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Seminar : Agroecology farm incubators for Finland. Wednesday 6.3, 13-16pm, Lapinlahden Lähde (auditorium)

with :

Claudette Formantin – coordinator Essor Maraicher incubator, Toulouse, France.  

Nils Maurice and Jean Baptiste Cavalier, Reneta – national network connecting regional incubator organisations, France.

Gil Mercador, RETA – national network of farm incubators, Spain.

Peter Volz, Agronauten – research association for sustainable food systems and regional economics, Germany

Joan Muntané – Rufea Farm Incubator, City hall of Lleida, Catalonia, Spain

Program :

  • 13.00 Tervetuloa
  • 13.10-14.30 Esitykset maatilahautomotoiminnasta Ranskassa, Espanjassa ja Saksassa (in English). Aikaa kysymyksille ja vastauksille.
  • 14.30-15.00 Paneelikeskustelu. Puheenjohtajana prof. Juha Helenius.
  • 15.00-15.15 Kahvitauko
  • 15.15-16.00 Ryhmäkeskustelut & yhteinen lopetus.

***

Agroekologiset maatilahautomot Suomeen

Agroekologiset “maatilahautomot” ovat yleistyneet Euroopassa. Hautomot tarjoavat ekologisesta maaseutuyritystoiminnasta kiinnostuneille ihmisille väylän yritystoiminnassa vaadittavien taitojen kehittämiseen käytännön työskentelyn avulla. Tämä on osoittautunut erittäin tehokkaaksi menetelmäksi toteuttaa monen maatalouden ulkopuolelta tulevan haave maaseutuyrittäjyydestä.

Maatilahautomon avulla luodaan yrittäjyydestä kiinnostuneille realistiset ja turvalliset olosuhteet harjoitella käytännön toimintaa yhdessä muiden kiinnostuneiden kanssa. Toimintaa voi olla yksityisillä tai yhteisöllisillä maa- ja puutarhatiloilla. 

Suomesta Osk. Oma maa on ollut mukana 2022 alkaneessa Erasmus+ rahoittamassa Farm incubator hankkeessa. Syksyllä 2023 toiminnasta kiinnostuneita suomalaisia yhteistyötahoja osallistuivat opintoretkeen Ranskan Toulousessa.

Nyt haluamme esitellä laajemmin hautomotoiminnan mahdollisuuksia Suomessa.

Tule mukaan suunnittelemaan yhdessä toiminnan kehittämistä Suomessa!

Lisätiedot: Ruby van der Wekken, toimisto@omamaa.fi, puh 0504362171.

The seminar can be attended online as well (see the registration form).

Group foto participants European meeting around farm incubators October 2023, Toulouse, France.

Participants European meeting around farm incubators October 2023, Toulouse, France.

FURTHER READING :

Agroecology farm incubators for Finland 

As stands also for Finland, EU-level data shows a critical need for newcomers in agriculture.  The same data also shows that only 1 in 5 young farmers opt for some level of formal training. A large portion of people interested in entering the farming profession are not from a farming background, and often formal education does not provide them with relevant practical experience. The managing of one’s own farm is rarely covered through formal education.

This is what Farm Incubators as established in countries as France, Spain and Belgium, want to cater to. They want to close the gap between formal education and the starting of one’s own business. By providing a safe environment to start, test and adapt the business-model, farm incubators have the potential to play an important role to increase the number of farms and farm-successions, also in Finland. 

Oma maa has been partnering since spring 2022 in an Erasmus+ project around Farm incubators in Europe, and the project came to a first European wide meeting in October 2023 in Toulouse, France. There besides hearing about experiences in different countries, local farm incubator experiences were visited. 

In March, several project partners, from France, Germany and Spain, a farm incubator coordinator from Toulouse, France and a city council representative facilitating the development of a farm incubator in Lleida, Catalonia, Spain will be visiting Finland, where on Wednesday 6.3 the public seminar “Agroecology Farm incubators for Finland”  will take place at Lapinlahden Lähde auditorium, from 13-16pm . 

Anne Camille, incubee Essor Maraicher incubator, Toulouse, France, telling of her experiences at the incubator as new vinegrower

WHAT ARE FARM INCUBATORS 

The idea of a farm incubator is to create safe conditions for new entrants into farming to have longer term experience in the developing of a farm business, after (at least) basic agricultural education but before embarking on their actual own farming.

Farm incubators create a real situation as well as autonomy during a limited time for the new aspiring entrant, whilst providing facilities, legal framework, monitoring as well as coordination between relevant actors for the farm incubation period. A farm incubator is as such not a place, but is better understood as a coordinated group of actors which together create the conditions of a farm incubator, which can take physically place in different settings. In Finland we want to promote the establishing of farm incubators on farms. 

The farm incubator gives aspiring new farmers a chance to safely assess whether they really want to pursue farming, whilst on the other hand for instance a farm offering their farm and expertise as farm incubator locus can have the chance to work longer together and to get to know a potentially new producer member. 

Essor Maraicher incubator, Toulouse, France

WHY DO WE NEED AGROECOLOGY FARM INCUBATORS IN FINLAND

Finland has good agricultural schooling possibilities as well as instruments as apprenticeships and entrepreneurial starting money. However, to start as a farmer/agricultural entrepreneur brings many financial, access to land, infrastructure and lack of knowledge challenges, which need accompanying over several years and which are currently not all met in sufficient and enabling ways.  

At the same time, small scale agricultural initiatives wanting to keep social and ecological values up high are challenged to offer sufficiently remunerated places to newcomers which could play an important role in this. Farm incubators can meet these demands and challenges of both aspiring farmers and sustainable small scale agricultural initiatives. 

