in Iceland 2017


Sandar Suðursins



Site manager

Festival designer


April – August 2017

The project was very versatile and required a lot of creativity and self organisation. Initially I purchased a truck in Sweden, drove it via Oslo to pick up a yurt, down through Denmark, from where we travelled by ferry to Iceland. The site was a volcanic desert, or black beach, outside of Selfoss in south western Iceland. The vegetation was made up of handful of small trees, patches of lupins, and some moss and lichens.

I lived on site for six weeks, designing, constructing and setting up all the necessary facilities for the festival, from camping site, toilets, tool shed, shelters, fireplaces, outdoor kitchen, sweat lodge, teaching facility, yurt, and set of instruments made from upcycled materials. Primarily I worked with Mörður, and the hosting organisation Permavillage, but with time our crew was increased up to over 20 individuals. We salvages over 90% of materials used, built raised mounds from organic materials for wind cover, and a dug down an outdoor kitchen into a sand dune, protecting the cooks and food from the sandy coastal winds. During the set-up two courses were held on site and three events in a venue in Reykjavik.

We also collaborated with local permaculturists and elementary school, and hosted around 90 individuals for a three day event with workshops, lectures and music events. Our volunteers were both international and local, and they stayed from 5-15 days. The landscape was extreme and the ecosystem "primitive". We planted sapling trees amongst the lupins and built small kitchen gardens as well as composting piles. This event was organised by Permavillage in collaboration with the municipality, and the touring Nordic Permaculture Festival.

Video by Angie @fairyanimal

Article in Icelandic magazine Dagskráin on the local government permitting local permaculture group Tofrastadir to develop a black desert in the area of Thorlakshofn, Selfoss in Iceland. I am in the center of the lower picture and mentioned in its caption.

The festival sign by the mainroad passing the site.

Entrance to the site

Piles of organic materials brought in from local sorting station supporting Permavillage Developments project.

My permacultural design of the site, size about 500x500 m

The festival site before, size about 500x500 meters

First impressions by the pioneer group of local enthusiasts

Camp 1: My tent, a modular composting toilet, built from pallets off-site.

Building materials arrive from local sorting station.

Organic materials arriving to site from local sorting station

Local fire department fills water containers salvaged from local food industry

Camp 2: tool shelter and workstation with firepit, by the camping grounds. Built from salvaged materials.

Soil, wood chips, branches, and other available organic waste is assembled into mounds to brake the wind factor at the campsite.

Fireplace dug down into ground to shelter the flames from the wind.

Camp 2: heart of the camping grounds

A shed for powertools, made from salvaged materials (unfinished).

Part of the volunteering crew.

Raising the yurt in a semi sheltered place

The yurt, raised without insulation, as we mainly needed it for wind protection

Constructing a shelter for overwintering purposes. We built this as a worshop during the festival. Made from salvaged materials.

The main composting toilet, made from salvaged materials. Room for four people simultaneously. Urinal to the left, and water tank to the right.

The outdoor kitchen, constructed by David Roxendal as a workshop prior to the festival. Made from salvaged materials.

The outdoor kitchen in a finished state.

Outdoor kitchen (called Sandwitch) cooking facilities, rocket stove to the left. Old freezer dug down to the right, acts as cooler, no electricity on site.

Inside the outdoor kitchen. Everything made from salvaged materials.

Outdoor kitchen during the festival.

Sweatlodge made from salvaged materials, like: tractor pallets, coffee bean bags, sand and turf.

Outdoor kitchen

Gratitude to the magnificens of nature.

  • 5 R’s of Permaculture
  • Introduction of human activity in a primitive ecosystem
  • Design while building
  • Salvaging construction materials and organic waste
  • Adaptability, resilience, perseverance

Performance review by

David Roxendal:

During 10 intensive days in 2017 Peter and I

built new structures in the desert of Iceland.

We built a shed, an outdoor kitchen, a sweat-

lodge, furniture, cooking stoves and more

during this time. Peter is a highly motivated

worker with an eye for detail. He follows

through with his projects and truly cares

about creating beautiful solutions that work

for humans while also supporting the envi-

ronment. I would highly recommend Peter if

you need to get shit done.

To summarize Peter:

- Dedicated

- Caring

- Artistic

- Great social skills

- Charismatic

- Good work ethics

Performance review by Mörður "Moli" Gunnarsson Ottesen:

Peter Tallberg was the site manager on the Nordic

Permaculture Festival 2017, we only had 4 weeks to

set up everything for the festival so he had a hard

job ahead of him.

Peter led volunteers with confidence focusing on

them advancing their skills and leading them to

expressive results. He had a great attention to detail leading to very innovative solutions with limited available resources.

We had a storm at the campsite which demolished

the moral of our workforce but Peter made a fiery

speech which rallied them and amazing work was

done in the last two days.

- Peters attention to detail is exemplary.

- He has a talent for leading people while giving

them a learning experience.

- He has a diverse skillset and DIY (Do It Yourself)

knowledge that bleeds into complicated design.