After an intense production time in the studio, “Strängnäs, Outdoor Market” is now screened on You Tube and Vimeo. Filmed on location in Scandinavia, this recent video features heartfelt commentaries offered by organic vegetable and dairy producers we met at the Strängnäs Farmers’ Market (one hour train ride from Stockholm, Sweden).
It was on a breezy Summer day that we traveled to the historic town of Strängnäs to meet Hans Naess, an agronomist, who introduced us to some ideas about Swedish style sustainability. Passionate and outspoken, he discussed with fervor new models of agriculture and sustainable change.
As we walked through the market, Hans introduced us to Jan Andersson of Gourmetgront. Jan is a quiet man who has worked as a teacher and is now invested full time in producing vintage vegetables. He is interested by the quickly disappearing biodiversity of commercially available vegetables. His words made me realized that unfortunately, industrial agriculture has indeed caused a dramatic reduction of genetic diversity within plant species typically used for food. “About 7,000 different species of plants have been raised as food crops in the history of human agriculture. Yet in part because of modern tendencies towards mass production, only fifteen plant and eight animal species are now relied upon for about 90% of all human food”. (source United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. Agricultural Biodiversity: Introduction. 2005 (accessed October 12, 2006)
We also met the endearing and charming Rose-Marie Hellqvist of Sömrlands Getmejeri. With Sofia Stark and Carina Carlsson, she produces goat cheese in a beautiful old white Swedish castle. Her candor is touching and her love for the animals she raises is palpable. Karin Sjöstedt of Hornuddens trädgard is on the other hand preoccupied by the question of education, meeting people, and how, through knowledge, everyone can enhance their everyday food choices.
With her husband, she grows all manner of tomatoes, greatly varied in colour, All 100% certified organic, as well as many other vegetables and herbs on her beautiful lakeside property. Hornuddens trädgard is a member wwoof (www.wwoof.com). Since the interview and the making of the video, I’ve spoken to Karin who is very enthusiastic about the changes their farm is going through. It’s becoming a meeting place for sustainable development. She recently wrote to me about these changes. “Organic growing, education with lots of people here” has become the “main part. We are also engaged in different networks for farmers and small local companies. Our farm with farm shop and farm restaurant will this summer also have a jetty for small boat to come to and we will have a small harbor in the middle of Lake Malaren (third lake in Sweden) where you can go by (your own) boat to Stockholm. Our restaurant only serve food produced locally. Most of it is organic but some like the fish and game are not certified organic. In the shop you can buy organic products exept the goat cheese and game which are locally produced in 80 km. For us (Hornuddens trädgård) the work together with other farmers are very important. http://www.hornudden.net/wordpress/index.php/2011/02/18/
Such amazing energy! We hope you will enjoy this video.
It was a most intense six weeks, traveling through Scandinavia and living on the road in a quest for lost recipes and Nordic Cuisine. Meeting Chef Johan Jureskög in Stockholm was definitely a highlight.
Camera in hand, we sat in his cozy and bustling restaurant Rolf’s Kök – Rolf’s Kitchen – and shared many thoughts about cuisine and food – “ancient food” as Chef Johan calls it. Johan is a most passionate person who is very eloquent about the political-economic role of food and the food industries.
Shot on location in the intimacy of the tiny and ever busy kitchen at Rolf’s Kitchen as the line chefs prepared beautiful dishes with grace and precision.
I hope you will like it. Thxs to Ancient Robot Music for the great Skweee-licious soundtrack. Skwee is a musical genre with origins from Sweden and Finland.
Strange Ambition, the collaboration, began with a Summer of filming in Finland, Sweden and Estonia. Our goal was to create a series of videos which explore food and culture. During these weeks of living in Scandinavia and Estonia, we met amazing individuals, creative chefs and made many friends. A series of portraits evolved from our journey and is a perfect way to introduce some of these encounters.
Our first stop was in Finland, a land graced by very long, long days and a seemingly never setting Summer sun. It is in Helsinki that we first learned about “Every Man’s Right”. “The freedom to roam” has been around for centuries in Finland and brought into law in 1957. As a fundamental legal right of “public access to the wilderness” to all citizens, “Every man’s right” or Jokamiehenoikeus permits one to roam freely in the countryside no matter who owns or occupies the land as well as to pick wild herbs and plants in parks, forests and fields. We found that this was a stark contrast to the United States where hiking access to wilderness areas is very much encouraged but where private property still remains mostly controlled by property owners who can deny access to their land. “No trespassing” is definitely absent from the Scandinavian landscape.
This video was filmed on a walk with Sami Talberg, a wise and knowledgeable chef, who invited us to join him in a memorable tour of fields and forests. With him we engaged in “Every Man’s Right” and learned about traditions and “origins” of wild herbs used in Nordic cuisine. With my camera, I discovered the landscape at my feet as I followed him foraging for chanterelles and collecting edible herbs in bright yellow plastic bags on a sunny Finnish afternoon.