Losæter: Urban farming in Oslo

It takes a village ...

Urban farming at Losæter


On the edge of Oslo's city centre where the Alna river meets the fjord, is an area called Bjørvika. In 2013 Future Farmers along with the Flatbread Society raised a temporary bakehouse to host public programs related to art and urban food production. Soil from 50 farmers throughout Norway was transported to this area creating the beginning of a cultural grain field. On that day Losæter, Oslo's first city garden, was given its name.

Urban farming at Losæter
Urban farming at Losæter
Photo: Losæter

Today about 400 people are involved in the Losæter project, all from different areas in the community. Students, herbalists, bakers, beekeepers, farmers and volunteers of all kinds continue to help develop and create a special community. 

When you walk around the grounds almost every surface area is covered in planting boxes full of lush vegetables, herbs, flowers, chickens, beehives, a bakehouse and community area for gatherings down the hill.

The bakehouse at Losæter
The bakehouse at Losæter
Photo: Losæter


Losæter is run by a full-time farmer, Andreas Capjon. His passion, dedication and teachings has made this city garden continue to thrive and grow attracting a very supportive community. "City farming is different, you need everyone's help and all hands on deck", Andreas stated. 

Urban farming at Losæter
Urban farming at Losæter
Photo: Losæter


In the summer months every Wednesday night anyone is welcome to join the community dinner. People gather at 5 p.m. to harvest vegetables and then prepare for dinner. Everyone joins in. Andreas wants to create a community through this plot of land.

Bringing people together through food can do just that. "We want people to come and feel it," he says. It's not just about showing up, it's about being a part of the entire process and connecting to the food and those who take part in the project.

The community dinners held at Losæter have been a success. 20–90 people come each week to participate. A small donation is welcomed at the end of the evening to purchase the necessities like butter, oil and sea salt.

Urban farming at Losæter
Urban farming at Losæter
Photo: Losæter


Down the hill from the bakehouse is a small shed, tables, an outdoor stove and chickens.

Everyone is taking part in something. Flowers and herbs are being picked for the salads, freshly harvested vegetables are being chopped, potatoes and beets are boiling on the stove and the chickens roam in their cage nibbling on leftover greens from harvesting.

Casual conversations flow between friends and strangers. Children take part in everything in between playing in the dirt. Those who want to are welcome to bring additional food or drinks.

Everyone is welcome here. You don't need to know anything about food or farming. It is the perfect place to be a guest, volunteer or student as there is a lot to learn.

Urban farming at Losæter
Urban farming at Losæter
Photo: Losæter


A typical community Wednesday evening meal at Losæter consists of beautiful salads full of mixed garden greens topped with fresh flowers with simple, flavourful vinaigrettes, raw and boiled vegetables, sautéed herbs, cheeses, bread, and local cured meats.

After about an hour or so, depending on the amount of people that show up, the food is ready. An announcement is made and people queue up, fill their plates and sit at one of the two long tables. A few minutes into the dinner, Andreas gives a small talk and welcomes everyone. A dishwashing station is set up on one of the benches before the meal. Every part of the dinner is well thought out and organised.

There is always more work to do outside of these dinners. Those who participate and spend more time at Losæter will gain a greater appreciation for the food that is grown.

It takes a village to keep this project going. Thanks to the dedicated community that supports it, it has been a huge success. As more interest grows in Oslo, urban gardens will continue to thrive throughout the city.

Urban farming at Losæter
Urban farming at Losæter
Photo: Losæter

 

Written by Megan Guertner 

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