Everyman’s right


In Finland and Sweden there is a law called everyman’s right, it says that anyone has a right to take what the forest gives and it applies to privately owned forests as well. A temporary migration has been taking place on a yearly basis for more than a decade. Thousands of Thai rice farmers from the north-eastern provinces travel to the arctic circle of Finland and Sweden to pick berries; during the three months berry season from July to September. The wild growing lingonberries, cloudberries and blueberries are considered super foods in Europe and Asia for their high vitamin C content. They find their way into yogurts as well as into pharmaceutical products. For the Thai farmers, the journey is a big gamble, they take up loans that amount to about 3000 EUROS to pay for the flight the visa and their expenses in Europe. A hard-working picker on a good year will touch the break-even point after two months of incessant work. This leaves him or her with one month to earn money and if all goes well he’ll return home with 2000 Euros a fortune compared to what he could make at home. But many pickers don’t make it to the break-even point and return home indebted.

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