At the end of July, the Biketour stayed for two days at Kampetorp, an eco-village in Sweden really close to the southern border of Norway.
Getting there was a nightmare – steep gravel roads at about 10°C and heavy rain. But when we arrived we were welcomed to stay in a cosy little red house heated by a fire stove.
Kampetorp is a clearing in the middle of the forest where a group of (about 10?) young people have started to live in a communal and sustainable way. People live mostly as families in their own houses, and there is not much of a communal structure (apart from owning the land as a group). Some people grow vegetables, some keep animals, there is a communal sauna, and there is a communal production of firewood from the forest belonging to the project. When they bought the land, there was only a small red house there; by now they’ve built a lot of impressively nice and big houses and small cabins – all by themselves! Even the wood comes from their own forest, was dried and then cut by the neighbour’s saw into planks and beams. One thing that’s interesting to see is that in the glacial landscape of Scandinavia, there is no need to build a foundation when you want to build a house – just sweep the forest ground a bit and a big rock will come to the surface, and all you need to do is to drill a whole and screw the basic beams of your house into it (you can see it on the photos).
In return for the hospitality of our hosts, we helped cutting and storing the firewood, and cleaning some of the communal areas. We also had some nice music-making and sauna evenings together.
Close to Kampetorp there is an amazing beach, where we did some swimming and a Rhythms of Resistance drumming workshop.
We also did a workshop about all the different arguments for veganism, followed by a long discussion about the topic. One outcome of the discussion was that in the past years (since 2012), veganism has been an essential part of the Biketour, and some participants continued to be vegan after having practiced it for several weeks on the tour. This year, it seems that because of all the freegan (dumpster-dived non-vegan) food, veganism isn’t such a present topic, and many people participate in the tour for several weeks without learning anything about veganism, which is a pity. Also, freegan and vegan things get mixed up sometimes (such as the communal knife being used for cheese and then put into the jam), which is annoying for people who are strictly vegan. As a result, we decided to have only vegan food in the communal cooking area and put non-vegan things in a separate space, to establish vegan food as the “norm” and to avoid the mixing of both. (Hopefully we will publish the other outcomes of the workshop here in a separate blogpost.)
At the end there were some tensions because we were asked to pay for some of the facilities that we had used, which we hadn’t been told beforehand, and because some individuals felt like the cleaning that we did was not sufficient. Situations like this happen sometimes on the Biketour, but overall I’m pretty sure that the people of Kampetorp enjoyed our visit, and for us it was two nice relaxing days in the quietness of a Scandinavian forest.