Island Stories 2018 / The Plantation

With a background as a craftsman as well as a social welfare worker, it was an obvious idea for Bertil Ekstrøm to start an apple orchard on Bornholm as a social project for vulnerable people.

Bertil Ekstrøm in his plantation, Svaneke

Inspired by his many holidays in France where juice and ciders are made from apples, he launched the Bornholm Cider Mill with support from European Social Fund in 2006.

Later, the cider mill became such a success that the local authorities sold it off. But the Svaneke plantation lives on and is today an organic market garden that supplies vegetables and berries to the local restaurants and private customers with help from a staff of 40 individuals in rehabilitation. An effort that has, in later years, earned him several rewards.

“It is very meaningful to work with soil and plants. Knowing where the things you eat come from means everything. People behave more responsibly when they’ve had their own fin­g­ers in the soil. "

One important aspect of the work on the plantation is also to manage the more than 25 beehives. The bees are crucial as they pollinate the fruit trees of the plantation, and their honey is sold from the small road stall and to a selection of local restaurants and supermarkets. To Bertil Ekstrøm and his colleagues on the plantation, working with the bees is an important exercise of concentration, as it takes precision and a lot of calm to avoid getting stung.