With the farm incubators we in particular want to support the development of a sustainable foodsystem in Finland upholding agroecological values. This means putting a caring for the land upfront, in terms of its capacity to be strengthening biodiversity, carbon sequestration as well as more efficient nutrient recycling. This means also seeing to the needs of our farmers, and putting also human and social values upfront. At large, farm incubators are elements in the development of a sustainable local economy, to develop more local markets and direct sales. Farm incubators can also be seen as enabling tools giving people the possibility to have more ownership over their food system and through this cater to sustainable development and green just transitioning.  

Potato harvesting on Kaukon tila, one of the two farms of food cooperative Oma maa, Tuusula, Finland.

MORE ON FARM INCUBATORS IN EUROPE

In Europe, the most developed and tested incubator structure is the french/belgium model of Espaces Test Agricole (ETA) and the regional incubator organizations are connected through a national network RENETA. The reality in France shows that the majority of people interested in starting up a farm (or gardening) business do not come from a farming background. Most of the time new entrants are career changers. ETA enables these people to learn to manage their business by doing it, and therefore complementing the formal education with practical experiences. Incubator Farms therefore diversify the group of people entering farming or gardening by lowering the threshold to enter and supporting the first years of managing ones own business. The innovative way of learning management-skills and adapting business ideas to the regional reality not only provides a hands-on learning opportunity but is also bringing new entrepreneurs to rural areas. The establishment of farm incubators can involve different actors including local authorities and NGO’s. 

Claudette Formantin, coordinator of Essor Maraicher incubator, Toulouse, France, explaining its workings

FIRST EUROPEAN MEETING AROUND FARM INCUBATORS

Oma maa has been partnering since spring 2022 in an Erasmus+ project around Farm incubators in Europe. Other initiating project partners have been Agronauten (www.agronauten.net; Germany);  Reneta (www.reneta.fr, France); GAL Pays des Condruses (www.galcondruses.be, Belgium) and Associació d’iniciatatives Rurals de Catanlunya (www.desenvolupamentrural.cat/, Spain). 

The project and its partnership is wanting to support emerging farm incubators (like) initiatives to conceptualise and implement a structure in their countries/regions that provides a safe environment for newcomers and career-changers starting their own farm business, as well as strengthen international cooperation around the subject.

During the Erasmus+ project time, the participating organizations have been learning about the French and Belgium concept of farm incubators. The first field trip of the project was to Brussles, Belgium where existing farm incubator sites were visited. The second field trip was to Berlin, Germany, where a seminar was held on the topic of farm incubators in Germany (so far non existent) at the Heinrich Bohl foundation with a large number of potential stakeholders and facilitators. 

The last and largest field trip of the project was to Toulouse, France in October of 2023, to which relevant actors from all the participating countries were invited. From Finland, the 8 person delegation included farmers (Lassilan and Niipalan tila) as well as representatives from Leader projects, MTK keskusliitto and from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest Ministry.  Also from Luomuliito and Helsinki University intrest in the process and fieldtrip was expressed, but participation in the fieldtrip was not possible due to practical reasons. Besides ample internal exchanges and learning moments, in Gaillac, a number of farm incubators and their incubéés were visited, involving also local authorities. It is a pleasure that March will bring a number of these representatives to Finland, to support our discussions around the potential and possibility for implementation of farmincubators in Finland. 

Link to RENETA presentation on farm incubators.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NoXtJxNT_7PiTN42Qx2WY3UrsYM49OgJ/view?usp=drivesdk

Essor Maraicher incubator, Toulouse, France

Saapumisohjeet / How to get there!

(English below) 

Kuinka tilalle pääsee Helsingistä?

Osoite:
Lassilan Tila
Paijalantie 341, 04300 Tuusula

  • Autolla (katso talkoolista kimppakyytien järjestämiseksi)
    Käpylästä, aja tietä 45 Tuusulan suuntaan.
    Tuusulassa saavut liikenneympyrään. Jatka tien 45 seuraamista, nyt Hyvinkään suuntaan.
    Seuraavassa liikenneympyrässä jatka tietä 45 Hyvinkään suuntaan.
    Ajettuasi kilometrin, käänny oikealle Nummenväylälle (seuraa Järvenpään kylttejä).
    Seuraa tätä tietä noin 2km ja saavut Lassilan tilalle. 
  • Juna + polkupyörä
    Voit ottaa pyöräsi junaan ja matkustaa junalla Järvenpään asemalle. Asemalta tilalle on noin 7km pyöräreitti Tuusulanjärveä seuraillen. (ks. Kartta alapuolella). Muita asemavaihtoehtoja pyöräilijöille ovat Kerava ja Korso.

***

How to get there from Helsinki? 

Address: 
Lassilan Tila
Paijalantie 341, 04300 Tuusula

  • By car (check the sheet to organize carpooling)
    From Käpylä, take highway 45, direction ‘Tuusula’. 
    Once in Tuusula, you’ll reach a roundabout. Keep following road 45, now direction ‘Hyvinkää’. 
    On the following roundabout, continue on road 45 direction ‘Hyvinkää’.
    After 1km, turn right onto ‘Nummenväylä’ (follow the sign to ‘Järvenpää’).
    Follow this road for about 2km, and you’ll reach Lassilan Tila. 
  • Train + bike 
    You can take your bike on the train to ‘Järvenpää’. From there it is about 7km bike ride, following the beautiful lake of Tuusula. Other stations to bike from are Kerava and Korso. 

Oma maa POP-UP Bakery – Kaarlenkatu 15

During April and May Oma maa famous organic sourdough ryebread and baguette will be available for all and not just members.

