No one knew where we were heading when we bought the old airport building at the island of Værøy. And we still don’t know. But the seeds are planted and they are slowly beginning to sprout.
If you have ever danced under the midnight sun with the ravishing mountains of Nordsida in your back, or climbed the steep tracks up to the Hornet peak to see the clouds roll inn over the mainland. If you have stepped off the ferry in June’s summer twilight and heard the call of the local puffin birds, and the sound of the fishing boats beating softly against the pier. Or shared some of your best memories with magical friends hiking across the island, yes – then you have experienced some of Værøy’s greatest moments, and you will always be coming back to harvest new ones.
Here, the nature is wild and the people are open, honest and grounded. On Værøy’s lands, you will retain the feeling of timelessness, as taken out of the age old bonfires and sagas. On Værøy, the human encounters itself in a mythical state, and the nature is so raw and weathered that only the sustainable survives.
The memories from that summer and the roadtrip up in the 1976 turquoise Volkswagen Transporter ‘Vaiana’ lived long in my being. When Johan and Stine had found an ad about a piece of land for sale on the old airport grounds, I immediately knew that I should channel my energy into it, and invested at once. For if not us, who? And if not now, when? I feel that more and more people from our generation are waking up to the reality that we have to start working for the world we are for. And I like the person I become at Værøy – bare, innocent and alive.
Our projects also reflects one of my innermost questions – can nature conservatism and technology meet in innovative interplay? Can deep ecology be carried forward by technological advances? This is what we are here to figure out.
By creating a platform with the nordic values of community and co-working at the core, we will have prepared the soil for the blossoming of ideas and creativity. A laboratory for local solutions to global sustainability challenges. In accordance with nature.
With the collaborative mindset, the project also becomes an experiment in conflict resolutions and ecological economics. How can forty completely different people work together to support each other’s’ growth? How can we make it work financially? Which heights can we reach? Will the ideas get wings of their own or will they disappear into the frothing waves beating against the rocks in the Northern sea? Will we be able to create local pilot projects and contribute to a thriving economy on the island?
Our first project will be a kitchen, made from an upcycled shipping container. It feels right to start with the kitchen and dining table, which is the heart of any home. The ingredients will come from the island and the ocean, blended with the most important of spices – the people. With an overarching goal of contributing to an authentic culture for how we relate to our inner and outer environment.
My heart burns for taking care of the oceans, and this is where I want to channel my energy. Værøy, in addition to the entire Scandinavian coastline, is facing great challenges with marine pollution, and is lacking the land-based infrastructure for waste management. Every year, local heroes and heroines hit the shores to clean up the most visible damage, and last year over 12,2 tonnes was flown out of the island with helicopters. What if we could create an experience center for receiving and recycling marine waste, run by local youth and other volunteers?
Or what about a second-hand store with home-made Norwegian knits and weave? Værøy-salt, dried seaweed, rose root tincture, driftwood furniture? Arctic gardening! Artist residencies or Aurora Borealis observatory? The ideas are endless, but needs focus, hard work, cooperation and financing to materialize. Will you jump after me, said Jonathan Lionheart to his brother Karl in the Swedish tale about the fantasy world of Nangijala. Do you dare?
Everyone who has contributed to this point has brought their own ideas and perspectives. We are resourceful, more or less professional, and solutions-oriented. With freedom to fail and a common vision of sharing the best of Værøy with the rest of the world. Space to create and give something back to the island and the local community. Because it should feel cosy and warm to work with Værøy Lufthavn. Cosy and fun. Because, as my friend Hanna says, if it is not fun, it is not sustainable. And we will not be able to fly.