“Mobilization” involves gathering resources for action. In innovative networks, it implies mobilizing the network members into joint efforts. Mobilizing the network for action is important to get the network going. It entails identifying opportunities (e.g. financing, meeting a need), constraints, and outcomes desired by a primary group of members in order to keep up interest and defining the development processes in the network.
The network collaboration connected to the fruit and berries industry has several origins, but we will here discuss three key initiatives: 1) the so-called “Bama project” from 2001 to 2004, 2) program for fruit and vegetables which was launched in 2005 and is ongoing, and 3) arena fruit and berries, which ran from 2010 to 2013. The “Bama project”, was in reality titled “Increased value creation in the fruit and vegetable industry in Sogn og Fjordane”, in collaboration between Bama, Gartnerhallen, the County Administration, the County Governor, Bioforsk west – Njøs dept., and some producers. The background for the project was the discontent with the quality of fruit and produce from the county, and an awareness that something had to be done for the industry to have a future. In this project, specific objectives were defined in order to increase production of fresh fruit/berries as well as strategies to reach these objectives. When the project period was over, there was a desire to continue the overarching work, and as a result the Program Board for Fruit and Vegetables was established. This board is made up of representatives from the five largest fruit terminals in the county, the County Governor’s Agriculture Department and the County Authority. In addition to this, Njøs AS, a company that was established when Bioforsk terminated their department at Njøs, plays a secretary role. The program is a special initiative because it is long-term, in contrast to projects. The program board has as its objective to increase value creation in the fruit and vegetable sector in Sogn og Fjordane. This encompasses both fresh produce and products for the industry. The members of the program board were vital in organizing the last major network pursuit in this area in the county: Arena Fruit and Berries. This project, which received funding through Innovation Norway’s Arena program ran from 2010 to 2013, has expanded the network collaboration and created a common meeting place for a long list of actors. The goal is to increase value creation and competitiveness in the fruit and berries segment in Sogn og Fjordane – fruit and berries are thus emphasized.