Sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichoke) seldomly develops mature seeds in Norway. A few years ago Stephen Barstow therefore contacted Paolo Gaiardelli, an Italian plant enthusiast you can come across in various plant-related forums on Facebook, to ask if he could help cross artichoke varieties. It is the variety ‘Day neutral’ that has been the starting point, due to its unique day neutrality property. The goal has especially been to achieve a variant with straight shape that is also day neutral. Since 2016, Bi-O has worked with trial cultivation of seeds from this project, and we have now selected 12 varieties for trial cultivation in Lavangnes near Harstad.
Partnership for new Sunchokes suitable for the north
Our new partners in the north first contacted Bi-O in the usual way to buy ‘Day Neutral’, and then the dialogue developed and we found out that here we have an exciting match. They present themselves as follows:
Lavangsnes Wunderkammer is a place for contemporary art with a sculpture park, artist residence, exhibitions, courses and other events, at the end of a 25km long cul-de-sac in Troms county. A wunderkammer is a crossroads, where claims and questions from different disciplines are collected and presented, of which contemporary art is one. Here they meet each other, and a wide audience. The cultural landscape will be the arena for surprise and challenge.
The starting point for Lavangsnes Wunderkammer is a disused agricultural plot. The property extends from 100m shoreline, 1000m up a steep hill, to a bog of 300 m.o.h. Selma Köchling and Vidar Laksfors, who started the project in 2017, make this terrain accessible again, with the help of grazing animals, logging and agriculture. Sculptures and installations are gradually placed in the opening landscape. The sheep keep the vegetation down, and the area passable. At the same time, the animals are an attraction in themselves. The aesthetics of what people find, create, are interested in and need, should have a place to be and be seen.
We are very much looking forward to a collaboration with Bi-O, and to using a piece of the sculpture park to create a test field for growing new Jerusalem artichoke varieties.
We are also really looking forward to this collaboration!
Photo on top: Lavangsnes Wunderkammer: Two mangalits pigs mill through a 30 cm thick blanket of grass roots. Selma Köchling picks out the living roots that remain. Here, there will be experimental fields for 12 new Sunchoke varieties.