The Dilemma and Difficulty of Being an Aid Worker in Ethiopia (or elsewhere)

You may or may not have noticed, but in Ethiopia a generation is protesting towards the ruling party EPRDF, having been in power since in 1991. These days, Ethiopia is mostly in the news for its booming economy, but in the past weeks, dozens if not hundreds of protesters have been killed in protests in […]

Read More

Famine, on stage

In 1994, South African Kevin Carter took a photograph on an assignment in Sudan. In this photograph we see a small child lying on the ground, visibly undernourished and weak, while a vulture stands behind the child, as if stalking it. The photo became an icon. It won a Pulitzer price. We think about famine and […]

Read More

Buggin’ out

Some two years back I was sitting in a car in rural Amhara in Ethiopia when the air suddenly went black. Hundreds upon hundreds locusts, those short-horned grasshoppers, swarmed past us like thick smoke. The locals kept it cool. This happened on a regular basis, I was told, and luckily locusts do not usually cause damage […]

Read More

Book Tips, Part 3

Since moving back to Finland from Ethiopia last September, I’ve been reading a lot of Finnish books, a nice change after being married to my Kindle for two years. However, I still read a lot in English. This time my book tips offer a mix of fiction and non-fiction, old and new. A Brief History […]

Read More

Food security glossary – now in Russian!

Some years back I was working at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Finland. My job was to assist the Senior Advisor for Agriculture and Rural Development. During that time, my boss and I produced a glossary on food security and agriculture concepts in Finnish. Our aim was to bring clarity to some commonly mentioned […]

Read More

Ethiopian Cats in Finland

It’s four in the morning and the city is still very quiet. It will take another four hours for the sun to come up, this time of the year is the darkest. Only two furry feline fuzz balls are awake. One of them looks up to the kitchen counter and jumps. What an endless sea of possibilities, […]

Read More

What’s wrong with our food system?

In the past month, I had the pleasure to be a guest speaker at two different events: the Finnish National Days of Nutrition and Aalto University’s Redesigning Society Course. Both of my talks dealt with global food security challenges. These were two very different audiences, the first one consisting of nutrition specialists and professionals, the second one […]

Read More

A private health insurance for your kid in Finland: yes or no?

Future, especially first-time parents have a lot of decisions to make. One of these decisions concerns insurances. We paid a visit to an insurance company to discuss which ones to take. Our goal for the meeting was to get insurance for the place we live in, an all-year-round travel insurance as well as to ensure some […]

Read More

If you don’t like our food, we have a problem

Here in Finland people are forming their opinions on a hot matter: last night refugees at a Finnish refugee center demonstrated against the quality of food offered to them. This is an interesting case of culture clashes, expectations and hidden norms. First challenge: Finnish people, since their childhood, are taught not to complain about food and to […]

Read More

Foodycle, part 3: Insect food, urine farming, farmers’ visions…

Two years ago our association Ruoan tulevaisuus (Future of Food) started Foodycle, a transdisciplinary food festival open and free for all. Foodycle brings together scientists, activists, producers and entrepreneurs. It is a place for sharing ideas for more just and functional food systems. This year Foodycle graduated into its third year of existence! It was organized at Helsinki […]

Read More