We eat more vegetables in Sweden – but our domestic production does not increase at the same rate.
The vegetable consumption in Sweden has more than doubled during the last decades while our domestic production hasn’t substantially increased. Instead the doubling is covered by imports. The advantages with Swedish vegetables are shorter transportation and the high nutritional value thanks to the many hours of sun during the growing season. High labor costs and Sweden’s short growing season leads to Swedish farmers having a hard time competing with cheap imports.
We believe that taste, nutritional content and sustainability must be part of all food system development. Most plants today are refined primarily considering yield and pest resistance, not the aspect of taste. The need for imported fruit and vegetables decreases, if more vegetables with higher nutritional value are grown in Sweden. Vegetable farming can also be an effective way of utilizing organic waste streams through innovative fertilizer solutions.
Axfoundation operates an experimental garden at Torsåker farm where we evaluate different kinds of farming techniques for new as well as for forgotten crops and several methods for nutrition recovery, for example through insect fertilizers.
Axfoundation tests gastronomically and nutritionally interesting vegetables using economically and environmentally sustainable farming techniques and then share the results. We collaborate with Nordgen – Nordiskt Genresurscenter – which provides us with seeds from crops that used to be grown in Sweden and therefore are adapted to our latitudes. We have for example tested old Swedish potato and bean varieties. We evaluate the produce after they are harvested based on taste and yield, and gather seeds to increase the production.
Axfoundation operates an experimental garden at Torsåker farm where we evaluate different kinds of farming techniques and crops.
During the 2018 growing season we tested the growth of vegetables in fertilizer produced by insects, a widening of the project 5 tonnes of green fish in the counter. Thus we have created a full circle; food waste becomes feed for insects that become feed for farmed fish which become food on our plates, with a by-product in the shape of waste from insects which gives nourishment to garden crops that also end up on our plates.
Axfoundation tested a fertilizer developed by Solserv during the 2019 growing season. Solserv’s compost converts organic waste to fertilizer in 24 hours with the help of microorganisms. The results of the 2020 cultivation were largely used for product development tests. Ahead of the 2021 cultivation season, we plan to expand the cultivations and integrate them even more clearly into Torsåker’s total operations.