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From Pennsylvania, USA to Tingvollvågen – the Village of Eco Research

The combination of hard science and outstanding nature has been a winning formula for American researcher Joshua Cabell. He came to the village of Tingvollvågen ten years ago - and loves the absence of traffic jams in the morning.

Eco scientist at work
The scientist at work! Photo: NORSØK - Norwegian Centre for Organic Agriculture

-It’s great to just grab the bike and get to work, Joshua says with a smile. Work, the grocery store; the bike will get you around just fine in this village.

Tingvollvågen - a Tiny Melting Pot

-The closeness of nature is something I really appreciate. Last Saturday, for instance, I just packed a backpack and stepped outside. The mountain is right behind my house, so there is no need to drive. You can simply start the hike, and it ended up being such a magical summer evening.

Originally from West Grove, Pennsylvania, USA, Joshua grew up with a dairy farm as the closest neighbor. As a kid, he enjoyed life with animals close by and that certain type of freedom that comes with open fields.

The interest in farming never went away, and it took him to Norway as a student at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. And eventually to Tingvollvågen, a small village with a big heart for ecology and science. This has been his home for the last decade, and for Joshua, this particular village suits him well.

A father and son with a Norwegian flag
Joshua and his son Timian. Photo: private

-There are all the outdoorsy things, like climbing, hiking, skiing, fishing, and so on. But there is also quite a mix of people here. A lot of nationalities come together, which makes the community a bit more open. I can truly say that I’ve made great friends here, he says.

-It's not for everybody, of course. But for those of us who enjoy all that nature has to offer, it is very good. And the cost of living is way lower than in the cities!

Eco Pioneers and Fish Tails

Tingvollvågen is the center of administration for Tingvoll municipality and the home of around 1 000 people. Located by Tingvollfjorden, the village has been the natural center for people living around the fjord for centuries. Tingvoll municipality has had a long-standing focus on sustainability and ecology. The local politicians were quite the pioneers when they in branded themselves as an eco-municipality in the 1990s, with several projects to back it up.

An overview of Tingvollvågen, Tingvoll municipality

Tingvollvågen. Photo: Cato Edvardsen CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Probably the most vital piece of the ecological puzzle is Joshua’s workplace, NORSØK - Norwegian Centre for Organic Agriculture. A private and independent foundation, NORSØK is a national center for developing organic agriculture through scientific research. They study organic agriculture and food production, environmental science, sustainability, and renewable energy.

As for Joshua, he is currently working on his PhD doctorate. The researcher thinks big.

-It’s all about marine and agricultural cooperation, he says.

-I want to find out how we can turn marine waste into valuable compost – it would be a win-win. Every year, thousands of tons of nourishing material from the sea -such as seaweed and fish entrails- are simply thrown away. But fish heads and algae shouldn’t be wasted but put to use. I see great potential for a more sustainable way in the future. There is already a huge shortage of organic fertilizer, and for conventional farmers the price of mineral fertilizer has skyrocketed. By finding new ways to compost marine waste, we can get a more sustainable and economic food production. This will reward both nature and people, Joshua explains.

Closeness to nature is definitively an important element for the people of Tingvollvågen, both in the traditional and the high-tech scientific way.

-We even have an eco-themed visitor’s center here, Tingvoll Økopark, Joshua says. There, both kids and grown-ups can learn more about how food is grown, what goes on within the universe of the earthworm, ways to compost, and much more.

Dark soil
What happens underground is vital. Photo: Wix.

In other words, Joshua is not the only one with a passion for humus and soil improvement at Tingvollvågen – the coming generation will most likely be extra eco in this particular corner of Norway.

Would you like to find your own village without traffic jam in the morning? Try our village matchmaking here!



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