Horta2020 Hollola is the world’s biggest event for foraging, picking, cooking and eating wild edible plants (Greek word for this is ”horta”). Lecturers are among the leading ones in the world, from Scandinavia, Russia, Europe and USA. Over 6000 visitors are expected.

Why this event is held in Finland?

The whole of Finland is just crazy about foraging wild plants, over 20 % of the adult population do it. Extensive everyman’s rights allow, even you from abroad, to forage most plants (not from trees or roots) also on private lands further away from houses. The season for edible wild plants lasts, depending on the location, from end of April to October.

Because of the nordic location, Finland has the same latitudes as Alaska, the plants in Finland create a unique antioxidant UV light shield for the Nordic sun that never sets in the summer. Thus, additionally with one of the purest air areas in the world, the plants come of as hight quality as they can!

Sustainable event

The special theme of the event this year is ”less than zero co2” because foraging wild plants as nutrition a few steps from your home could not be more climate friendly! As a special project to fight the climate change, a concept of Horta Park is presented in the Event. This offers designated Horta picking areas in the central park areas of every city open for public use, guided foraging. This will add to the diversity of nature and reduce the use of petrol machines for cutting grass in the parks. These areas also act as carbon sinks when they are let to grow wild.

The World’s first designated Horta Park is in Lahti with European Green Capital Award, EGCA. The event itself will also be arranged with sustainable principles including reduced waste and energy use, recycling and giving free parking to those who offer ride to other visitors from the same direction joining in their car.

Why Hollola as the location of this event?

The Event will be organized in Hollola municipality in Lahti Region in the South of Finland in the divine lake district. The area is famous for its huge ground water reserves as a result of glacier movement piling up long gravel ridges (future Geopark area) Hollola is situated at the south end of over 100 km long lake Päijänne. Messilä Manor House, the Event centre, has been a sustainable, absolute no-glyphosate zone, from the beginning. In the event area, there are abundant grounds for foraging, fishing, trekking and accommodation in traditional log houses. Without the extensive support from the municipality of Hollola, this event would not have been possible.

Event program

The event lasts for two days and has multiple themes for the public sector, sustainable tourism, Horta product developers, wellness themes and restaurant branch. How to safely, inspiringly and profitably use edible wild plants within these sectors. There will be talks given by about 60 top lecturers from many different countries.

Every half an hour groups will be taken to the nearby forests and meadows to see what edible treasured the Nature produces there without any activity by humans. At tasting points one gets to experience delicious and innovative wild herb dishes. At the exhibition one can see new food products developed using wild plants, get inspiration and new recipes for one’s own home meals.

Children have their own special Horta points with specially designed program for them. Cherished Finnish speciality, the sauna culture (which will aim to achieve the Unesco heritage status), is presented from wild plants’ point of view in the Messilä Hotel Spa area.

Initiators of the Event

Horta hunters, as they call themselves, Mr Jouko and Mrs Raija Kivimetsä are pioneers in foraging and teaching how to use them. They are authors of the most popular and widely used guide book for Finnish edible plants, Horta Hunter’s Guide Book (in Finnish Hulluna hortaan, 2013). In addition to writing several cook books on horta, Raija, a qualified herbalist, also specialises in the use of wild plants as remedies. Her interest for this side of the plants stems from her grandfather being a herbalist in a long chain of natural healers. 

Jouko got inspiration and knowledge for horta from Crete, from local old ladies in the mountain villages. Jouko is the head initiator and coordinator of the Event. Jouko already started using wild plants widely in a restaurant he established in Tampere 1998. This restaurant was nominated the Lunch Restaurant of the Year 2002. Kivimetsäs’ web page designated for edible wild plants is www.hortoilu.fi. It already started in the beginning of this Millienium and is the number one web address for the growing number of foragers.

Jouko and Raija have organised vocational training program for Horta Trainers who teach newcomers all over Finland. They do the foraging tours in the Event and you can interview them in the main exhibition hall special stand. Their future job will also be guiding people in the specially designed Horta Parks in the centres of cities. They will also be active in Horta Farms, deserted country side small farms turned into productive oasis of wild herbs. This activity will help the desolate villages ease their loss of population.

For more information of the program, lecturers, acquiring a stand at the exhibition, ticket sales, ask by e-mail jouko@hortoilu.fi

Tel. +358 40 556 8880 Mr Jouko Kivimetsä, head coordinator of the event.