Homegrown (ZR)

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zoenylargeInternational Green Week, the biggest agriculture show in the world, and the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture: Food Security through Sustainable Growth – Farming with Limited Resources, a summit for ministers of agriculture from around the world to “define joint approaches to addressing problems” in the lead-up to the Rio+20 (UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro) conference, were held in Berlin in late January. 

The forum focuses on finding ways to produce sufficient food for a growing world population with limited resources while reducing the impact on the environment and this year’s International Green Week, a food, agriculture and horticulture fair, emphasized animal-friendly farming, among other issues. In short, agriculture is once again a hot topic.

I had planned to write about farming in Iceland a couple of weeks ago. I had read that mid-January marked some kind of international week for agriculture or farming (other than the above-mentioned events).

But then news broke that food producers in Iceland had been (apparently unknowingly) using industrial grade instead of food grade salt for years.

This may mean good business for manufacturers of organic food products.

At least one company specializing in organic dairy products has released a statement saying that they have never used industrial salt in any of their products.

I’ve written about fresh food production and organic farming in Iceland in the past and am always excited to see new local products—organic or not—in the shops.

Last summer and autumn were a particular treat with all sorts of vegetables and products, like new leafy green vegetables, locally grown chilies, different varieties of (and colored) carrots and new flavors of organic yoghurt, becoming available (or at least more widely available). 

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During the Reykjavik Real Food Festival, a celebration of Icelandic food and food culture held for the first time last year, a farmers’ market was held in Café Hressó in downtown Reykjavík.

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It was an encouraging sight to see in the city, not exactly known for its outdoor food markets. 

Stallholders proudly displayed their (mostly) local (and in some cases, organic) produce; an assortment of jams, pickles and teas; breads; creamy feta and yellow cumin spiced cheeses; fresh cream; sausages and other meat products; juicy red peppers, lush bunches of kale…

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I can only hope the trend continues, that we see greater transparency in how our food is produced, and that those offering all-round quality products continue to grow in Iceland.

Zoë Robert – zoe_robert3[at]hotmail.com

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.