The bread is raised overnight and baked in the afternoon and warm when you pick it up.

Open Tuesdays and Thursdays from  5:50pm to 7pm.

Oma maa foodbag tips, tricks & dry product exchange event series starting Sunday 5.2, klo16, Kaarlenkatu 15.

Oma maa is starting to host monthly “foodbag tips, tricks & dry product exchange” events, which will focus on the products in Oma maa’s food bags and on how Oma maa members and try out members can make the best use of them. A first event will take place in Kaarlenkatu on Sunday February 5, 16-18 pm. Welcome to all Oma maa (try-out) members and friends!

During the event we will talk about the objectives and the logic behind the contents of Oma Maa’s food bag and share our own experiences with regards to the use of different products. Are there products that we do not know how to use? Do we have any great recipes or cooking tips to share? What are our favourite products? Are there products that we would be wanting to exchange for others? Everyone is welcomed to bring along any (well kept and not outdated) dry products for exchange.

Based on the feedback of the first event, we will plan the next months event which could include for instance cooking demonstrations. Welcome! and please let us know if you are interested in attending the event by sending an email to jasenet@omamaa.fi.

**

Oma maa produces food bags for its membership around the year. Oma maa’s food production is a direct expression of Oma maa’s good agriculture and the content of the food bags is as such the result of a caring for the land – for the land’s ecosystem in its totality, including its animals. Caring for the land means to strengthen the land’s capacity to further biodiversity, next to objectives as carbon sequestration and efficient nutrient recycling. The content of the food bags in turn also supports our health, as our soil’s microbiomes are connected to our gut’s microbiomes.

The food bags contain a lot of seasonal products, but also products that are conserved, refined, and processed by Oma Maa. Such ready-made products include wheat and rye bread, falafel, seitan, and oat yogurt, various fermented and dried produce, and different grains, groats, and flakes. Oma Maa wants to integrate local and traditional methodologies of both efficient and ecological resource use with global practices and tastes.

The producing as well as utilising of Oma maa’s foodbags is in itself a learning process for both producer as well as food members, and might bring for food members new experiences regarding for instance the use of unfamiliar products as oatjoghurt, or different grains and groats. In addition to our recipy mail which is accompanying each food bag,  as well as the recipy database on our website, the new event series wants to support this learning process.

Oma maa’s Agricultural Camp 19-30.4.2022 – a relate

From the 19th to 30th of April food cooperative Oma maa’s Agricultural Camp took place on Lassila farm, some 30km out of Helsinki, Finland. Four participants from Brasil, France, Germany, Poland, and a number of Oma maa coopers came out during the two weeks of the camp, during which we conversed, produced, built, dined, and sauna-ed.

An Agricultural camp beyond food

The Camp wanted to offer an opportunity for international exchange around Agriculture, in which agriculture addresses our food system, but also the fulfilling of other basic needs. The reasons to do so stand firmly aligned with the overall envisioning and objectives of Oma maa food cooperative.

Oma Maa is a food co-operative based on community-supported agriculture (CSA) and ecologically and socially sustainable food production methods. Oma Maa supports an all year around ecological community process around good agriculture. Here agriculture refers to the cultivating and developing of the land to fulfil people’s need for food as well as other basic needs, and to make good, ecological life possible. 

The working around basic needs is for Oma maa core to societal change, but only if and when this working is governed, developed and implemented by way of a peoples process. Many of us will logically follow the thought that, our basic needs as food and energy are such daily, pervasive societal issues; changing them changes many things. Changing their systems, meaning by changing the production, distribution and consumption of our basic needs we can in fact develop pathways towards more socially, ecologically healthier communities and society locally and globally. But of significant implication for our conclusions, political demands and action taking, starts from an acknowledgment that these processes of change are to be rooted in community/peoples’ processes around their daily needs. That these processes of change need to be co-produced, co-governed and co-managed according to collectively held values and not decided by profit-seeking markets, for they will not deliver the desired change. In other words, change happens when our basic needs increasingly become a commons.

This is at the core of the pedagogical process around Agriculture Oma maa wants to walk as cooperative, and which was also the base for the holding of the Agricultural Camp. The Camp wanted to concretely exchange on Agricultural, as also on Community supported Agriculture practices.

Kota and permanent benches

At the onset of the Camp, participants determined what activities were wanted to be undertaken. It was decided that the making of something new, in particular a permanent Kota /homestead structure, would be one activity focus, with the participating in the ongoing activities of the coop a second focus.

In order to come to the permanent structure, campers together went around on the farm discussing what would be a good place for the Kota to be built. Different locations were charted during the day, and in the evening each of them was discussed, bringing up considerations as regards to soil, wind flows, functionality and history. In the end a spot was chosen which involved the tearing down of an unrepearable 30 year old chicken hen, leaving the new structure on fertile grounds. After the tearing down of the hen, the preparing of the grounds for the structure involved many a heavy dragging and lifting of rocks and stones, with tractor and humanpower. Some of the wood was gotten from a local natural commons area – where local associated residents have made agreements regarding the use of swamp soil and wood. During the Camp the base of the structure was able to be erected, which is albeit the most important and heaviest part of the structure to get done. The birch tree bark side walls of the structure will have to wait till next year. they could have been obtained from trees which were in need of trimming at the time of the Camp.

As to the necessary seasonal works on the farm – campers and coopers coming out also engaged in the tearing down and a newly building of permanent benches in the greenhouse, which besides being more solid structure were also made wide enough to let a persons lifting machine through.

