Ever been to a Nordic Permaculture Festival? If you haven’t been then get inspired:

In August 2022 the Nordic Permaculture Festival was held in Finland for the 2nd time. Venue was the Kurjen Ecovillage and Rautiala festive house in Vesilahti, close to Tampere. Already on Thursday a bunch of people joined for a potluck, bringing food from their homes and sharing with others. What a feast of foods and discussions.

Starting it up – Friday

On Friday the weather was very windy but nevertheless Lumia, she was the leader of the organisation team, opened the festival and the lectures. The 130 to 160 participants, depending on the amount of day tickets included, could choose between 3 to 4 simultaneous sessions of different topics throughout the day, from Fermentation with Kai Vaara to Food forests with Anton Nordqvist to the Permaculture design tool box with Cathrine Dolleris, and so many more. Our little participants, the children had their own children’s program crafted by Maggie and Hanna. Diversity is key – no matter what age! Not to forget that everyday started with a Yoga session held by Jennifer Gardenia (if you were able to get out of bed early in the morning).

Continuation – Saturday

Due to a well water shortage I had to bring up a topic of concern on Saturday morning: “If it is yellow let it mellow, if it is brown flush it down.” The teaching, listening, discussing, get to know each other continued. And besides all that, thanks to Rosabella, we got a party in the evening with very interesting and inspiring bands / artists going. And not to forget: the sauna. I enjoyed sauna with friends. Still don’t quit understand the Finnish tradition that sauna has to be heated for the person who feels cold, even at 90°C – while all the others have to leave due to the heat. Nevertheless: lectures, food, friends, sauna and party – what a marvellous combination (not necessarily in that order).

Finishing – Sunday

Saturday night rain kicked in and temperature dropped. But it seemed like everyone was fresh on Sunday morning – probably thanks to coffee. The lectures continued until after lunch. For a closing session Suvi Tiihonen performed a wonderful song about permaculture and Selma Kilpi instructed us to sing and dance. And then, it was time to say good bye. See you next year in Norway. Oh, I forgot my own lecture about Biogas. I showed two chapters of my forthcoming move: “Holy Shit”.

Statistics and why volunteers matter

At the end some numbers: 12 core volunteers volunteered each for about 50 hours (some more some less) before the festival. That is 600 hours in total. If we take a freelancers hourly rate of 35 € that would account for 21.000 € in total. If we split that on all tickets sold, which were about 120, this would add 175,- € on top of the 125,- € / ticket. We shouldn’t forget the volunteers volunteering during the festival (thank you very much!). Each of them, 14 in total, working for about 14 hours during the festival. This makes a total of 196 hours or 6860 €. Which would add another 57 € to the ticket. Without volunteers a normal camping ticket would have cost 352,- €. Besides the marvellous work of the team I found it sometimes disrespectful how volunteers got treated by some visitors, especially the condescending demeanour towards our cigarette smoking team mates. You don’t have to approve of cigarette smoke but you still have to treat the smokers respectfully. We are permaculturists. It’s Earth and People care and Fair share.

What’s next?

The discussions were brewing heavily during the festival and it got announced that there will be a Finnish Permaculture Festival every other year, which would mean – in 2024. The existing connections deepened, new connections established, new topics, new thoughts, new friends – What else would someone want? Or as Suvi asked us: What is the answer to all our problems? → Permaculture!

Photos can also be found on Dominik's site.