now our first course is almost over. After the presentations on Friday, we finally finished.
The aim of this course was to get every student on the same knowledge level, because everyone comes from another background. For us the speed of the course was not too slow or to fast. We got a lot of input from different teachers during the course, we had some lectures about soil ecology, plant interactions, and political and social issues were covered as well. Of course, there were lectures about methods and theories, too. Some of the theoretical stuff we had to apply in our assignments. Sometimes the tasks for the four assignments, which we had to fulfil during the two months, were not so clear at the beginning but we managed everything. When you ask for help or you have problems, you will definitely get help. As we said earlier, you have to be very self-organised, for example by reading the indicated literature. You are supposed to work independently by yourself, be creative and comply with the deadlines, on the other hand you should be able to work as a group, too.
This course gave us the basic understanding of Agroecology and if you are studying the Master´s programme, it is a good one to start with.
By the way: apple-juice-making was one of the special lessons we have had in this course, too. We collected the apples together and pressed them to juice afterwards. This strengthened us as a group at the very beginning of the course and we got to know our fellows. And finally the excursion at the end of the course was another good event to get to know everyone even better and to just have a lot of fun. Besides the entertaining part of the excursion we also learnt a lot about wild edible plants, mushrooms and meditation.
The next course, ‘Agroecology and Sustainability of Production Systems’, builds up on the ‘Agroecology basic’ course, but you are able to choose another one, too.
so what to do with so much free time? 😉
Today we went to Lund, ate some Falafel (you definitely have to try it once or twice or …) and than watched a really good documentary about a female activist, Dolores Huerta, in the student union house of ‘Smålands Nation’. This was really interesting! It is no problem to just take the bus from Alnarp or the train from Åkarp to get to Lund or Malmö. But in Alnarp there are some activities on the campus for students, too. Every Tuesday you can join the famous ‘Stewsday’, where always someone different is cooking for the rest of the group and you can join freely.
Last week we joined a lecture about studying abroad. Even if you are studying in a different country, where everything is new for you, you can go somewhere else for some time. It is possible to study in another country just for a few weeks or for a whole year. Therefore you have to apply between November and December, so if you are starting the Master´s programme, you have to decide quickly if you want to go away or not. Because as as Master student you can just go abroad in your second year. But come at first to Sweden and enjoy!
so, we finally finished 75% of our last assignment by writing an analysis about our visited farm. We visited the farms within small groups and did an interview with the farmer on site for collecting all the information. This week took us some energy but now it is done. The missing 25% will be fulfilled by having a presentation about our written assignment. Therefore, we also have to read the term paper of one of our fellow students and ask questions about it after his presentation. But we have one week for this, so now we can relax a bit before the new course gets started.
Today it was really cold, nevertheless, going by bike to a ‘Loppis’ (flea market) in Malmö was a really good decision: the ‘Loppis’ offered fancy clothes, some useful everyday life stuff and a lot of different plants! Ah, and today we had the first snow but it did not stayed on the ground.
last week, from Thursday to Friday, we had an amazing excursion to a small farm in Röke.
We arrived by ourself – by bus and train or by shared a car. After arriving there, we met Pontus, the owner. We started with a strengthening meal and some of us set up tents for the night. You were able to sleep in an Indian tepee, too. The rest of the day was full of surprises: we collected different mushrooms, learned about edible plants and the bravest of us went for a very short swim into a lake in the midst of the forest.
Some weeks before, everyone collected some acorns. In the evening we cracked and boiled them for making flour out of them. After “work”, we had a really nice time together while singing songs, playing guitar, having one or two drinks and making a campfire. 🙂
The guys who slept in the tents were frozen in the morning – but there was also the chance to sleep inside. For breakfast we made pancakes out of the acorn flour. The next day, Pontus showed us his own compost system with which he gets warm water for his underfloor heating, his own created wetland and we had a meditation session in the forest.
Hach, you have to experience it by yourself – it was so nice to get to know everyone better!
… these days are very busy with studying. Soon the first course Agroecology basics comes to an end what means that there will be an assignment finally. During the whole course we had some little assignments where we had to write short scientific papers or hold presentations about different topics. The final assignment at the end will be a farm analysis about the farms we have visited during the course.
At the one hand there are some free days where we don´t have to be in class, but at the other hand a lot of work is waiting for us now. But that is the nice thing here at SLU that you as a student must show self-initiative and work independently as well as being part of group works and lectured classes. So look forward to get an interesting and diverse study programme here at SLU if you are planning to study here.
Today I woke up with the sun tickling my nose. After breakfast I hoped on my bike and enjoyed 15 minutes ride to Alnarp campus between sun, fields with newly sawn cerials, colourful trees in red-yellow-green-brown-ish, and some birds picking seeds from the fields and twittering in the beautiful morning light. I just wanted to share that with you how beautiful Skåne with its spacious landscape can be. (But I promise: there is also heavy rain from the side sometimes – then you hate biking between the fields. :D)
Lets talk a bit about lectures. Today we have had some introduction in EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and its implementation in Sweden in general. That basic lecture in the morning was followed by a talk of a Swedish farmer from the region Jämtland far up north. Additionally to his full time job he is the head of the Swedish small scale farmers association, called “Nordbruk”. The farmer talked about the implementation of the agricultural policies and the issues that small scale farmers have with that. Especially up in the north. A famous Swedish saying that he told us is: the way to Stockholm is long, but it is even longer to Brussels. 😉 With that he was criticising the inaccessibility of EU-Policies for small scale farmers in the northern regions of Sweden. All in all we had a long day with controversial discussions and a lot of information to be digested further on.
When I biked back home on late afternoon the sun was doing me a favour again as she would like to compensate me for the long day in University. The flat landscape here in Skåne reminded me what the farmer in the lecture was showing us from his region up north in Jämtland. There the Swedish landscape is totally different from here with a lot of mountains, forests and lakes. For comparison here you have both, get an impression: