Today’s Saturday, and if you were to walk “in” on me right now, you’d find me sitting on a tree stump overlooking the castle in Alnarp. The stump belongs to a very old tree, almost two meters in diameter, whose outer parts have been gnawed down to sawdust. In its cracks, and the dust littering the grass around it, millions of microbes go about their daily lives in a universe of its own. But I exist on a different plane, surrounded by green trees, bushes and tall, lush grass – where insects buzz, and bird’s song fill the air.
This spot brings back many great memories. Be it all the activities that take place on these lawns when new students begin their quests for knowledge at Alnarp, or the many times I’ve had lunch here during my 5 year stay. But the reality of my current situation is also there, jumping in and out of focus. Five years have gone by. Three at the horticultural engineering program, and two at the Agroecology program. Who was I, before, during and between those programs? Who am I now? What have I learned? What will I treasure the most, going forward?
Before all of this started, I had literally no knowledge what so ever of how plants worked, what horticulture was, how important it is that we work with sustainability in these sectors, or any thought as to what the word sustainability might entail. Three years in, I’d like to say that I had a pretty decent idea of plants, gardening, and food production, but I was still a rookie. I’d gotten some great contacts, rewired my brain a few times, and thought even more about how we, humans, can create a better future for ourselves. Then came Agroecology, and a new rewiring event began to take place. I began to question everything, opened myself up more to new ideas, realized that great cooperation is an essential key to large-scale change, and that real and lasting individual change, can only take place in the spot between being comfortable, and slightly uncomfortable.
I have learned so much during my time at the Agroecology program, it’s practically impossible to fit into a post here. But it’s been a mind-bending experience of personal growth, that has set me on a trajectory where I think I’ll be able to influence people’s lives for the better, both now and in the future. What I’ll miss the most from the program, and this particular period here at Alnarp, is no doubt the friends I’ve made along the way, the experiences we’ve shared, all the assignments we’ve (the students) poured through together, the coffee breaks and all of the discussions we’ve had. I’d like to arrange another Agroecology day, write more papers and learn more about Agroecological methods, do more interviews with farmers.. The list goes on.
These are some of the things I think about when I reminisce about the past two years – and the things I will treasure the most when this is all over.