Bygaard, Gardening trainee, Mikala Mul, 27-years-old.
Mikala Mul studied Literature at university before she traveled the world, dressed for a more physical way of life and started vocational school. Today she’s a gardening trainee at one of Copenhagen’s most successful urban gardening projects: Bygaard.
“I guess I’m feeling the pressure more than ever right now. The need to do something. To work for a better environment, to find feasible solutions within the food industry and the ability to farm in a more sustainable way. I want to help us all eat and produce better and greener,” says 27-year-old Mikala Mul, who started her traineeship as a gardener with the small Copenhagen-based urban farming project, Bygaard, a month ago.
“I used to study Literature at Copenhagen University and was very into culture and books. A genuine book nerd. But somehow, I missed the physical part of my life. I felt like I thrived more using my hands, that there is important learning in practical experience and that I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing my actions make an actual difference,” she says, adding that her experience with organic farming has not come out of thin air – she’s been living it for a while.
Life as a Wwoof’er
In fact, Mikala was already an experienced sustainable gardener before she came to Bygaard. As a young woman she had been “wwoof’ing” in both Denmark and Nepal for a while - volunteering at the Danish eco-farm ‘Svanholm’ twice and working for free at a small acreage in Nepal as a part of the international concept ‘Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms”. All such experiences helped her in deciding to trade the books for vegetables and to take a political stance.
“I was looking for a traineeship within an ecological and political framework, and the political part of it was actually important. I really liked the core values of Bygaard. I didn’t choose to be a gardener to mass produce Hortensias, but to change the way we produce our foods,” Mikala states.
She stresses that Bygaard takes responsibility, reflects on the things they do, and excels in developing new solutions.
“Bygaard produces mushrooms and I knew it would be hard physical work when I started. Mushrooms are very different than regular vegetables – they can be ready to harvest overnight … the natural cycle of things demands a lot more attention than I’m used to. It’s interesting,” says Mikala who loves the manual labor, seeing things grow and using her hands to help it all along.
An underground of green thinking
“I’m afraid of where the world is going. It makes me nervous, but luckily, I also see a lot of good initiatives being born. There’s a lot of movements growing at the moment. A lot of sustainable action and ambition – a counterpart to large-scale farming, a new way of producing on a smaller scale, closer to where we live and with an eye on the biodiversity we need,” she says adding that it’s not only her generation fighting for a new and less invasive form of food production:
“It might be a young agenda, but my parents are worried, too. It might be up to us younger generations to drive the change – but I think there’s a mutual responsibility in all of this. We can’t just blame the last 100 years of industrialization on the older generation. We have to do something. That’s why I have chosen this education. It is why I have made some choices based on the environment, sustainability and climate change. I want to be an organic gardener. I want to make a difference.”