In both processes discussions took place on how to tackle each phase of the process as well as on the resources available to use. Experiences back home were told of as to what kind of structures were built there and how. So for instance the notion of the charring of the outside of wooden planks to prevent rotting was a suggestion taken home to see if it would help against insect decay in Brasil’s forest region. In the span of the days deliberations also took place as to how to deal with monotonous repetitive tasks as the charring of the wood and on how to deal with the fact that it is more effective to have someone who mastered a certain task well repeat that (endlessly), but is it pleasurable and how to then fruitfully go about it..

Food bagday production

Most campers joined in on foodbag day production. The camp taking place in April meant that the production of foodbags took place entirely in the kitchen (no fresh harvesting yet) and packing room (of dry products as the coop’s flour, grains and groats). The foodbag days gave rise to extensive discussions on the produce used and the products made – as on the coop’s oat joghurt, the use of favabeans in different forms, as well as on the production of the year around foodbags at large. The appreciative and supportive feedback of the campers was very strengthening for the makers at Oma maa!

Farmdining

Our farmdining evenings, three course dinners made from the coop’s produce, always are something of a crowning on the ongoing cooperative activities and such was also the case during the Camp’s time, with a full long table in our membership space seating campers, members and Oma maa friends.

As customary, we took the opportunity to during the dinner tackle a theme important to the coop : namely on how our community is next wanting to tackle this year’s and next years budget –  starting point being the full design Oma maa is working to realise, and to achieve full understanding of this totality, and to then discuss how to reach this budget. We are wanting to take Inspiration from bidding rounds as German CSAs practice – in which members anonymously pledge what want to pay for the foodbags, with a second round with raised bids following if the budget hasn’t been reached. Our camper from Germany told more on how this works very well in a number of CSAs she knows of!

Trust in all of this, the possibility to be open in the fairings of the coop, is such a fundamental thing, also something to be continuously tried to be strengthened. Our camper from Poland told more on how she works with this in her CSA in Poland.

And then the menu itself – which campers and members collected the wild herbs for, which gave rise to a great time of exchange and learning in the kitchen, and which brought together local produce and methodologies and the global .

Starter : Jerusalem artichoke soup with sourdough bread and hemp butter

Main : Barley with pumpkin, seitan with pea&favabean/ barley koji garlic miso sauce and burdock, pickled kohlrabi and ground elder salad with horseradish vinaigrette

Dessert : Strawberry oat icecream with hemp muesli, Rowan berries and birch sirup

Visit to Rekola biodynamic gardens

The Camp also visited another CSA initiative, in this case Rekola biodynamic gardens at some 120 km away. The different practices in the seedlings house and on the land, including the biodynamic principles, gave ample rise to exchange of thoughts.

Oma maa’s Agricultural Camp was a celebration of exchange and mutual support and a first discussion took place on the want to have a next Agricultural Camp next year.  The Camp in particular was also empowering for its participants, and encouraged to reach out of one’s comfort zone and explore what one is capable of. As one of the campers noted ”I thought I could not handle any of the bigger wood work, but in fact, having had always someone around who could do that, I had never even tried.” 

 

Welcome for a stay with Oma maa food cooperative in Finland!

Oma maa (Our Land) food cooperative in Finland is warmly welcoming interested practitioners to come work, learn and stay along with us during the upcoming season! 

We produce year-round food bags for our members on the two farms in our cooperative some 30kms outside of Helsinki, whilst we take care of our land and our animals (three Lapland cows as well as chickens), and work in our food forest, greenhouse, gardens and kitchen and, whenever we can, farm-dine together in our little membership/restaurant space in town. 

We believe the challenging Taiga environment of Finland offers a thought and practice provoking setting for international exchange around agriculture, in which agriculture addresses our food system, but also the fulfilling of other basic needs.

Welcome to come to stay with us for a longer time throughout Spring/Summer/Fall 2023! To support your stay we can be offering modest but sweet accommodation on the farm, including breakfast and meals during weekdays. Of course we will also assist you in any other way possible to make your stay with us as good as possible.    

 Read more about us and the things we do in this comprehensive text on Oma maa’s process around Good Agriculture,  and from our website www.omamaa.fi. Everyone interested is most welcome to get in touch with us and ask any questions you might have! Please write to jasenet@omamaa.fi.

On behalf of the coop and welcoming to the farm,

Ruby, Jon, Jukka and Ulla

 

Oma Maa’s process around Good Agriculture

(updated 15.1.2022)

The following text was written to support the reader in getting a comprehensive overview of the process Oma Maa is, its vision, mission and objectives, and thus what to expect and how to contextualise things when you join the coop’s activities by ordering a foodbag or otherwise become involved. It’s a long read! But we hope it helps to understand things more…

Towards flourishing life
Oma maa wants to work towards a world where people live within planetary boundaries by building together a sustainable, meaningful future in which, in addition to humans, the entire spectrum of species flourishes.
(Oma maa’s vision, Plan of Action 2021-2025)

Osuuskunta Tuusula Oma Maa – ‘Our Land’ cooperative – in Tuusula (30km from Helsinki), was founded in 2009 and is building an all-year-round ecological community process around Good Agriculture. Agriculture for Oma maa refers to the caring, cultivation and development of the land to fulfill the community’s needs in food, as well as (in the future) other basic needs such as energy in order to make good, ecological life possible.

Since 2014, the cooperative is working according to community-supported agriculture principles, which means that the coops producer and food members form a network of mutual support, co-working and learning, in which the risks and abundance of the farming season are shared. The coop has several active producing members working daily on the farm (no full salaries yet possible), some 80 active food bag ordering members, some of whom are having central roles in the coop for instance carrying out administrative and distribution tasks. In addition there are also ‘try-out members‘ who after a 3 month period decide whether or not to join the coop.

