Hungry berry pickers shoot birds for food

A number of Vietnamese berry pickers in Särna in central Sweden have begun shooting small birds with catapults and arrows as their situation becomes increasingly precarious, local newspaper Dalarnas Tidningar reports.

Hungry berry pickers shoot birds for food

Police have warned that tensions among the 300 guest workers risk spiralling out of control as they wait for the barren surrounding forests to yield their harvest of berries.

After two weeks in Sweden the group now lacks food and money, while the berry pickers are each expected to pay 145 kronor per day ($20) for their lodgings in a youth hostel in the village in northern Dalarna. Members of the group have made repeated forays into the woods only to find that the berries have not yet ripened.

The berry pickers also claim that a contract they are being asked to sign if they are to be entitled to a residence permit does not correspond with a contract they signed in Vietnam prior to making their way to Dalarna.

The new contract, which has been reviewed by Dalarnas Tidningar, shows that they are expected to pick 90 kilos of lingonberries, or 50 kilos of blueberries, or 20 kilos of cloudberries per day if they are to be entitled to their wages.

The contract also obliges the berry pickers to pay the equivalent of 16,000 kronor each for costs incurred by their Vietnamese recruitment company for travel, visas and other outlays. The workers are promised a basic monthly wage of 17,730 kronor if they meet the terms of the contract with the opportunity to earn a higher amount if they pick more berries than the stipulated minimum.

The contract is alleged to originate from the recruitment company’s partner berry firm in Sweden, but Dalarnas Tidningar found that the phone number provided was not currently in service.

Police officers who paid a visit to the berry pickers’ camp said the situation risked turning violent if the workers were unable to earn money soon.

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A Touch of Scandinavia: Reindeer in the kitchen

Scandinavian style is a seamless blend of tradition and modernity, respecting the old but adding just the right amount of cool. Viktoria Månström has it down to a fine art, and has quickly become a leading Scandinavian designer.

A Touch of Scandinavia: Reindeer in the kitchen
Designer Viktoria Månström and one of her Anna Viktoria products.

Reindeer and elk play beloved roles Swedish culture and heritage. And while taking them into your home may sound a bit extreme, Viktoria Månström, the designer behind Swedish home décor brand Anna Viktoria, has made it possible.

”Everything I design has a Scandinavian touch and a modern design built upon Swedish tradition,” Månström says. “I take the past and traditions of Sweden and bring them into the present.”

In other words, Månström designs coffee cups, kitchen trays, bowls, bottle openers, kitchen towels, key rings, and everything else you could possibly want to help bring a bit of Sweden into your home. 

And they’re covered in modern Swedish art, of course.

“I actually started with the Dala horse. I come from Dalarna so it felt like the right place to begin.”

While the Dala horse is a classic Swedish symbol, Månström’s version is a perfect example of contemporary Scandinavian design – clean, simple, modern and unique, mixing colours and patterns in an innovative way without looking too “busy”.

ou can buy Anna Viktoria's striped Dala horse here at The Local Brands

Månström’s knack for design was hardly unexpected.

“It’s been inside me for a very long time,” Månström tells The Local. “My grandmother made tapestries and my grandfather was a carpenter, so the tradition of craftwork was always there. They gave me a passion for colour and design. It came naturally.”

The company Anna Viktoria was born after Månström did a few designs for a friend. She then started participating in fairs and visiting tourist agencies, where she discovered the seed of a market for exactly what she was making: tradition meets modern design.

“It was tough at first,” Månström recalls. “I was a little ahead of my time, I think. But once things got going, they really got going.”

lick here to shop for items from Anna Viktoria

Now living in Jämtland in western Sweden, Månström has become a favourite of home decorators across the country, featuring in various home magazines and publications. She sells her products under the name “A Touch of Scandinavia” – and everything is both practical and chic.

”My products are truly Scandinavian; products that convey Sweden. And they also last. They’re items you can really use in everyday life.”

Purchase Anna Viktoria products at The Local Brands