Loue center of excellence in agricultural entrepreneurship offers education in farming, forestry, garden, and animal care. Finnish original breeds of sheep (Finnsheep and Kainuunharmas) and cows (Northern Finncattle) are living on the Loue school farm and form a unique living gene bank of rare original breeds. Among other species, buckthorn, hop, and nettle are farmed and studied in test fields.
The school farm participates in various projects and develops its activities constantly. Aim is to form a Center of Excellence of local food and as the first stage of this plan they are anticipating the arrival of three containers, which are used for freezing, cold containing and raw material handling.
Cooperation between northern food businesses and developers
A little over 200 kilometers from Tervola, near Piitime in Nothern Sweden, is located Öjebyn Agro Park, which is owned by Hushållningssällskapet and has many similarities with Loue school farm. In Agro Park they are also testing plants, berries and vegetables suitable for Nordic conditions. Agro Park’s one specialty is an apple orchard of over 130 varieties and apples also have their designated event yearly in the harvesting time. Vegetable farmers can rent land from Agro Park and utilise also farm’s machinery and Hushållningssällskapet staff’s agricultural expertise for their work.
Some local food sector enterprises are operating in connection with the Loue school farm, and we were lucky to have a sneak peek to one of them: to see Arctic Ice Cream Factory’s production premises and taste their delicious spruce sprout-flavored ice cream. We got a chance to admire other local food products in the sympathetic local food shop, too.
There is a local food shop also in Öjybyn Agro Park, only a little more developed self-service version. One example of food sector enterprises in Agro Park is Arctic Winery, that produces sparkling wine from currants. Operational environment of these two farms is very similar to each other; both are located in sparsely populated areas and climate for farming is challenging in both locations. It is only natural that people from exactly these development farms met and got acquainted.
Next steps in the future
At the end of the visiting day, it was stated that there indeed are possibilities and interest to cooperation. We agreed that the next step will be equivalent visit to Öjebyn Agro Park in late summer 2024.
The visits form a prelude for the cross-border networking: one of the objectives of ClimateFood project is to build cooperation in climate smart food production over Finnish-Swedish border and knit also the already existing networks in together. By cross-border cooperation we can bring out the best practices of this sector and are able to learn from each other.