A long, fond look at Norwegian agriculture

Syn og Segn 3/2019

Norwegian quarterly ‘Syn og Segn’ warns against the rise of agribusinesses: how to realize Norway’s potential for self-subsistence? Also, Iceland’s president Guðni Jóhannesson on the republic’s constitutional system.

Norway is guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2019 (16–19 October), so we dedicated our 18/2019 review to our Norwegian partner journals. Eurozine will be in Frankfurt, co-exhibiting with the municipality of Bergen, to promote the cultural journals’ network. We are organising a panel at the Book Fair’s series of talks, the ‘Weltempfang’ on how to ‘break the bad news’ of climate crisis on Thursday, 17 October, 3-4 pm on the main stage.

In a focus on Norwegian agriculture, contributors to the quarterly Syn og Segn are concerned by the trend away from small, locally adapted farms towards larger, fewer and more specialized agribusinesses. All share the perception that locally rooted, small-scale farming enterprises are valuable, in a human as well as an environmental sense – Erik Halvorsen’s title is ‘Yellow carrots and the two-degree limit’ – and should receive political support and public recognition in order to shift the emphasis away from industrialized farming.

Love of the land

Halvorsen and also Sigrid Sørumgård Botheim, Astrid Brekken and Magni Kristin Moe Westgård write about their love of the land, animals and rural communities. Siri Helle enumerates praiseworthy, locally produced foods: ‘the luxuries that should be everyday fare.’ And Torbjørn Tufte argues for making agriculture central to the national economy: ‘the time has come for guarding agricultural land and thus guaranteeing Norway’s potential for producing its own food.’


In an interview with Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson, president of Iceland, we learn something about the history and strong constitutional role of the Icelandic presidency. Iceland has had two changes of government in three years; Jóhannesson – formerly an academic historian – comments that ‘it was useful that I knew a great deal about the position and could intervene should it be necessary’. He goes on to discuss his interest in family cohesion, support for effective mental health care and concern for identity issues: ‘nowadays, around ten percent of Icelanders are born outside the country’.

This article is part of the 18/2019 Eurozine review. Click here to subscribe to our reviews, and you also can subscribe to our newsletter and get the bi-weekly updates about latest publications and news on partner journals.

More articles from Syn og Segn in Eurozine; Syn og Segn’s website

Published 11 October 2019
Original in English
First published by Eurozine

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