Skärva Gård

- The future presented a 300 year old farm


Skärva Gård has got a lot of similarities to a typical cult. Located in an old farmstead with worn but sturdy red buildings, accessible only through a narrow forest path. Led by an incredibly charismatic, silver-haired guide. Small garden fields just outside the door, where young volunteers are weeding the kale, carrots, tomatoes and other crops making it almost self-sustainable.

But that’s pretty much where the similarities stops. There’s nothing fishy going on. Just a pure interest for an alternative living and an unstoppable energy to share it with others. Everyone is welcome to eat a vegetarian buffé at lunch, shop in the all ecological store, stroll through the art exhibitions or join in on one of the cultural events taking place during the year.

- For me, it is a social responsibility, says Henrik Wachtmeister, the silver-haired non-cult leader who six years ago bought took over the responsibility for the family farm.

- I believe that life is about something deeper than the materialistic belongings. I’m trying to learn how everything is connected. There’s a potential in a place like this, the buildings. How can I make this give happiness to others?

In the mid 80’s - when the current farmer in charge chose to leave - Henrik was put in charge for the farm, by his father. At that time, the farm was solely focused on raising bulls and pigs, and growing feed grains.

Gradually, Henrik cut down on the livestock farming on the behalf growing crops for human consumption and turned the farm one hundred percent ecological, removing both pesticides and non-natural fertilisers used before.

- The fewer animals we got, the more I could take care of each individual. Until only the farm cats remained. Is there any other way than the ecological really? A part of the movement in the world is driven by the opinion that fossil fuels and climate change is not sustainable. That’s not why I am doing this. I see this mainly as a human project.

Skärva Gård is surrounded by vast fields and forests. Under an enormous oak tree a group of free range cows have taken shelter from the scorching mid-day sun. They are so close to each other that it is almost impossible to count them. The only thing moving is the big eyes, following you when you pass by.

Across the narrow path over the fields and through the thick forrest where art-pieces of coloured yarn is decorating the crooked branches and balancing on darkened wooden planks over swampy grass, the water from the Baltic Sea hits the rocks. For those longing for a cooling bath when the summer sun is about to set, it is hard to find a better place to watch the act than this.

The farm runs mainly on volunteer work. People from all over the world comes here to work for food and accommodation - some just for a few months, some for years. More often than not, the volunteers find their own opportunities for projects on the farm.

Like Clint, the young man from Johannesburg, that are experimenting with permaculture in the garden. Or the Swedish couple, Anneli and Elliot, that are experimenting with all natural beauty products and in the evenings recording music in one of the huge attics with sloping roofs. Sound from instruments you’ve probably never heard is dancing over the fields after sunset. Or Stephanie, the dutch artist who decided to start her own shiatsu massage studio.

For some, a first look at Skärva Gård might seem like a huge step backwards in time. But maybe it is the complete opposite? Maybe this is where we should be moving towards?