ICRPS 2019

Day 1:Lapland? Are we going up there?

By Carlos Soto and Hanna Stepani

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The International Comparative Rural Policy Studies (ICRPS) Summer Institute 2019 started on June, 16th in Lapin Yliopisto (University of Lapland). Bringing up the theme “Enhancing Smart Ecosystem in Rural Areas”. This 16th edition of the Summer Institute is focused on food policies, food security, renewable energy, built environments and governance models in remote rural regions. With more than 15 nationalities in the same classroom coming from both developed and developing countries the event welcomed by Timo Aarrevaara and followed by the introduction of the faculty members promised to be both academically enriching and entertaining from the very beginning. Read More>>

Day 2:Comparative perspectives of rural governance

By: Ala’ Dwairi & Carol Torres

The second day focused on comparative perspective of rural governance. After breakfast, we headed to  Kaupungintalo (Rovaniemi city hall) which was designed by the Finnish renowned architect Alvar Aalto. We discussed collaborative governance and its applications in rural regions of Lapland, given that it is the biggest city in Europe area wise. We transitioned to discussing the organization of the governance in the city, the administrative process and funding opportunities. Clearly the city is succeeding in promoting itself as a touristic destination to draw attention and funds. Nonetheless, they are facing many challenges in the decision-making process, specially that the decisions are made on a city level but have to approved regionally. Read More

Day 3:Field Trip – Lappia Institute and Brewery

By: Laura Brenes Peralta and Kiran Apsunde

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The morning briefing introduced the activities of the day and the characteristics of the area we would visit. The presenter gave us an overview of the statistics for the agricultural sector in Lappia and mentioned there would be about 1400 multipurpose farms composed of agriculture, forestry (berries and mushrooms picking), agro-tourism, and livestock: reindeer, dairy, beef and sheep. There has been changes in time, since there were about 11000 dairy farms in the 60´s and only 300 nowadays amounting the same milk production. Read More>>

Day 5: Transition from a fossil fuel to a green economy: New economic opportunities for rural areas based on bio resources and beyond. Bio products, bio services and land-use conflicts.

By Edoardo Desiderio and Louise Ormstrup Vestergård

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Photo by Carlos Soto and Hanna Stepani

21st of June marks the beginning of Midsummer celebrations in all the Nordic countries. Finland usually celebrate this day with bonfires across the country. As usually the day started with breakfast in the main hall at the University, but contrary to the other mornings we had the university to ourselves as everybody else was on holiday. We have been told that for this peculiar holiday, most Finnish people spend the weekend in their cabins on the seaside, enjoying the celebrations that last a couple of days. Read More>>

Day 6: Free Day

By: Cameron and Marina

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Saturday was Midsummer day in Finland and the first free day, which gave students the opportunity to explore Rovaniemi on their own terms. After a relaxing morning, some classmates and I decided it would be good idea to explore Rovaniemi’s surrounding area on two wheels. We wandered into town and found a shop that rented out fat tire bicycles. If you have never seen one of these bikes before, they are quite something. Picture a regular looking bicycle with motorcycle tires. Hilarious to look at, but quite effective at navigating mud, rocks, sand, and snow (apparently). Read More>>

Day 7: ICRPS 2020 Launched

By: Samira and Louis

Around mid-day, Bill presented the location and theme of next year’s ICRPS Summer Institute at the University of Brandon in Manitoba, Canada. In 2020, ICRPS will look to the “Futures of Rural”, a theme which several students commented is well chosen. Thierno then led us in an evaluation of this year’s ICRPS institute so far. Students shared constructive criticism and feedback for the faculty. Despite Thierno’s insistence that we not withhold any complaints, we all expressed that the past week has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. Read More>>

Day 8: Field Trip: Natural product training center and production environments

By: Teemu Loikkanen and Marc-Antoine Larrivée

This morning, the driver warned us cheerily when we arrived to our bus after a short but delicious breakfast at Felli. The mosquitoes were waiting! We traded stories and legends in the Nordic countries about mosquitoes driving people crazy, not to mention the suffering of poor caribous and reindeers! Once at Kemijärvi vocational school, we headed to the woods and separated into three groups to do some plants and herbs picking. One group picked young dandelion leaves (Taraxacum officinale)  and yarrow (Achillea millefolium), a second group picked fireweed or great willow herb (Epilobium angustifolium) and the last group picked nettle leaves (Urtica dioica). Read more>>

Day 9:Where are you from? Where are you headed? – Exploring education, social justice and indigenous groups in comparative rural areas

By: Ashleigh Weeden and Román Sánchez-Dávila

Dr. Philomena de Lima, the Director of the Centre for Remote and Rural Studies at the University of the Highlands and Islands at Inverness College in Scotland started us off with a lecture about rural migration in Europe, specifically the United Kingdom. She challenged us to rethink the concept of migration through the experiences of migrants instead of the view of employers. Following this, Dr. Lidia Carvajal shared insights on Mexican migration – including some illuminating statistics about the size and impact of remittance transfers sent by Mexican migrants working in the United States – in comparison, these remittances are far more than from any other country.  Read More>>

Day 10-Rural development policies

By:Dan Yuhasz, Lindsey Lunsford, Megi Zala

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The morning classroom session started with a presentation of Bianca Cavicchi, a researcher in Bioenergy and Bioeconomy, from Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research. Cavicchi presented a case study of Regional Bioeconomy Development from Emilia Romagna Region (Italy). After the economic crisis in Italy, a new approach was initiated in the Region in order to create new jobs for unemployed farmers and locals by creation Bio-gas plants. A complex situation was created due to lack of information and engagement from the community. Read more>>

Day 11: Santa Claus Village

By: JosepTomàs Porres; Kara Woods; Jessica ferris

Our 11th day in Lapland, Finland was an incredible day. We visited the Santa Claus Village (which straddles the line of the Arctic Circle), listened to lectures about reindeer herding and tourism in the region, and finished the day at a traditional Finnish Sauna. The day started with Kirsi Muuttoranta’s presentation on reindeer herding as a livelihood and talked about her experiences as a female reindeer herder and the trends and challenges reindeer herders face in Nordic regions today. Read more>>