background of this project
has always had a special love for islands. Islands
of all kinds, - from the largest to the smallest, inhabited as well as
desert, but all with sheep, the Original Sheep of the Nordic Countries. (Nordic
Sheep on green islands surrounded by Blue Ocean. Greenland to the west, Lofoten Islands to the north, an island outside the archipelago of Finland, the Hjelm Island in the Kattegat, Shetland Islands, the North Ronaldsay and many other, - all lying in a circle around a natural center – 18 green islands in the North-Atlantic with sea in all directions, and with sheep on all of them , - brown, black, white, gray, with spots and all colors and patterns in between – THE FAROE ISLANDS.
Sheep-Isle has ignored the center, but traveled around in the outskirts! Sheep-Isle will patch this during the current year. All through this year the focus will be on people and sheep in the Faroe Islands.
This year Sheep-Isle sent a new-year-greeting in Faeroese, containing a diffuse statement about “going west”, to the Orkney Islands, the Shetland Islands, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. But the last group of islands soon attracted all the attention, and it became soon clear that the Faroe Islands had a culture and knowledge concerning sheep, that would require a special effort.
But the tender sprout to this project saw the light already in the summer and autumn of 2005, when a sheep-farmer in the Faroe Islands wrote, (quotation):
believe one has to be an expert to see the difference between your breed
of Spael-Sheep and the Faeroe Islands Sheep, as you can see on my home
page http://heima.olivant.fo/~gni/. I
have read an article of Dr. Stefan Aðalsteinsson, whom once visited the
Faeroe Islands in order to investigate the colors in Faeroe Islands Sheep
(“Frequency of color genes in Faeroe Islands Sheep”). It seems very
interesting with Spael-Sheep on
an island, but where is the island situated and is it possible to visit it?”
The colors in Faroe Islands Sheep can be seen “alive” everywhere on the green islands – with the ocean in the background. But can the colors be used? Can the colors easily be turned into something usable for humans – in a modern design? Towards the turn of the year Sheep-Isle saw that this is possible. It became one of the sources of inspiration for the new-year-greeting in Faeroese!
Since then speed has increased, and what was diffuse and exiting by the beginning of the year, is now real, a project, with project plan of its own, with other words become concrete. Norsk Sau og Geit (“Norwegian Sheep and Goat association”), with the editor Arne Flatebø, have attended, and it is now a cooperation-project between Norsk Sau og Geit and Sheep-Isle. It soon became clear that we had to give the task to a person with professional background.
Someone who could travel too and could take care of the professional part of the project. The natural choice was Veronika Seim Bech, described as following in the project plan: As “foot soldier and sheep-competent” the project has established contact with Veronika Seim Bech. She was educated at the University of Agriculture in 1999 with a Master of husbandry in outer fields, and has among other things worked for 5 years at Norsk Sau og Geit regarding sheep, other grazing livestock and carnivore-related conflicts.
The project is called “Sau og frendar på Færøyane” (Sheep and friends in the Faroe
Islands). The fact is, that this project became real due to great
enthusiasm and open arms from the people in the Faroe Islands, who have
the sheep close to their lives.
Naturally the professional approaches will dominate in a series of articles in “Sau & Geit” (Sheep & Goat, - a Norwegian magazine) and at Sheep-Isle, but in addition to that, there will be historical descriptions for example about the Seyðabrævið (the Sheep-Letter) published in Cyberspace! There will be viewpoints from Shetland Islands and Iceland, but especially from Norway, the west coast of Norway. The historical links between the Faroe Islands and the west coast of Norway has been extensive through the history.
The main language will be Faeroese, Norwegian and English. Since there are very few relations to sheep and sheep farming in the Faroe Islands, Denmark will only play a minor part in this project. Articles related to Denmark directly, for example about Faroe sheep in Denmark, will of course be written in Danish as well.
At the end we would like to thank everyone who has contributed to establish this project. First of all we will thank our “Friends in Faroe Islands”. Furthermore thank you to Annette Sørensen, “The Representation of the Faroe Islands, the North Atlantic House, Copenhagen, for giving advice and deed, and last but not least thanks to “Nordic Gene Bank Farm Animals” for supporting the project.
Veronika Seim Bech