Oma Maa’s activities are rooted on the Lassila farm (in the Lassila family since 1697) and Kauko farm in Tuusula, with product distribution and activity points reaching out to the cities of Järvenpää and Helsinki. Through its cooperation with both farms, Oma Maa will develop and take care in 2022 of some 100 hectares of arable, of which 2-3ha will be used for horticultural crops, 30 hectares of forest of which some 1.5 hectares is a forest garden. And in addition, there are 3 hectares of natural pastures, where the Lassila farm’s three cows graze in summer and fulfill their role as guardians of biodiversity.

Good Agriculture

Oma Maa’s process around Good Agriculture aims for systemic change in society. Oma maa wants to bring to the forefront that by changing our basic needs systems – meaning by changing the production, distribution, and consumption of our basic needs such as food and energy – we can develop pathways towards more socially, ecologically better, and healthier communities both locally and globally.

Important here is that this systemic change in society is to be rooted in people’s processes around their daily needs and is not to be captured nor left to financial profit-seeking markets, for they will not deliver the desired change. In other words, putting this and the previous together, changing the systems of our basic needs as food and energy can lead to systemic change, if and when these processes are in the hands of people.

Oma Maa’s process around Good Agriculture is guided by a number of values and working principles.

Whilst working together according to the principles of permaculture and polyculture, Oma maa members together as a coop take care of the land of Lassilan and Kauko tila farms in order to increase its vitality : to strengthen its upkeep of biodiversity, which importantly includes also its capacity to offer for its animals (there are three Lapland cows and chickens on the farm), insects and birds a safe place to live and feed; to strengthen its capacity with regards to carbon sequestration, and to strengthen its efficiency with regards to the recycling of nutrients. For example, Oma Maa has a contract with the Tuusula municipality to remove excessive water plants as well as fish from the eutrophic Tuusula lake and feeds this into the compost of the Lassila farm.

Oma Maa’s activities are designed not just to reduce our ecological footprint, but to enlargen our ecological handprint!

And it is through first of all this caring for the land, that Oma Maa then strives towards self-sufficiency and food sovereignty, including importantly self-sufficiency of seeds.

Good Agriculture -> Good Food

Oma maa’s food is a direct expression of Oma maa’s good agriculture, and by ordering the coop’s foodbag you are supporting and enabling Oma maa’s caring for its land – including its animals, i.e. its ecosystem, in its totality and all year around. All this in turn supports importantly our health. We are learning all the time more and more about how our soil’s microbiomes are connected to our gut’s microbiomes, and this in turn to our overall health.

Oma Maa works towards the production of diverse and tasty food which provide for all the nutritious needs of its members. On the lands of Lassila farm and Kauko farm, Oma Maa cultivates grains, raps for oil, and legumes, garden plants such as potatoes, pumpkins, tomatoes, cucumber, salad greens, radishes, roots, onions, fava beans, hemp, and corn, as well as strawberries and black currant berries. Cooperation continues to take part regarding grains with local surrounding farmers in Tuusula.

In is food production, Oma Maa wants to contest profit-based notions of what can and can not be grown in Finland, and thus eaten as local produce. The coop has been experimenting with different grains and is developing a food forest, where different fruit, berries, and other perennial garden plants such as pears and plums are grown according to permaculture principles. Oma Maa intends to expand the food forest every year, in order to come to every year yet longer periods of fruits. In our self-built greenhouse (warmed in the winter by bioenergy) and covered tunnels made from a lot of recycled material, we grow seedlings and a variety of different experimental plants such as figs and citrus fruit.

And in this manner Oma Maa wants to enable food sovereignty for up to 200 households. This is the capacity of Our Land. The produced food is distributed to Oma Maa members throughout the year in the form of food bags.

Good Agriculture -> Good Food bags & Farm dining

The food bags contain a lot of seasonal products, but also products that are conserved, refined, and processed by Oma Maa to better suit members’ needs. Such ready-made products include wheat and rye bread, falafel, seitan, and oat yogurt, various fermented and dried produce, and different grains, groats, and flakes.

In addition other items will be made for the bag pending on seasonality. For instance, we have been adding wild herbs and nettle pesto with our hemp seeds to the baggs. Additional items also depend on what produce has been able to be conserved over winter, which is linked to the harvest and to our collective capacity to harvest. This can lead to for instance a fruitroll or a berry cream of wheat being added to the foodbag.

Every month also, the aim is to have the following “dry products” in the bag : 1kg groats (which can use like rice), 1.5kg flakes, 1 kg flour, 500 gr Bulger, 1 kg crushed favabeans (and as soon as our pasta machine is fixed again, also speltpasta). In addition also whole beans and pulses find their way regularly to the bags.

Oma Maa wants to integrate local and traditional methodologies of both efficient and ecological resource use with global practices and tastes and with this process address the issue of what can and should be the food of the future. Through its practices, Oma Maa gives a whole new ring to the sound of what future food actually could really be about.

Oma Maa offers the same foodbag for all and there are solid reasons for doing so. The bag is wanting to promote comprehensive food system change and is thus not to be seen as ‘pick and choose shopping’. The foodbag also wants to holistically address health related issues resulting from our no longer eating of local, organic produce. In addition the bag wants to comprehensively address the carbon footprint as also handprint of food production. Oma Maa’s foodbag is about a change of food culture, challenging the illusion of freedom when buying from a grocery store. Last but not least, our foodbag is also about the democratising of our food production and with this also importantly a democratisation of our work. The latter then relates to for instance how many days in the week anyone of us will be working in our Rannankoukku kitchen, in order for other people not to work in their own kitchens.

