Ice, fire and permaculture in Iceland

Posted on August 6, 2013

I have  been away travelling in the ‘Northlands’, Iceland, Faroes and ferries in between  throughout July. Naturally I seemed to gravitate towards the quirkier end of Icelandic culture and while travelling in the Eastfjords came across Iceland’s annual permaculture festival. Running over the weekend of 12-14 July it was centred on the tiny village of Stodvarfjordur, population less than 200. Combined with the village’s annual ‘Polar Festival’ it featured literary, dance and musical events, a graffiti workshop in an abandoned fish processing factory, ‘grass roots film making’, permaculture film screenings and an evenings feasting based around permaculture.

All this included a ‘permaculture stroll’ around the village, a trip up into the mountains  to gather herbs for tea, seasoning and soup, a fishing expedition, and a  rhubarb competition followed by a ‘rhubarb feast’!  Saturday included a kind of farmers market-cum-WI market including a lot of plants for sale, a fishing competition, a  ‘cold fresh jump in the ocean’ – I didn’t try that one, all in preparation for the final barbeque, the ‘night feast’ – in broad daylight of course, this is Iceland in July, where the newly-caught fish met the newly-gathered  herbs and wild vegetables from the adjacent mountains. These included angelica, thyme,  what I took to be wild parsnips, geranium and much else,  along with fire-making workshops,  small children, much beer consumption and a large camp site with lots of face-painting opportunities. All under a brilliant sun and overlooked by snow-capped mountains on a fjord of stunning clarity and beauty. No photos? Don’t look at mine, take a look at their facebook page. Beautiful, memorable.

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