Mushroom picking on Dalagård farm, Sweden
The Constitution of Sweden states that "everyone shall have access to nature in accordance with allemansrätten - the right to roam as long as you don’t commit crime. This right comes with equal emphasis on looking after the countryside; the maxim is "do not disturb, do not destroy".
Dalagård farm in the historic Åsgarn valley takes Allemansrätten seriously. It is an area where people have lived and worked for 6,000 years, but which is now increasingly forested – only three per cent is used for agriculture.
The Öster family which owns Dalagård welcomes mushroom pickers to the UNESCO designated biosphere area which has high cultural and environmental values.
These photos reveal the beauty of the area and the importance that mushroom and fruit picking has in local peoples’ lives.
Dalagård farm is in the historic Åsgarn valley welcomes mushroom pickers as part of Sweden’s right to roam.
Mushroom and berry picking in Sweden goes back to ancient times; such foods allow Swedes to ensure important vitamins and minerals are part of their diet year round.
Making Birži birch wine in Latvia
The Latvian municipality of Smiltene is home to the world's first sap tree park - home to 32 different types of birch, maple and walnut tree. The project was started by Ervins Lebanovskis who wanted to build a business related to nature and environmental thinking.
It is based at his house 120 kilometres from the capital, Riga. It was there that they came up with the idea to turn their family recipe for birch sap wine into a thriving business. Birch wine is considered Latvia’s third national drink, after beer and miestiņš a sweet lightly alcoholic home brew made from honeycombs.
The business is really ‘green’ as there is no need for pesticides or mechanisation – just one small hole needs to be drilled to harvest sap.
The local community also benefits from the project as during harvesting season farmers collect their own birch water and bring it. It’s an additional way for them to earn money without cutting the trees that they otherwise would have.
Ervins moved his family to be more in touch with the land, he wants his family to know where food comes from, what birch sap is and how to produce it.
“In the city, we didn’t see the changing seasons. But here, we don’t only have four seasons, we have hundreds of them: one for each specific flower, berry and fruit.”