonia LEADER action groups and Lake Peipus area action groups. The cooperation with Tartu Regional Energy Agency is strengthening with the LIFE projects already in the programme and the start of the new period.

International cooperation projects have been carried out with LEADER action groups and other partners from Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Ireland, Spain, Austria, Luxembourg, Germany, Northern Ireland, Slovenia, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Romania, Czechia, Hungary, Moldova, Georgia.