New Program Helps Immigrants Start Food Trucks in Reykjavík

dumplings foreign food

Over 100 immigrants from more than 20 countries are taking part in a program that will help them develop, set up, and operate a food truck specialising in food from their home countries. Vísir reports that the would-be food truckers are attending an eight-week course co-sponsored by Innovation Centre Iceland, The City of Reykjavík, and Reykjavík Street Food.

“These are all people who want to bring their food culture to Iceland,” said Fjalar Sigurðarson, marketing director of Innovation Center Iceland. Immigrants don’t always know how to get ideas like this off the ground in Iceland, he continued – “they don’t know where they should look and sometimes don’t know the language. So they need some help getting started.”

“We’re trying to help them as much as we can,” continued Fjalar, although he was adamant that “no one is giving them anything. They have to do this for themselves and have the ideas…what kind of food truck and what kind of food [they] want to introduce to Icelanders and tourists.”

The 100 participants make up 24 different teams. During the first class on Monday, participants worked on designing their menus. A Thai family who wants to open a food truck called Baitong, which means ‘Banana Leaf,’ was among the participants, as were a Pakistani couple, and a woman from Senegal.

The course was advertised before Christmas and a preliminary class was given to introduce the initiative. A hundred and fifty people attended the introductory meeting.

Participants who succeed in turning their food truck dreams into reality will be given the opportunity to take part in street food events in Reykjavík, such as on Culture Night and June 17, Icelandic Independence Day.

“We’re hoping that this spring, Icelanders and tourists will get to try their food, which comes from every corner of the globe,” said Fjalar.

Glulam to be Made from Icelandic Lumber

Over the last few weeks the Icelandic Forest Service, Límtré/Vírnet and Innovation Center Iceland have been conducting research into the possibility of using Icelandic lumber to produce glue laminated structural beams, sometimes called glulam, RÚV reports. Imported wood has hitherto been used for the application.

Glulam is a type of engineered wood, made from lumber that is bonded together with structural adhesives. It is commonly used as structural beams in all types of man-made structures, such as sports halls, glasshouses, gazebos and even bridges.

“We’re very excited about this. It’s great that we’re embarking on this journey,” says forester Trausti Jóhannsson. “Finally we’re creating real lumber from our trees, people are saying. Not just cutting them down, putting them in the wood chipper and then burning them. We’re now thinking towards the future.”

“The through line in this project is environmentalism,” says Logi Unnarson, advisor at Límtré/Vírnet. “We are well aware of the importance of this project. Now there are plans to increase forestry in Iceland, so it’s obvious that we’d benefit greatly from using Icelandic lumber. We’d spare us the transportation of heavy goods from Europe and be able to concentrate on building up a strong lumber industry here.”

The Icelandic glulam will soon be tested at the Innovation Center Iceland with first result being expected by spring.