Iceland: My First Blog EVER

I had decided to leave Northland College for a semester study-abroad program hosted by the Center for Ecological Living and Learning (CELL). My semester in Iceland was far from a typical education. We stayed at Sólheimar Ecovillage, an ecological town in Southern Iceland that houses a large community of special needs residents that provides many on-site jobs, workshops, and events. It was my time at Sólheimar that inspired my first blog. The original CELL article from can be found here: http://www.cellonline.org/cell-news/blog/growing-soils-and-building-community/

It has been an absolutely great time to have visited two organic farms in Iceland within a matter of only two weeks. Sólheimar is a beautiful Ecovillage and it has a magnificent greenhouse. Of all places in Iceland, I would have expected this town, in particular, to be growing organic food. At first, I was not surprised to discover that Sólheimar did indeed grow and sell organic produce. I now realize that I severely underestimated the value and significance of organic farming in Iceland.

I will not forget the moment when I heard the following at Akur farm, “I feel that we are growing soil here. These [vegetables] are just the byproduct.” That is a remarkable statement. The farm is sustained (monetarily) through the selling of products, and yet I heard before me a farmer calling his vegetables a byproduct. I could not conceive of an American agribusiness textbook making the same claim. Upon further reflection, this singular statement may in fact be antithetical to conventional American agriculture.

I look forward to contributing to the Sólheimar community by continuing my work at the greenhouse (Sunna). Although I have only worked there on three occasions, I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I plan to volunteer some of my spare time there in the future, if possible.

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