This is our officially last post (before the summer). The administration of SLU is not sure at the moment in what format and if they want to continue with the student blogs at all. That makes us sad, since we experienced (from your comments and messages) that it was always a quite lively information and exchange platform. So if you feel like rebellion – write an email to email@example.com or any other SLU administration. 😉 Or comment here.
We wish you a great summer! Jana is back in Germany, working in a farm management. Ludwig stays in Sweden over the summer and is continuing to work at the already mentioned farm. Cheers and Hejdå!
To take responsibility as an Agroecologist and facilitate the dialogue between different actors of the food-system, I am right now organising a new event, called AgriPub. It will take place tomorrow evening in the student union house and invites anyone who is interested in food and agriculture related questions. We, as students, want to create a casual and regular meeting that can be seen as platform to exchange, mingle and discuss.
For the first AgriPub ever I am lucky to announce that Albert Matapo, a fellow of us and native of Zimbabwe will talk about his long experiences with his home country and the agricultural and political development there. I am excited and looking forward to this promising evening that will hopefully initiate a regular food system network at SLU Alnarp.
You can find the Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/414752222411315/
Today we want to introduce Jakriborg in Hjärup to you, a housing area near Alnarp.
As you can see in the picture, parts of Hjärup are really colourful and made in an old style. The town Hjärup is separated by a railway station which connects Lund and Malmö. On the one side of it, you will find this kind of buildings, called Jakriborg, on the other side there are “normal” houses. This area of Hjärup was build in the 1990s by two brothers. It should combine traditional with new classical architecture. People rent those houses and apartments and today there are 500 families living in Jakriborg. The building style is inspired by pre-industrial architecture from coastal regions of the southern Baltic region and the North Sea near Flanders and Tallinn. Within the area you will find places with small gardens and a city walls surrounds Jakriborg.
Even if the Agroecology Day is already a while ago, we would like to draw a short resume.
We started the day with a short introduction of the program and the topic we have chosen. We decided on the topic of food security and how the role of Agroecology is imperative to this.
Our first speaker was Kostas Karantininis and he talked about sustainable diets and sustainable agriculture for a sustainable planet. It was very inspiring and he also mentioned the EAT-Lancet report, a report that deals with the question “Can we feed a future population of 10 billion people a healthy diet within planetary boundaries?”.
After Kostas, we showed a video where we interviewed Rusho and Rebecca from Uganda. They talked about how Agroecology works in Uganda, which potentials it has and what the differences in agriculture between Uganda and Sweden are.
Our next speaker was Anna Hovhannisyan, who came from Armenia. She talked about YPARD, the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development network and her own start-up Chir´s House, where she dries fruits, like strawberries.
After this first blog, we organised the knowledge-food market, where we built up tables with vases of rapeseed and different agricultural organisations presented their projects. The participants where: Vegostan, Helen Thompson & her vegan cheese, Landet Oss, Linnéa Hellberg & kirseberg.earth project, Chir´s House and Odlingsutskottet (the gardening group from SLU).
The next speaker after the market was Andreas Malmgren, who talked about “No farmers – no food & reintroduction of old modern legumes”. He highlighted the importance of working with farmers and innovations in the agricultural sector, he works for implementing legumes more in the supermarkets and advises the consumer how to use them.
The next lecture was about how to enable commercial urban agriculture. A former Agroecology student, Göran Claesson, founded his own company, VEGOSTAN, with support from Stadsbruk and has now his own urban farm outside from Malmö. He sells mainly vegetables and microgreens through REKO-Ring and to restaurants.
Cecilia Ward from Landet Oss (where we helped out some weeks ago and also made a post about it) talked about localized food systems and small-scale farming. This was really interesting because small-scale farmers have to compete with large-scale farmers on the market and have to find a market nice where they can deliver to.
After our lunch break, where we provided food from SPILL, a restaurant in Malmö which is processing food with food waste, we heard the lecture “Next level plant-based milk” from Maria Tegman. She is one of the inventors of Sproud, a drink produced out of peas. She talked about the benefits of peas and want to collaborate with more Swedish farmers in the future.
Afterwards, Erik Andersson from SPILL talked about “Upcycling food waste”. When you imagine how many food is wasted each year, it is incredible. We urgently need a shift in our consumption behaviour to reduce food waste. SPILL tries to reduce the effects of this behaviour while processing meals out of food waste.
The last lecture was from Rustan Nilsson about “Food waste: treatment and prevention”. He works for SYSAV, South Scania Waste Company, which make electricity, energy and slush out of our waste. The slush can be used for fertilising the fields.
The Day ended with an interactive panel discussion where we discussed the question “How should our food system be designed to achieve sustainable food security globally?” Our moderator was Emilia Rekestad and we designed the panel in for of a fish bowl discussion.
At the 9th of May, we also had a participatory workshop “How can we better promote our Agroecology qualifications to employers?” organised by Erin Byers from the NMBU, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
So, all in all, it was a really successful day and everything worked really well! 🙂 We also had enough funding for all the stuff we provided and also reimbursement for those who came from far away and for the farmers who came. Our sponsors were: SLU Future Food, SLU Urban Futures, SIANI and SLU Alumni. And we got so much help from Benny and Janne, who supported us with the technical stuff. They are so cool!
If you want to see the whole Agroecology Day 2019, we recorded it and here is the link:
At the weekend we visited Malmö and the city garden near the castle. You can find almost every common edible plant there: from peppermint, rosemary, rhubarb to kohlrabi and a pheasant (who is supposed to to be eaten of course ;))!
We also watched different birds and their small offspring. Ducks, coots, swans and pheasants are breeding at the moment which was a joy to watch!
