My Opening Speech at the Nordic Joint Stand area at BioFach 2010

Hyvät kuulijat…

The Danish opening speaker Evald Vestergaard spoke Danish and Mona Hedenskog spoke Swedish so I of course started my speech in Finnish. I could see the Finnish listeners laughing and the others also laughing in confusion. Well, I did switch to English after the first few sentences…
Ladies and Gentlemen
Back in 1997 the Nordic countries was region of the year at BioFach. After that we have drifted apart even though there has been discussions about a Nordic joint stand almost every year. Not until 2009 did Finland and Sweden join forces with a joint stand area in Hall 3. Now in 2010 all four Nordic countries are together under “Nordic Organics”. I think there are many good reasons to do so. We have a common culture, values and history… Some might add language to the list but as we noticed in the beginning of my speech, there might be some problems there. Finnish is a totally different language. But some theories say that 2000 years ago the population in all Nordic countries spoke Finnish, before the germanic languages came from the south – so actually there was a common language.
To continue the list: the pure nature and harsh climate are an important part of the Nordic climate. Of course in more northern parts of Norden – like Finland – this is more true than in the more southernly parts. Farming systems are similar and the food culture. And the high percentage of organic farming in all Nordic countries not to mention the well developed organic market especially in Denmark and Sweden. Looking from other parts of the world Nordic countries have a strong positive image that we should use to our advantage.
The Nordic stand area also gives us opportunities to know each other better, strengthen the Nordic network and to do more business together.
The Nordic Restaurant and Tapas bar is this years great achievement and we expect a lot of it. We are very pleased with the cooperation with the Danish Food Council and the funding from the Nordic Council. Especially pleased I am about the funding we received from the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, which was arranged with astonishing flexibility and speed and enabled us to have also Finland’s ambassador chef Kim Palhus here with us presenting New Nordic Food (Ny Nordick Mat) with a Finnish kick.
Have a great Nordic BioFach 2010!

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