The Plantation / Island Stories 2018

For Bertil Ekstrøm, the green plantation is not just a vision of growing organic and sustainable vegetables for many of Bornholm's best restaurants. It also serves as the framework for a fantastic socio-economic project, creating hope and meaning for all parts involved.

Bertil Ekstrøm in his plantation, Svaneke

With a background as a craftsman as well as a social welfare worker, it was an obvious idea for Bertil Ekstrøm to start an apple orchard on Bornholm as a social project for vulnerable people.

Inspired by his many holidays in France where juice and ciders are made from apples, Bertil Ekstrøm launched the Bornholm Cider Mill with support from European Social Fund in 2006.

Later, the cider mill became such a success that the local authorities sold it off. But the Svaneke plantation lives on and is today an organic market garden.

The plantation supplies vegetables and berries to the local restaurants and private customers with help from a staff of 40 individuals in rehabilitation. An effort that has, in later years, earned Bertil Ekstrøm several rewards.

“It is very meaningful to work with soil and plants. Knowing where the things you eat come from means everything"

– It is very meaningful to work with soil and plants. Knowing where the things you eat come from means everything. People behave more responsibly when they’ve had their own fingers in the soil. It is our responsibility to pass on this message. We have to respect Mother nature. We all have to remember that we are only temporary tenants on earth, and that one day the next generation will take over.

One important aspect of the work on the plantation is also to manage the more than 25 beehives. The bees are crucial as they pollinate the fruit trees of the plantation, and their honey is sold from the small road stall and to a selection of local restaurants and supermarkets.

"It can be pure mediation to work on a plantation like this one"

To Bertil Ekstrøm and his colleagues on the plantation, working with the bees is an important exercise of concentration, as it takes precision and a lot of calm to avoid getting stung.

– It can be pure mediation to work on a plantation like this one. Seeing our employees react positively and get better by working here makes me really happy. It makes such sense.