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Accepted Paper:

Sweating for sustainability: resilience through diversity on Latvian eco-health farms  
Guntra Aistara (Central European University)

Paper long abstract:

An extraordinary exception to the misery caused in Latvia by the financial crisis has been Latvia's Eco-health farm network, which seeks to integrate agro-ecology, rural tourism, and community environmental education. The most striking example is their re-imagining of the traditional Latvian pirts (steam sauna) rituals to incorporate contemporary knowledge of medicinal herbs and alternative medicine practices. Farms offer visitors herbal sauna treatments and medicinal teas in addition to nutritious home-grown organic meals. This paper will explore their innovate strategies for resilience and bring these practices into dialogue with farmer's views of pemaculture principles. Through their care for the biological diversity of Latvia's meadows, Eco-health farms have been creating economic diversity for their livelihood strategies to complement organic food production. These farms offer a compelling model of solidarity and eco-imagination in the post-Soviet, EU countryside, and offer valuable insights for other communities seeking to design their farms for sustainability and resilience.

Panel W019
Crisis, environmental anthropology, and the garden: local resilience, sustainable living and alternative food production
  Session 1