Sip a cappuccino while greeting a sheep. In Oslo, the coffee bar and sheep farm literally go hand-in-hand.
Text: Julie Nordby Egeland
We’re in the middle of central Oslo, and we’re standing in a pile of muck. Only three minutes from the subway station, ten minutes from the central train station, there’s no buzzing or honking to be heard.
All we can hear is the sound ringing of a bell sheep, a pig grunting and the occasional – and surprisingly loud – hee-haw from the donkey, grassing behind us.
This is life at Kampen Organic Children's farm, a place where animals, vegetables and herbs live side by side with pavements, taxies and traffic lights.
“We want the place to be an urban yet rural respite”, says Maria Sivertsen, environmental worker at the farm, while being embraced by her curious dog Mio. We arrive at the farm carrying take away coffee. They are still hot, as we bought them just a block away at one of the nearby coffee shops.
But there’s no time for slurping hot drinks when you’re greeted by the whole of Noah’s Ark. Anton the alpaca, Grizzly the mini pig, Rezi the sheep, Tussi the donkey and Blakken the horse, all want to say hello.
With cappuccino in one hand and a woolly animal in the other – the scenery feels kind of unreal: In no time, city chic has been replaced by city sheep.
While visiting the tiny city farm, make sure to take a ride (on the horse of course, not in a taxi) around the corners of Kampen, Oslo's wooden village. Try the farm’s Norwegian waffles or make your own pizza in the garden’s pizza oven. If the season is right, you can even join the potato harvesting.
“You know, it´s not all about petting the animals or eating waffles”, Maria says. “Since we´re located in the middle of the city, we always bear in mind that our visitors don’t know much about farm life. So we always bring a little education into the visit”, she says and laughs.
The young farmer is in no doubt that a visit to the farm is just as enjoyable for adults as children: “Sometimes, all people need is to sit down quietly in a garden bed, minding their own business while weeding. We give them the space do to just that”.
In addition to the farm at Kampen, Oslo has a number of visitor’s farms open all year round. To be a “farmer in town” is no longer an insult. As the 'think local' awareness grows, entrepreneurs plow their way to make agriculture an integral part of urban life.
Over 20 urban garden areas with more than 700 parcels sprout in the midst of the city. Back yards, city roofs and even the smallest of balconies are used as playgrounds for radish or rhubarb lovers. The Norwegian capital has even built a “bee-highway” filled with flowers and greens to protect endangered bees.
Photo: Mikael Lunde
In other words, Oslo is a living proof that there are no grey areas for green fingers.
At Bjørvika, with Oslo Opera House and the great skyline as its nearest neighbors, a fruitful field pops up like a tropical island in the middle of a building site.
Here, at Losæter, the future is not only bright. It´s also green.
“The idea is to inspire. When people see what we can do with nature here – right next to a railroad – they might get some ideas of how to make the best of what they have at home, and their own little green flecks in the city”, head farmer at Losæter, Andreas Capjon, says.
Coming from all over Norway, 50 farmers have contributed with topsoil to make the growing conditions as good as possible for corn, vegetables and herbs. The corns will be used in a soon-to-be-finished bakery house on site, open for all those who want to taste, or even make their own, sourdough bread.
But it’s not only seeds growing at the green patch.
“We want it to be a permanent, social area for both food production and art, where culture and people meet in a new way”, Amy Franceschini, artist in Futurefarmers art project in Bjørvika explains.
With the Munch Museum nearby, Losæter strives to bring art and culture to life – but in a different manner, as farmer Andreas puts it: “We don´t need a museum to soak up culture, we can grow it”.
Southern Aas Farm
Kampen Organic Children's farm
Losæter at Bjørvika
Bygdø Royal Manor
EKT Riding School and Animal Park
Northern Lindeberg Farm
Evita Espressobar Sørenga
The Norwegian white sheep, which incidentally can be black or brown, is the most common sheep breed in Norway. Here are the five Norwegian sheep breeds you most likely encounter while travelling in Norway. (Sau means sheep in Norwegian).
Source and pictures: Norsk Sau og Geit
From the laid-back life of Southern Norway to the breathtaking beauty of Lofoten, our sheep have the best views in Norway.
Between the Oslofjord and the forests lies Norway’s capital and largest city, with its vibrant social scene and special combination of nature experiences and city life.