oil on canvas, 91cm x 61cm, Iain White, 2013, £450
These buildings are relatively recent and are associated with the farm of Sólheimajaleiga. This farm exemplifies some of the developments in farming in the twentieth century. Though still a sheep farm it has diversified into dairy cattle and increased mechanisation, while the old farm steading is used as a guesthouse and for bed and breakfast tourist accommodation. Nonetheless, it remains vulnerable to its environment, particularly volcanic eruptions, and on part of the farm on the sandur to soil erosion and flooding.
Although the increased urban population’s demand for milk and meats other than mutton and lamb has grown, overall the local market remains small and dispersed. This restricts economies of scale in food processing and distribution and increases costs.
All of Iceland is north of 62nd parallel and is categorized as a region with a permanent handicap for agriculture according to EU terminology. This fact, along with its geographical isolation of why the competitiveness of national agricultural production and food security remain vulnerable in spite of localised successes.