Huge interest for Agroforestry in Sweden

The 1st national conference on Agroforestry took place the 7-9th of November in Stjärnsund, Sweden . This was a big step in the formation of a national network related to the theme, where a diversity of stakeholders are participating and together explore solutions for resilient and regenerative pathways of working with the land in the nordic climate.

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The interest for the conference was huge. The location limited the number of people to 75, but far more would have come if the possibility existed. The initiative was primarily taken by Permaculture Stjärnsund together with the research project “Sustainable food production in Sweden – to cultivate and eat from perennial systems” coordinated by Örebro University, Sweden.  The conference was further realised through a collaboration which involved a diversity of persons and organisations with interest of agroforestry, including universities, researchers and farmers.

Among the participants were representants from SLU (Swedish University of agricultural Sciences,  LRF (The Federation of Swedish Farmers), Permaculture Sweden, REALS, Transition Sweden and -most important – farmers and practitioners who are pioneers within the field of agroforestry in Sweden.

Lecturers and panelists were among others Karin Eksvärd (SLU), Karl Ivar Kumm (SLU), Kjell Selin (Farmer Selin Lantbruk), Philipp Weiss (permaculture Stjärnsund) Johanna Björklund (Örebro university), Joel Holmdal (Rikkenstorp farm), Christina Schaffer (Stockholm University) and Dante Hellström (Tillväxt and Permaculture Sweden).

In addition to fruitful lectures and panels, the conference included various participatory modules (ie Open Space and World Café) where participants knowledge and experience were shared and used. This participatory approach gave further clarity to possible next steps within the network, and how the context of agroforestry in Sweden can be empowered.

The benefit of intersectoral collaboration was mirrored in the conference, as it is a field where research, entrepreneurs, farmers and civil society all play important roles in the implementation and enabling of the increase of agroforestry- related practices. And this refers not only to Sweden but in the nordic and Baltic region as a whole.

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Text: Emilia Rekestad  Photo: Annevi Sjöberg