Best rhubarb cake ever. Delicious chocolate cookies. The bakery of Sólheimar ecovillage (House of the Sun) is the reason to make this detour in the south of Iceland. I’m usually not very fond of anything rhubarb, but this was sheer heaven.
As the weather was really bad, we didn’t do anything else there. We just went to the supermarket Vala Market and Art Boutique where we bought the cake and cookies. And a rabbit candle.
But there are of lot of interesting things to do: eg. Sesseljuhús is an educational and exhibition center focused on environmental issues and sustainable development .
But Sólheimar is really interesting, I found out later. It was founded in 1930 (!) by Sesselja Hreindís Sigmundsdóttir as a self-sustainable organic farm and a children’s home (influenced by Rudolph Steiner’s anthroposophy).
She was the first one to go and study in Europe how to handle people with special needs. At Sólheimar, she did pioneering work with children having mental and physical disabilities. The kids thrived in the green and creative environment.
Sesselja put the idea of inclusion into practice: children with and without disabilities were living together at Sólheimar. She also believed in diets with a lot of vegetables which was thought to be unhealthy back than.
If you want to know more about Sesselja’s life, her work at Sólheimar and her ideas, you can read about them on the Sólheimar website.
Flowers and chickens
Sesselja did study a lot more than only anthroposophy: gardening, flower cultivation and how to handle poultry. She combined all her passions at Sólheimar.
She leased the land from the Childcare Committee of the Church of Iceland. At first they lived in tents with geothermal heat (yes, they were environmentalists), but after a few months the basement of Sólheimahús was ready to live in.
Of course back in thirties, ecovillages weren’t a hipster thing, but in 1997 Sólheimar became the first sustainable village in Iceland, a title awarded by The Global Ecovillage Network.
At the moment, there are more than 100 residents in Solheimar: disabled people, long-time unemployed people, prisoners and long-term patients … Some of them have lived there for most of their lives.
There are a few businesses and workshops there now: an organic vegetable nursery and forestry, different art and craft workshops (candle-making (I couldn’t resist this rabbit), weaving, organic soap-making, art, ceramics and woodwork), a bakery, café, shop/gallery, guesthouses …
Do you need more inspiration for your trip to Iceland? Check all my posts!