Choosing to not to fly and vacationing within one’s own country has become synonymous with sustainable travel. And what could be more sustainable than staying on a farm, experiencing rural farm life, taste local flavors, and do outdoor activities? The National Association for Farmstays in Sweden (Riksföreningen Bo på Lantgård) has been facilitating accommodations in rural settings since 1980. However, the concept really took off, especially among the younger demographics, during the pandemic years that required us to stay within the country.
Today, there are about 80 unique farms that joined the Farmstay Sweden association, offering either self-catering, where guests look after themselves, or bed and breakfast/country hotel options with a personal and homey atmosphere. Guests can expect high-quality accommodations and can always enjoy a vibrant countryside with a clear focus on sustainability.
Even what is considered “simple country life” can be refined and reshaped as a contribution to the global sustainability goals. That is why, in 2019, Farmstay Sweden started the “Sustainable Farm” project, which all members of our association support. Board Chairman Jan Jeppsson explains:
“Farmstay Sweden may be a small player in the overall tourism industry, but we aim to set a good example and make as little impact as possible on nature and the environment through our ‘Sustainable Farm’ project. This is our way of contributing to the global goals for 2030.”
Several advisors have toured the country to review and certify all the Farmstay Sweden member farms according to a standardized list of requirements. The project is supported by the Swedish Board of Agriculture and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. One of the sustainability advisors, Chatrine Schander-Ljungquist, who has met many hosts over the last two years, says, “Members of Farmstay Sweden put a lot of effort into making their farms, cottages, cabins, and B&Bs sustainable destinations. Today, sustainability is not just a reason to travel; it is a given. With this project, we aim to help farms transition.”
The “Sustainable Farm” certificate makes it easy for member farms to communicate that they are an integral part of a sustainable tourism industry. And more importantly, it assures guests about their choice of vacation accommodation! Jan Jeppsson adds, “We know that everybody at Farmstay Sweden are conscious and engaged entrepreneurs, and that is exactly why we think it is important that WE make this investment.”
So, when you see a label next to the familiar Farmstay Sweden (Bo på Lantgård) sign indicating a “sustainable farm,” you as a guest can be assured that the accommodation has met all the sustainability criteria in various areas, such as waste management, energy consumption, food provision, staff management, local community engagement, water treatment, and cleaning + chemicals standard. On site, there is also a focus on facilitating guests’ own responsibility to do the right thing. For example, through good facilitation for waste sorting, recycling, or by the farm providing bicycles or using reusable items instead of disposables.
Beyond this, the sustainability certificate could be a starting point for continuous improvement in sustainable practices. Some parts in the strategy might require a bit more investment, either with time or other resources, depending on local circumstances. This could include installing solar panels, electric car charging stations, waste management systems, or water-saving measures.
Press release by The National Association for Farmstays in Sweden (Riksföreningen Bo på Lantgård), November 2023