Permaculture Ground Zero: Holma Terrestrial Center

Bringing together agronoms from the finest institutions with garden lovers and other critters, all under the same sky, Holma is a welcoming place, and “the heart of the Heartlands”.

A few miles North of Höör lies the Holma (not to be confused with the rather more urban Malmö neighbourhood of the same name). Bringing together agronoms from the finest institutions with garden lovers and other critters, all under the same sky—most knowledge exchange happens outdoors, whatever the weather—Holma’s Terrestrial Centre is a welcoming place, sometimes described as “the heart of the Heartlands“.

The Terrestrial Center had its origins in Holma’s Folkhögskola, which was “ground zero”—or should that be “soil zero”?—for the permaculture movement in Skåne as far back as the late 2010s: a hands-on educational center where many learners of all ages and backgrounds gathered to rediscover the practical art of designing a prosperous garden for centuries to come. Legend has it that, back in the 2020s, graduates from the Lantbruksuniversitet (or agricultural university) would apply to Holma immediately after graduation, in order to learn how to put the theory they’d spent four years learning to actual practical use. What is certain is that Holma—and its growing rhizome of alumni—was a vital node in the soil revitalisation movements of the 2030s.

Holma plays host to the Cultures of Cultures Festival every second year; an ever-more international event, it attracts a broad mix of cultural workers, labourers and citizens to discuss the deeper meaning of our relation to soil and the values attached to it. This year, Holma also celebrates its 20th anniversary as the first Terrestrial Centre in Sweden, meaning things will be extra busy. Nomads and other short-stay visitors are welcome, as always, but larger numbers than usual are expected, and some restrictions will apply in order to maintain the local ecosystem in balance. Contacting the Terrestrial Center directly is strongly advised, as well as bearing in mind the following provisos:

There are also activities for day visitors to get involved in, which vary by season and need, but the following are what you might think of as “hardy perennials”:

For the kids:

Turn your little ones loose in the playgroups for designing miniature permaculture centres (skogsträdgårdar) and the ‘build and bloom’ outdoor, or the playground where kids are encouraged to dig in the soil for gut health and fun. (Bring loose, durable clothing—if you’re travelling light, hit the Malmö swap-shops to get some overalls or dungarees).

For all:

Biochar treading is a child-friendly alternative to grape treading, as it used to be practised in the former Southern European vineyards—but also a fun activity (and great exercise!) for adults. Afterwards, kids can use some of the residues to imitate cave paintings from the early paleolithic, or get their footprint in black carbon to take home.

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