Did you know that the forest can be found in every aspect of your everyday life, from food packaging to the latest fashion? On 12-13 June, VA took the opportunity to bring the forest into the suburbs of Stockholm and to talk about the bioeconomy with visitors at Järvaveckan, a political festival that this year attracted more than 50,000 people.
During the festival, the EU BLOOM bioeconomy project hosted an exhibition tent and programme of talks to highlight how the forest can be found in our everyday lives, how it might be used in the future, and opportunities for working within the bioeconomy to create a circular economy and sustainable future.
There was a constant stream of visitors of all different ages and occupations to BLOOM’s forest tent throughout the first two days of the festival. In the tent, people could touch a real tree alongside various things that were made entirely or partly out of forest-based materials, including clothes, chewing gum, sausage skins, dish cloths, tampons and sequins. Many of the visitors had questions about Swedish forests and were amazed at all the things that can be made out of a tree. Using ”forest-based” VR glasses, visitors of all ages also enjoyed stepping into a Swedish forest in a 360 degree film whilst bird song played in the background.
Visitors could also learn what it is like to have a forest-related job through short informal talks, given by people who work with the forest in different ways.
Maria Grånemo, who is studying for her hunting licence at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU, talked about ”My future job – the forest!”, why she is training to become a forester and what it involves. She also talked about how she views the bioeconomy and the role of the Swedish forest in the future.
”From the forest to the catwalk” was the focus of a talk by Malin Viola Wennberg, communications manager at Mistra Future Fashion, RISE. She spoke about the impact the textile industry is having on the climate and how it is vital to transition to a bioeconomy and circular economy to create a better world. The textile industry is an important player and we can all take responsibility for ensuring it heads in the right direction.
The award-winning filmmaker Sverker Johansson, Bitzer Productions, talked about how he has got involved with the forest through his communications work and becoming a qualified hunter. In a talk on ”The role of the forest today and in the future”, he stressed the importance of talking about the forest and that there are no simple solutions for Swedish forests. We want to use trees in so many different ways but there just won’t be enough.
Josefin Illergård, a researcher and communicator at KTH and Treesearch, showcased “New materials from the forest” and talked about all the research that is taking place to develop new ways of using bio-based products for a sustainable future.
Preeti Gahlawat, a teacher at Rödaberga School and a member of the BLOOM school network, talked about ”BLOOM in School”. She explained how she has been involved in developing teaching materials and lab experiments relating to the bioeconomy in collaboration with teachers around Europe. She stressed the importance of getting young people to understand that the bioeconomy is part of our everyday lives and that we all have different views on what it encompasses and means in different countries around the world.
Both days finished with an informal networking event in our forest bar where visitors could taste spruce tip syrup and spruce tip jam while talking about the forest and bioeconomy with us.
The next Swedish public event that we will be promoting the forest and bioeconomy at is European Researchers’ Night on 27-28 September. The BLOOM project is also participating in the EU Regional Committee’s ”European Week of Regions and Cities” in Brussels on 7-10 October.
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Many thanks to our partners for their support at Järvaveckan: Aditya Birla Domsjö, Bitzer Productions, Jobbforum Lidingö Stad, Naturskyddsföreningen, RISE, Rödabergsskolan, Skogsindustrierna, Stora Enso, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Södra, Treesearch, Umbilical design and Weekday.