Today, the forest berry value chain is long and international. Local berry picking and processing have almost disappeared and have instead been replaced by foreign berry pickers in collaboration with large wholesalers. There is a national market for forest berries, but to get this value chain to develop further we need to tackle a series of challenges.
To show that the berry industry can change, FAIRCHAIN has developed a special app. The app was developed by RISE to be used for mapping berry fields and, via digital models made by SLU, we can help berry pickers predict which areas have a high yield of berries.
During the first part of 2022, FAIRCHAIN also devoted itself to finding partners who want to do tests with picking, cleaning and selling berries, in a new concept that we call “Bär-i-bygden” (Berries in the Village). The purpose of Bär-i-Bygden is to engage with the local population in Bjurholm, a small municipality in northern Sweden. The idea is to use Bjurholm as a kind of geographically limited demo site to test how we can create co-learning and engagement around berries. In September, we organized a berry festival in Bjurholm.
The aim was to get more people to see the possibilities with our wild berries, to create more cooperation in the area and, in this way, bring more creative product development around berries and berry processing. Over 400 people participated in the event.
Text and Image contributed by Alexander Walhberg, RISE