Since one or two weeks the rape is exploding as well! In Southern Sweden you will find a lot of flowering winter oilseed rape at the moment. There are as well lots of tractors on the fields and roads, preparing the soil, spraying etc. Potatoes, sugar beets and summer grain, which were sown some weeks ago, are now up, too.
Sweden – the country of the lakes and forests. These days, when the sun shines warmer the days remain longer, the nature calls us out – one and another time. We don´t have to travel far to dive into a nearby lake, take a boat tour and explore lonely islands. Therefore, we travelled to the lake Immeln, near Kristianstad, one and a half hours from here. With sunshine and temperatures around 20C° it was quite endurable on the water.
The pike, that was grilled after a long day on the lake, was fished by ourselves in advance from the same water. Let the pictures transport some impressions to you, how you could send a nice weekend in Swedens awesome nature.
But we have had not enough from the nature when paddling on the lake. We were hiking as well in the nature reserve near Fulltofta, at the heart of Skåne. There we explored a bit of the famous hiking path that crosses all the Skåne län and we visited a well, called “Hanakällan”, that just pours out of the ground. Legends say that the crystal clear water contains healing compartments.
We hope we created some anticipation now on the Swedish nature! It is definitely worth exploring it.
At the first of May we celebrated Karneval at campus Alnarp! The agriculture bachelor students mainly organised the day and it was just great! They grilled, built some fancy cars with which they drove through campus and had a competition between the two teams around the little pond which is located at campus as well. The opponents were on the one hand team Sverige, on the other hand team Skåne. In total there were three different challenges between those teams.
The first game! The first challenge between the two teams was tug of war. The rope was stretched over the pond and when one member of a team touched the water, the other team won.
The second game! Here, two “nurses” prepared the wooden beam and each time two opponents had to hit each other with a wet pillow from the beam. They were always dressed in the colours of Sweden or Skåne.
The third game! This was the final challenge. Before the third game started, every team had the same score. In this game the two teams had built their own swimming platform/ boat and the goal was that at least one of the opponent team has to climb up on the boat from the other team. The edges of the boats were covered with a kind of soap, so that the opponents cannot get easily on the boat of the other team. There was as well one defender who was holding a water hose to parry the opponents. The other team members controlled the boat, defended and attacked. At the end, team SKåne won!
Yesterday our course was divided into three small groups to visit three different farms: Rinnebäcks gård/ Värpinge golfbana, Bokeslundsgården & Romelekött. Two of them we already visited now but our group went to Romelekött, a farm in Veberöd. They have around 300ha crop land, 150ha forest and 150ha grazing land for their cows and sheeps. The farm focus on meat and crop production. Their business strategy is a close connection to their consumers and to have a diverse business going on. The owner was very open minded, invited us afterwards to juice & cookies and drove with us through their property. We also were allowed to take a little walk with the dog which was really cool.
The exercise is know to analyse the farmers needs for advisory services. Therefore we have to write an individual assignment.
By the way, today is Valborg Fest! All people are celebrating it at the moment with candles, lights and fires. It is a nice spectacle! 🙂
Today I will tell you something about Partnership Alnarp, an organisation which enables knowledge transfer from research at SLU Alnarp to businesses and companies (partners) in Southern Sweden. Partnership Alnarp is run by a main facilitator, C.-O. Schwartz, who works there half-time, and two other half-time employees.
One major problem today is that scientific results and research is not communicated transparent enough to the working environment. Partnership Alnarp tries to solve this problem. At the moment, the organisation has around 90 partners (companies/ businesses), from wine growers, to construction companies, farmer associations and so on. The partners are divided into seven area specific advisory groups: livestock production, market & management, communication, gardening & vegetables, traditional growing, forestry and biobased industry raw materials. There are advisory members who are partners themselves with special areas of expertise and every area specific group has one chairmen. Researchers and students can apply at Partnership Alnarp for max. half of their budget needed for their project. The requirement is, that they have to hand in their project idea compressed on some pages. When the partners decided if they want to be involved in one project and support it, the chairmen of each advisory group ( of the partners) and C.-O. Schwartz decide on the approval and funding of the project.
If you ever have a great idea where you need support, then go there! I think to combine our theoretical knowledge and research from university with the “practical world” is the best thing we can do to make research applicable and meaningful.
for several weeks we have been taking the course project management and process facilitation now. The general aim of the course is to provide an overview of the need for stakeholder collaboration. We work a lot with approaches of individual and collaborative development and a main part of this is the advisory service in the agricultural sector. There are different ways to take the role of an administrator and convey knowledge transfer. I will give you an idea how we realise those concepts within the course:
Our first exercise was an individual description of the learning system of an e-case farm which we already know from the first course, Agroecology basics. The task was to focus on different sources of knowledge used by farmers in different countries, e.g. local knowledge, knowledge from experiences, scientific knowledge, etc.
At the moment we are in process of exercise 2. We got divided in small groups and had to interview a person who is related or works in the field of advisory services. This were the organisations we visited: Hushållningssällskapet in Borgeby, Jordbruksverket (Swedish Board of Agriculture), LRF Konsult and Partnership Alnarp. It was quit interesting to see how stakeholder collaboration can look like in reality and how important it is. We got an insight into collaboration between university & working environment, researchers & policies and university & farmers. We were surprised that there are some organisations and projects where you as a student can get easily involved as well, e.g. with your degree project or some ideas you can get support from Partnership Alnarp or people at SLU help you to find mentors and financial support for travel costs, material, etc.
On Monday we will interview a farmer about his needs and use of projects and processes (advisory services). So, you can see the bridge: at first we heard something about the various advisory options and now we are going “out in the field” and try to find out if those services are used.