Yes – really and very tasty too!
Tasty and nutritious food and drinks based on wild growing plants and weeds, together with other local products, like products from different fresh water fish accompanied by nature based outdoor activities was the focus for this three day follow up work shop – arranged by the Norwegian Environment Agency and Finnish Metsähallitus - Sustainable development and use of local herbs and natural materials II in the production of convenient local small scale commercial products.
Aims of the workshop were:
- to see and make sustainable use of the possibilities when living close to a protected area,
- to built new networks, share one owns skills and to learn from others and
- to promote the connection between Green Belt of Fennoscandia (GBF) and Green Belt of Europe (GBE).
Focus was also on how themes like science and traditional knowledge can be explained in a understandable way to an audience. How scientifical results and traditional knowledge can be used in teaching children and students and as an attraction for tourists. This was done by both lectures and by showing concreate examples through practical outdoor exercises.
Almost thirty participants from Norway, Russia, Finland, Komi, Karelia, Bulgaria and Macedonia took part in the workshop. Five languages were spoken on the workshop – English, Norwegian, Sámi, Finnish and Russian. The work shop was led by Bjørn Arne Næss from the Norwegian Environment Agency. He has experience from comparable actions in other parts of the European Green Belt – namely from the Balkan Green Belt in Macedonia and Bulgaria. Sustainable local development and small scale businesses are as important to promote in the Pasvik-Inari- Pechenga area, on all sides of the three national borders.
Participants had already wide knowledge of local herbs and their usage – so the vital part of the workshop was to facilitate discussions and cross-border networking and to inspire to new and innovative ways of using local herbs in small scale local production. Geology, possibilities of creating possibilities for geo-tourism and the importance of disseminating science was also on the program.
It was also rewarding to experience that the making of all these nice local products is not rocket science! With easy instructions and recipes, local herbs and other natural materials from the kitchen garden and the nearby forest you are in good progress of manufacturing nice products in your own kitchen.
Work on planning a third following up workshop arranged in the future in Russia have just started.
The workshop was funded by the Norwegian Environment Agency