Losæter, Oslo’s Unusual Community of Gardeners

The many farmlands along the motorway’s wall

photography by: Omri Westmark

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Following the rapid industrialization of Western Europe during the last century or so, agriculture has become an increasingly mechanized profession. Originally founded in the early 2010’s as an art project, a single garden in Oslo has been striving to reverse the aforementioned trend. Home to a traditional farmland, an oddly-shaped bakehouse and other horticultural initiatives, Losæter offers a glimpse into humanity’s bygone era, where communal and agrarian lifestyle was the norm.

For years on end, the narrow sliver of land along the Opera Tunnel in Oslo’s Bjørvika district was nothing but a desolate concrete jungle. That is, until 2011, when a group of artists named Futurefarmers transformed the barren plot into a green oasis, better known as Losæter. Their main goal was to reintroduce old methods of agriculture as a mean to revive the lost connection between the people and the land.


In 2015, the group held a citywide parade, where farmers from all over the country marched with their wheelbarrows and wagons alongside livestock animals on their way to the premises. Armed with hefty amounts of soil from their farms, they then flooded the entire field with the necessary materials for the cultivation of multiple crops, literally laying the groundwork for the area’s complete transformation.


In the years that followed, Losæter has evolved into a communal place, where locals from all walks of life gather to cultivate the land while exchanging old and modern horticultural techniques. The vast majority of the area is allocated for dozens of micro-farmlands, where vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers are grown, including unique species of plants like charcoal-colored tomatoes.

The true centerpiece of Losæter, however, is the “Flatbread Society” bakehouse and seed depository which is modeled after a wooden Viking ship. According to Futurefarmers, the structure was inspired by the rescue boats of Norwegian naval architect Colin Archer, as it purportedly rescues the diversity of ancient grains and baking methods from total extinction. Within its confines, one can find three types of ovens – a tandoor, a wood fire oven and a traditional Norwegian stove where flatbread is made.


The site is dominated by a pair of concrete chimneys, whose bottom part is now covered with vivid street art. For those who wonder about this monstrous eyesore, the two monoliths serve as ventilation shafts for the E6 motorway’s “Opera Tunnel” that runs directly underneath the verdant farmland.


Visitors who wish the explore the bucolic grounds of Losæter can simply come in uninvited and wander between the many flowerbeds and crops. The place, which is run by volunteers, also offers myriads of activities, including courses, festivals, free seminars and every Wednesday, an open working day that culminates in a dinner feast (For more details, check out their website).