With Oma maa foodbags being presently Oma maa’s main income bringing activity, we see an ordering of 100 foodbags per week as our sustainability threshold, enabling daily operations, enabling a strong enough core team on the farm. Currently (January 2022) the coop has some 60 (whole) bag orders (meaning the total sum of every week (whole) and every other week (half) orders counted together). A tight fit posing challenges we as a coop are addressing constantly.

Besides Oma maa foodbags, Oma Maa does also offer and develop its three-course Farm Dining dinners (all ingredients from the farm, and produced by the cooperatives farmers and cooks) in its member and restaurant space in Helsinki on Kaarlenkatu 15, or sometimes on the farm. The dinners are typically accompanied by joint discussions around issues of the cooperative or broader societal issues and are open to members and friends. They have been nice and informative moments to get up to date but also introduce Oma Maa to new friends.

In the future Oma Maa wants to open its Farm Dining to the general public, Also in the future a wish is to hold Farm Dining dinners at the farm. This will require developing the cooking facilities on the farm. A future project is for example the building of an artesanal oven.

Good Agriculture -> Good Community

Co-working, learning and decision making

Oma maa is importantly a community process. Earlier in this writing it has already been brought to the forefront as to how Oma maa sees this as the basis for the ecological and social change it wants to be working towards.

Oma Maa therefore has a continuous open call for members to join in the learning and co-production around all that is done. Besides occasional specific talkoots, or participating in food bag distribution, people can drive along to the farm on any given day to work along with the farmers. The cooperative is also open to members wanting to learn and co-produce on a more permanent basis. So there have been food members staying for a certain period on the farm and bringing in also their skills with regards to for instance food bag content.

Our farms can then be seen as places of learning, with regards to food but also, as Oma Maa has been envisioning, ecological building and energy provisioning. Core starting questions in this process are : What is it we want to do? What are our resources to do so? and What are our skills to realize this? – and to then learn how to do the math with regards to the material costs, financial costs and carbon footprint of anything we make. The goal here is to empower by doing and co-learning. Whilst for such a process to take a more institutional form is of course a longer term process, in different ways Oma Maa coopers are already engaged in such collective and experimental co-learning processes.

Needless to say, besides bringing the ecological and social pedagogical angle of Oma maa’s process to the forefront, everybody’s participation is also important as to in how far Oma maa can be realising its potential, whilst at the same time we collectively as a coop do understand not everybody can be taking part in all of this, nor to the same extent. In any case, how well we manage collectively to be for instance weeding when weeding is really necessary, or harvesting when harvesting really needs to happen, of course matters and affects. It has been also in 2021 fantastic to see how much we can achieve together when up to 15 people come out for a Saturday or Sunday potato harvesting – the power of one can be impressive and often times a driving and inspirational must, but the power of us is ultimately what really will make a difference!

Oma Maa coop has a board, producer members, and food members, and different working groups such as communications, administration, and financial issues, foodbag handout, and talkoot (communal works). The farm has its own daily morning meetings.

The board meets about once a month in meetings all members can attend, whilst the different working groups are organised in different ways, using different tools like whatsapp groups and other media.

An important annual meeting is the presentation and discussion regarding the year’s farming plan, and every year there is also the co-op’s annual meeting. No ecology without democracy – whereas also in Oma Maa coop, the exercising of democracy is a constant process in need of evaluation and development, and importantly will need to entail space and willingness for learning.

The working and learning of Oma Maa does not happen in isolation, but has been happening in cooperation with local farmers and partners such as Eetti, Ehta Raha and other Finnish CSA’s, five of which together in 2019 founded Kumpanuusmaatalous ry, and importantly also as part of a global movement. Over the years a good number of comrades have been visiting us or doing things at Oma Maa’s premises in the city as part of different movement process, such as around solidarity economy building and the commons (mm the RIPESS network, Cooperation Jackson) whilst we also participate in Urgenci’s community supported agriculture european and global network.

Oma Maa’s Good Agriculture is a process

… in a full fledged developmental phase.

When ordering an Oma Maa foodbag, one is ordering importantly a local organic vegan foodbag, which is bound up with its production – with the coop’s capacity to make for a good harvest in summer and to then conserve produce for winter, as well as with the available time and resources to experiment and develop secondary production.

Important is also to look at the bag not from a singular bag perspective, but to look all season long and see along the line the moments of abundance and of the periods when there is less so.

But beyond its foodbags, Oma Maa is a process of people taking (a part of) their food system into their hands and to try to realize the potential for transformation that it can give in different areas. Efforts in this process should be viewed from a short term but importantly also long term perspective, as also from the perspective that a sufficient level of engagement is core to realizing this potential.

A challenge entirely worth pushing for.

Welcome along!

Ruby & Oma Maa crew

Bravo Oma maa! On 2021, and on the ways you can be supporting Oma maa right now!

Dear Oma maa membership, 

Dear all!

So much good – beautiful foodbags, a couple of farm dining dinners, meeting, doing and learning together – has happened once again also in our Oma maa’s 2021 year!

Together we continued to take care of the land of Lassilan and Kauko tila farms in order to increase its vitality : to strengthen its upkeep of biodiversity, which importantly includes also its capacity to offer for insects and birds a safe place to live and feed; to strengthen its capacity with regards to carbon sequestration, and to strengthen its efficiency with regards to the recycling of nutrients.  

And based on this caring for our land, whilst learning and doing together, we continued to produce our food bags throughout the whole of 2021, catering importantly also to our objectives of food sovereignty and self-sufficiency. 

