Ice, fire and permaculture in Iceland
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.