Viðtal mánaðarins - apríl

"I just wanted access to good ingredients in our home"

Ida Feltendal er frá Vejle, Danmörku og Jonathan Moto Bisagni er frá New York, Bandaríkjunum. Þau fluttu á Seyðisfjörð með son sinn fyrir rúmu ári síðan og í dag reka þau meðal annars eigið fyrirtæki, sem sendir grænmetis- og ávaxtakassa út um allt Austurland í hverri viku. Forvitnumst aðeins meira um þau, þessa ofur vinsælu kassa og hvað fleira er á döfinni hjá þeim.

Viðtal apríl :

1. How do you feel about living in Seyðisfjörður?

Living in Seyðisfjörður is amazing. This town is unique, special...almost magic. Living here has been a transcendental experience. Leaving behind the busy life in the city and learning to appreciate the small things like fresh air and clean, delicious water. There is purity and extreme quality in these two simple things, along with a great sense of community here. Living here and being a part of this society is so intimate and cozy. 

2. What is the idea behind Austurlands Food Coop? 

Jonny: My first summer here in Seyðisfjörður, I remember one day we ran out of salmon at Hotel Aldan. I had to call one of our fish suppliers in Reykjavik to send us some high grade fish, and put it on the plane so we could get it fresh. Sure enough, the fish came on the plane that afternoon. My supplier called me to let me know that this fish we got was “amazing Faroese salmon”. I knew the great reputation of Faroese salmon, but I couldn’t help thinking about how this fish was shipped first to Seyðisfjörður, trucked to Reykjavik and flown back to Seyðisfjörður. A lot of wasted energy and time! 

During this same time, I remember noticing the poor quality of vegetables available from our suppliers and in our grocery stores. For all of us in East Iceland, this was an obvious problem that needed attention, and so this idea began to form.

3. Has the idea grown/changed since you first got it? 

Jonny: Wow, this idea was born almost 5 years ago and is always changing. Initially, all I really wanted was to have good ingredients to use in the restaurant. Then, after moving here full time last February, I just wanted access to good ingredients in our home.

4. How does Austurlands Food Coop influence the community? 

We are starting a conversation within the community about eating fruits and vegetables! That may sound weird at first, but dig deeper and this is a conversation about healthy eating, eco-consciousness, and sustainability. Our main objective is to improve the quality of life for all residents of East Iceland.  Austurlands Food Coop is a way to engage more directly with our regional community.

5. What has been people’s reaction?

It has been all over the place! It started off being “Why do we need that?  We don’t eat vegetables in Iceland!” 

Two weeks later, we’re being thanked by the same person. A lot of our customers appreciate saving time and money by not having to shopping while having direct access to vegetables and fruits they’ve never seen! Other customers appreciate the sense of community around Austurlands Food Coop and cooking. 

Most people can see the value of what we do after their first few boxes. For our family, it is so nice to have vegetables in the fridge all the time, and to snack on healthy fruits when we and our children want.

6. Do the boxes include recipes about how to use the ingredients? 

Initially we were printing little folders in each box with a note from us, the contents of the box, and recipes.

To save paper, we stopped printing these out but post them in our facebook group Grænt Mal. Then our computer charger broke, so we have temporarily stopped this. 

The amazing thing is how supportive the online community is in helping each other answer these questions and share recipes. There has been a new offshoot of the facebook group Grænt Mal where people are sharing recipes all the time. 

7. How do you deliver the boxes to your customers?

Right now, the people of Seyðisfjörður can pick up there boxes down at the gas station starting at 6pm on ferry days. On Wednesdays, we drive south to Djupivogur and drop boxes off in each town along the way. We have partners in each town that support what were doing by letting people pick up their boxes from their storefronts.

8. What is the future plan of Austurlands Food Coop? 

We’re constantly trying to improve what we do. This week, we will be introducing two new products: a smaller box and a fruit only box, in addition to our normal fruit and vegetables box. This will enable customers to sign-up for weekly or bi-weekly subscriptions, which significantly helps the ordering process by making our logistics more predictable and easier to manage. At Austurlands Food Coop, it is super important for us to give people what they want.

Hopefully in the future, we’ll be able to offer even more variety to our community. We’re currently in talks with the local fish factory about providing fish and other conversations are happening around procuring organic milk and eggs. In three years, we would like to be providing all the ingredients needed to make a great meal. 

9. A little bird told me you are maybe opening at the gas station? 

Yes, we’re currently pursuing this and are in talks with Skeljungur about making renovations to create a small grocery store and cafe there. We thought it would be really nice to have a packageless (mostly dry organic goods) grocery store where you can bring your own containers.


Verkefnastjóri HSAM þakkar Idu og Jonny kærlega fyrir þátttökuna og þeirra mikilvæga innlegg í heilsueflandi samfélagi á Seyðisfirði og öllu Austurlandi. Þeim er óskað alls hins besta í framtíðinni, með vaxtandi Austurlands Coop fyrirtæki, spennandi opnun í samstarfi við Skeljung og nýtt barn á leiðinni. 


Höfundur : Eva Jónudóttir. Óheimilt er að nota efnið, til annars konar fréttaflutnings á öðrum fréttamiðlum, án leyfis höfundar.