The weather conditions in the spring of 2021 could be said to have been even more challenging this year then that they were in the previous year, with extensive rain in May delaying works on the fields, followed by a very dry period. We had some challenges this year to collectively carry out the necessary tasks as weeding and harvesting on the farm, as Oma maa cooperative as a whole and because of the need to strengthen our core team on the farm. These are the challenges we will continue to work on also as board and farmers in the coming year.

A countering force to these challenges was this year’s increased machinery capacity, which was also the result of our wonderfully successful community loan circle process! Next year this process will continue in the form of the giving out of Oma maa shares, and with this with the creation of a new relation towards Oma maa coop, that of investor! (more info on this soon). New machines allowed us to do more planting, and we had yet again a more diverse vegetable content in our food bags this summer season. For instance our cabbage and cale were a new produce. 

This year we also worked further with our Plan of Action 2021-2025, please see the current draft which has been edited by our member Anu Karvinen here. The document should be seen as a living document, supporting us on Oma maa’s road (This is the Finnish version, we try to get the full English version in place asap too). 

In our Plan of Action we importantly were more explicit as to what we are seeing as Oma maa’s Vision and Mission, putting to the forefront that community processes as Oma maa are core to systemic (social and ecological) change in society, and with this ultimately to justice. Oma maa was also this year on several occasions asked to talk in different venues exactly about this empowering envisioning. Read more on this also in this blog written by Ruby van der Wekken for the Kumpanuusmaatalous blogi.

Summa summarum, challenges notwithstanding, it is due time for us to say also almost at the end of this year – Bravo Oma maa! 

And with this we are about to walk into a new year, with the full intention to further realise our Oma maa potential for (food) systemic change, for which we continue to need the full support of our coop as a whole. Therefore, at the end of this little report on 2021, we are putting forward different ways in which you can currently support Oma maa, with the objective of raising the food bag order into the new year, and towards a new harvest season. 

The current numbers are pointing to some 60 whole bag orders for January 2022, which is roughly the same as last year. We are grateful for each one of these orders, but we are also very aware that this number needs to significantly rise in order to strive for sustainability in our coop, to be able to continue our daily operations and also to pay decent remunerations to our producing members. 

We therefore want to make the following suggestions with regards to the getting in of more orders for these coming months now : 

Order a food bag from January! 

(If you haven’t done so already or are not continuing automatically from December)

Gift a friend with a Foodbag or Farm Dining dinner gift card! 

(for an every other week food bag order in January, or a Farm Dining dinner at some point in the new year. The link leads you to our website’s main page, please scroll down to read more on the gift card option). You could also spread the word on the possibility of buying these gift cards to your friends on social media.

Consider working towards a new distribution point for Oma maa beautiful food bags in 2022! 

(in the document you can read more on the ways in which this could be happening, as well as on the support you would receive from us on this)

Spread the word! 

We will be putting out more social media posts now towards the end of the year and beginning of next year on our fb closed group and public page. You are welcome to share them! 

We will also be getting more flyer and poster material ready, which everyone will be able to spread in their neighbourhoods. More information on this soon. 

We thank you very much for being with on this! All of your efforts are appreciated, and, if you like, can be seen as an important talkoot contribution to your coop.

With very best wishes to everyone for the last month of this year, with wishes for independence and sovereignty to all of us friends of Our Land on this 6th of December!  – whilst we on the farm together with several of you, will be soon gearing up for the production of our last food bag week’s 113 xmas bags! 

Oma maa hallitus, 

Jon Dunn

Maja Lieveska

Merita Miftari

Emmi Skyten

Ruby van der Wekken

Towards new distribution points for Oma maa’s beautiful foodbags in 2022! 

We have already earlier this year been sending a word about the establishing of new distribution points, in the hope that this can be a meaningful step also in the raising of our foodbag orders. This was sent to you before summer, which is most probably not the easiest time to think of the start up of new distribution points. Therefore, we want to resend this message to you, thinking that the onset of 2022 could be a better time to start with possibly a couple of new distribution points.  It would be wonderful if you feel you can be onboard of this one! This would certainly be a valuable talkoot/co-working contribution. 

The main aim is to increase the amount of Oma maa foodbag orders. The idea is to make the food bag more accessible to new and non-ordering members who are interested in the foodbags, but who find it impossible to pick up their bag from the current pick-up locations in Helsinki (Kaarlenkatu), Tuusula or Järvenpää. In addition, it is of course great if any new distribution points can come to benefit already ordering members!

 We therefore want to ask if you would be interested in working on the establishing of a new distribution point, with our help of course.

In that case, please read through the following and see how it applies to you: 

  • You live in an area that is not very close to an existing distribution point – outside of Kallio at least, in the case of Helsinki. 
  • You are willing to spread the word about Oma mas food bags in your area – materials will be provided to you and you can also collaborate on working on those!  
  • You think that we could increase the number of orders with at least 5 additional orders for the new distribution point. We then open up this distribution point also to your existing orderers as the total about of of the people using this new pickup point would optimally be 10-15 bags. New members can as usual start as try-out members for 3 months.
  • In addition, it would be good that the new distribution points are easily accessible, for instance close to a train station. In this way members who don’t live in the immediate neighborhood, can also easily make use of the new distribution points.
  • You think that one of the offered models (explained below) for a distribution point could work in your area and you are willing to make the effort of establishing it (or perhaps after reading this you might have another suggestion!

    It would be great to also have pairs signing up, because together it surely is easier to plan and make the distribution point happen! After we find you who are interested, we’ll also do some pairing, if possible.

 

 

Distribution point models

 

 Option 1. Home distribution
 

Around 10 food bags are driven to a members’ home (or picked up from Kaarlenkatu), from which distribution happens for a fixed time. 

