Sofie develops emergency food supplies in Grästorp

Sofie Och Linser.

Sofie Skalstad, Rural and business developer in Grästorp’s municipality


Project manager for ROLIS – (Swedish for robust food supply through collaboration)



Green industries have a given place in societal development in Skaraborg, and there is an established collaboration between public organizations and companies. This appealed to Sofie Skalstad, who now runs a project developing tomorrow’s emergency food supplies.

When Sofie Skalstad attended Ultuna University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, she had planned to move back to Jokkmokk after graduation. But after studying as a rural development agronomist she became aware of all the green industries in Sweden, and Skaraborg caught her attention.

“I was born in Skaraborg but had lived in Norrbotten for 10 years before moving to Uppsala to study. The course I studied combined natural sciences with social sciences and focused a great deal on the role of project manager. When I began to understand just how many green industries there are in Skaraborg, and how big a part green industries get to play in regional development work here, the decision to move here was easy ,” says Sofie.

Today, Sofie works as Rural and business developer in Grästorp’s municipality. She describes her work as very varied and a typical day might include everything from arranging a business fair for local youth to visiting a community center to discuss how the premises could be made use of by more people. But running projects with a focus on green industries is what Sofie prefers to do most.

NSG Näringslivet I Grästorp Möte 7 (1).
Sofie och kollegor vid ett möte

Panel of experts

Sofie’s biggest project right now concerns creating local, circular flows to produce a completely new emergency food supply. The goal is to discover, test and produce a food that can be stored for a long time for use should society no longer function as normal. The local school canteens are taking part in the project.

Should something happen, like food transportation no longer working the way we’re used to, the emergency food would be in school basements and ready to feed our hungry schoolchildren. To make sure the food we produce is not only non-perishable but also tasty, our local schoolchildren will be part of a taste panel when it’s time to try it out!

The project is one of several based on local food production and has been made possible thanks to the many companies in the green industries that are located in Skaraborg. But we need more than just the companies if the projects are to succeed.

“If it hadn’t been for the well-developed cooperation between municipalities and a willingness to achieve things together, we wouldn’t have a hope of putting together this type of project in just two years, which is our goal today. Cooperation in this regard is absolutely essential and something I believe is unique to Skaraborg. And because we enjoy natural, established, well-used channels for contact between the municipalities, we have fantastic conditions for development!” says Sofie.

“Close to everything in Skaraborg”

When Sofie and her husband moved to Skaraborg they were never in any doubt – they wanted to live outside the urban areas, in the countryside. Having first rented a farm, the couple and their 18-month-old toddler wound up in a paddock.

Sofie Och Linser.
Foto Mikael Lundgren3.
Forshalls Naturpark Mamma Och Barn Kikar I Picknickkorg.

When I was little, I often fed a Gotland pony that grazed in a paddock, which back then was located where we live now. Around 15 years ago, the paddock was split and the house was built there. It’s the house we bought a year or two ago. In the future, we might want something more like a farm so we can keep animals, but right now, living in a modern house out in the middle of the countryside suits us perfectly

When Sofie’s not working, the countryside and above all the woods are the attraction. She and her family often load up a backpack with coffee and go into the woods outside the house to pick mushrooms, berries or just be there. When the family wants to make a longer trip, they’re happy to go to Kinnekulle, to hike or stop at a farm shop or two, or enjoy a coffee at the Café Nordpolen in the neighboring municipality of Vara.

And there can be no doubt that Sofie has made herself at home in Skaraborg. Being so close to nature and tranquility suits her and her family’s lifestyle, and she gets to work on issues she is passionate about.

“I want to be involved in the development of green industries. There are many green clusters around Grästorp with a focus on robust, local food production chains that I find interesting. We grow crops and process them here, and there are also initiatives for locally generated energy and circular systems. There’s so much exciting stuff going on in Skaraborg!”

Forshalls Naturpark Litet Barn Går I Naturen (1).
Children and adults on duckboards in a nature area