Tourism in Ruka-Kuusamo area is based on the beautiful sights and the pure nature. Enhancing sustainable traveling is especially important for us. Sustainable Travel Finland is a program launched by Visit Finland, enabling us to make responsible actions and sustainable choices part of our everyday life in tourism.
Sustainable reindeer herding
Kujala Reindeer Farm has been an essential part of the local reindeer husbandry since 1860, for five generations.
Juha and Jenni Kujala put great emphasis on the genuine living environment and the wellbeing of the reindeer both in farm operations and in reindeer activities at Kujala Reindeer Farm. Sustainability and valuing the local traditions shake hands in reindeer farm’s everyday life. Reindeer herding family’s true love for nature and the aim for nature preservation are present even in the smallest choices of the farm life.
When a reindeer closes its eyes for the last time, nothing goes to waste. Besides delicious, high-quality reindeer meat, fur and bones are valued material. Juha’s and Jenni’s astonishing reindeer herder’s leather suits are hand-made in Rovaniemi. Jenni is an artist too, creating reindeer art in respect to the Finnish cultural heritage. Jenni’s art, reindeer meat as well as leather and fur products are available at the farm shop. Jenni’s art is often presented in the exhibitions of the local art society too.
Kujala family tries to take all aspects of sustainability into consideration when running the farm. Reindeer activities in the forests are non motorized and guests are guided to use only the existing trails, thus leaving no additional trace. Forests are kept free of litter, the amount of waste in the farming process is minimized and the waste is recycled whenever possible. All these actions have a positive impact on the carbon footprint of the farm.
Long lasting carbon storages are created by restoring reindeer pastures into preservation areas. Kujala family has also built homes for other wildlife animals such as insect hotels and houses for birds and bats.
Cultural sustainability is visible in the way the old buildings are valued and restored in the new building projects. Local craftsmen with their valuable knowledge of the traditional ways of building are an important part of these projects. New buildings are carefully fitted into the existing landscape.
The ideas for the reindeer activities for tourists are strongly connected to the local reindeer husbandry. Some of the great examples are reindeer feeding early in the morning and working as a farmhand. New ideas and traditions are combined in an open-minded way, creating great success stories such as Reindeer yoga.
– ”World of reindeer” is the motto of our reindeer farm, carrying a message about genuine reindeer experiences on the terms of the reindeer, around the year, says Jenni Kujala.
Kujala family is keeping the economic and social aspects of sustainability in mind when creating year-round jobs for committed employees who share the similar values with them. Both Juha and Jenni take active roles in developing tourism, sports and culture in the local community.
Kujala Reindeer Farm welcomes all guests, no matter their beliefs, sexual orientation or disabilities. Each guest is greeted with open mind, as an equal. And each guest will certainly learn a lot about the fascinating art of reindeer herding!
Text: Ruka-Kuusamo Tourist Association
Photos: Kujala Reindeer Farm (Jenni Kujala)