 What does this require from you?

This option means that you are willing to organize the distribution of the bags at your home. The commitment to do this would be for one season after which you can decide if you want to continue. This can be done with another member who lives close so that you can alternate in organizing the satojako. In the case of this option, there could be a pick up only once a week to make it easier. 

In this manner, you can get your own bag delivered to your home. Or alternatively, you are available to pick up all the bags from Kaarlenkatu, against km korvaus. 

 Additional considerations:

What to do when people dont come to fetch their bag? Are you willing to hand out the bags still the next day, at an agreed time? Or can the non perishable items of any unpicked bags be stored at your place until next week’s pick up day? 

Or would you want people to notify you a day in advance, so that the bag is not coming to your home, but instead can be picked from Kaarlenkatu on the next pick up day? 

Clear rules can and should be made, so that responsibilities are shared in a clear manner between you and the member picking up their bag. 

 It is always good to have a backup member who could sometimes organize the pickup at their home, in case of vacation or another situation of absence. Or, it would also be possible to organise an Option 2 (see straight below) in front of your home, when for some reason you are not able to organize the satojako at your home.

 

 Option 2. Distribution straight from Oma Maa’s van, in a designated place

The Coop car drives to a distribution point and does satojako for like half an hour on a particular outdoors spot (for instance a parking lot, in front of a library) and members pick the bags within 30 mins. 

 What does this require from you?

In this option you would need to check for a suitable place where the car can be parked for 30 mins and where people can easily come. Ideally, you would yourself also be present during the distribution time.

Additional considerations:

What to do when people do not fetch their bags? 

Perhaps best would be to agree that non fetched bags are to be picked from Kaarlenkatu on the next bagday. Ideally people notify in advance, and simply know that if they can not pick from the distribution point on that given time, they can collect the bag from Kaarlenkatu during the next pick up day.  

Maybe you would be interested to drive the coop car for 1 or 2 hours on some pick up days and take care of foodbag drop off points (for example a couple of option 1’s  + an option 2) ? Let us know if this is the case.

 

 

Option 3. Pick up is organized at a local café or similar small business

The Coop car drives to a designated place and you will be helping to carry the bags in a local cafe/bakery/restaurant/other small business with kitchen facilities.
 

What does this require from you? 

Check for suitable cafes in the neighborhood and contact the people in charge. What needs to be checked is whether they have space to store the food bags 1 or 2 times a week for a few hours at a time, in line with their opening hours. One option is to have the list of names there and everyone would just tick their name so no need for anyone to stay for the whole time. 

 

Additional considerations:

If there are unpicked bags, could they stay in the café until the next pickup time? We could offer the café a food bag in return and they get potential customers in our members. We can also give the unpicked bags to the cafe. Maybe they also want to support our cause.

 

 ***

Any new distribution point put in place, should be seen as a pilot exercise for us. For sure it will bring up the need for changes etc. At the same time, we should try to figure out things as thoroughly as possible before we start with any new distribution point, so that new ordering members will not be disappointed by the experience. 

If you are wanting to propose and organise a new distribution point as described in the above – welcome to get in touch by writing to jasenet@omamaa.fi! Thank you!! 

Honeybees@omamaa 2021

 

As a bee queen lives approx. 3-5 years, Oma maa continued with the same bee colonies which were acquired last year in the year one (read the report from last year’s honeybees@omamaa). The only change for this season was a new beekeeper, Michaela Mostynova 🙂 

Both of the colonies made it through the long, snowy and freezing winter and started with their diligent business as soon as the first sun rays allowed it. Michaela continued with the same beekeeping philosophy with which the beekeeping at Oma maa has started: minimum interventions in the bees’ lives. In practice, that means, among others, that a beekeeper doesn’t open the hive unless necessary and doesn’t take all the honey she could. And that was also the case for this year’s honey extraction. 

Despite the very short and intense summer, the bees have managed well and collected a good amount of nectar which they turn into the honey we are interested in. This season, there was approx. 30 kilos of honey per colony which could have been extracted. That would give us 60 kgs of honey to give out to the members. However, since the summer was intense and thus short, the beekeeping season ended a month earlier than it usually would! 

The beekeeping season follows the cycle of nature, including blooming of the flowers bees utilize. So the short season means that the last flowers bloomed almost a month earlier which means that the bees didn’t have a lot of nectar to collect during August even though it was still nice and warm outside. To make the point, Michaela decided to leave the bees approx. 35 kgs of honey for the winter season which is almost double what a “typical” beekeeper would do. As such, the Oma maa bees are not fed with any additional sugar water for the winter months which is a common practice otherwise. Sugar water doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad and evil for the bees, it is just less natural to them as it is for people eating candies instead of fruits.

The honey extraction was done this year on a professional extraction machine which is gentle to the honeycombs in the frames. These frames with the honeyless combs can be used again in spring which is again favorable to the bees – it is easier and also preferable for them to use such frames over building a new wax base on a brand new frame. Oma maa rented a few more beekeeping machines this year to secure all the needed hive components. A wax from very old frames was boiled and partially cleaned, old frames were disinfected and refurbished and soon these will be equipped with wire and/or a wax wall to be ready for the next season. The beekeeper is beesy all year round 🙂

Thanks to the machines mentioned above, there will also be some wax distributed to the members on top of the honey. Beeswax is typically used in cosmetics or candle making and one can make these products easily at home.

There has also been one workshop this summer (visit to a hive) and one more theoretical course is planned for later this autumn. So in case you are interested in the bees and/or beekeeper’s work, stay tuned and follow Oma maa’s Facebook group to learn more about the date. 

Michaela Mostynova

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