What Lincolnshire can learn from Bornholm

Bornholm, known as Denmark’s Food Island, has a remarkable and vibrant network of small food producers.

I spent a week at a summer school there, thinking about food, innovation and place-making. Here are five leaves I think we could take from their book:

AHeritage-Gourmet Partnership

A mutually beneficial partnership between the Agricultural Museum and Gourmet Bornholm (local producer network), and led to a dramatic increase visitor attendance at the Museum and the development of Madkulturhus (Food Culture House), with around 300 events each year, including Apple Day which attracts ~2500 guests in September. 

The social cooking, social dining, events and educational opportunities at Madkulturhus and associated gatherings at members’ sites have fostered further collaborations among producers, such as shared study trips, direct trade among producers, and taking each other’s products to markets elsewhere in Denmark.

Land for innovation

Part of this partnership includes a land-based opportunity to eco-entrepreneurs and new entrants to sustainable farming, by offering an acre of land close to Madkulturhus at a peppercorn rent to applicants with a plan for using the land in an experimental or innovative way towards sustainable food production.

Participants are encouraged to work together, and have the opportunity to use the land in the long term, enabling agro-forestry and silviculture projects, and long term investments in the land and soils, as well as seed saving projects.

Sea buckthorn

You’ve probably seen sea buckthorn growing wild on the Lincolnshire coast, but Hostet is a sea buckthorn farm!

The bright orange berries – though sharp when eaten straight off the bush – are very nutritious (​​vitamins, anti-oxidants and omega fatty acids) and tasty (think jams, syrups, juices, schnapps, granita).

The plants are grown organically, and don’t require additional fertiliser since the plants are nitrogen-fixing, and all parts of the plant are used, from oil used  in soap and skincare products to animal feed.

If you thought it was just a prickly seaside weed, think again!

Local school dinners

Nexo school is like the Washingborough Academy of Bornholm, with a school leadership team committed to nourishing food for pupils and a fantastic, hands-on food education.

The school kitchen garden teacher and the chef are key players. They also have a close relationship with local farmers: Bornholm Food is a co-operative of 15 growers who are working together on experimental growing of sustainable food crops, including plant-based proteins such as lentils.

The school chef commits to buying it for school meals, and is confident that the children, who eat vegetarian on two days a week, are happy to eat it.

Nexo School Greenhouse

This article is published in the Lincoln Independent September 2022

Thank you Ticky!

Ticky Nadal is stepping down from her role as Food Partnership Coordinator at the end of March, to focus more on her work at Board Director at Mint Lane CIC. Ticky has done so much for the Food Partnership, especially working with foodbanks and community larders across the county; reducing food waste; championing healthy diets and local producers; and forging…

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A Lincolnshire Breadbasket

I was recently in a meeting about agri food, when an academic said to me – Laura, remember that farmers don’t really have that much to do with food. At first I was taken aback, but there is a sense in which selling a crop into a global commodity market does create a fairly stunning disconnect between farmer and food,…

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Notes from the Tamar Valley

Food Partnership Coordinator, Laura Stratford, made a research trip to the Tamar Valley, an area of the country where the Open Food Network is being used to great effect, to see if Lincolnshire might take a leaf from their book… Accessing Local Food Lincolnshire produces a huge proportion of the nation’s food.  But if we, as Lincolnshire residents, want to…

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