Climate campers lead the way for alternative tradeTagged as: community environmentalism mutual_aid
Local produce and sustainability go hand in hand, and if capitalism is the crisis can we find another way to trade? Practical solutions like trading food and resources can be enacted now, and some people are doing just that at Climate Camp by trading their allotment produce.
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The Climate Camp has seen an abundance of workshops on climate issues and practical solutions, we all know it's time to put these ideas into action. And one camper did just that by trading their allotment produce for some time using the computers brought along by Northern Indymedia and friends.
The Northern Indymedia collective, as well as active members of other UK Indymedia colletives, have with them low powered laptops, solar panels and bike generators to facilitate campers access to the internet. Campers can catch up on news coverage of the camp and publish their own stories through Indymedia and elsewhere, asking for a donation towards costs of the equipment if people were able. This lead to a kind donation of some allotment produce instead of the usual jangling of coins, which was gratefully received before being whisked off to the Yorkshire neighbourhood kitchen to be turned into some delicious lunch-time fayre.
So is this a new model for trade? Trade without money has been happening since prehistoric times and no doubt features in many people's lives today to some small extent, but could this be a positive way forward for us all to act on climate change on a daily basis?
Trading without money allow us to get to know each other better by understanding each others needs and interests. Without money we have to find out what someone else is willing to trade and what things are most useful to them and why. Trading things we have grown or made encourages us to think about the resources that are available to us locally and when they are seasonally available. Most of all it supports the idea of consuming local produce and acting more sustainably by learning about our environment.
So how can we do this in our everyday lives? Allotment projects and local independent business are an intrinsic part. In Bradford the Common Garden allotment project has reclaimed disused council allotments to be used by the community to grow their own food. At Bradford University the Growing Spaces Group has begun using space on the campus to grow a variety of edible foods and learn about permaculture. Growers are encouraged to enjoy the harvest from the project in exchange for a record of how they enjoyed the food, whether it be photograph, story or video. The 1in12 Peasants collective work on their allotment at Cecil Avenue throughout the year and distribute the harvest through 1in12 members meetings. In Leeds the Urban Harvest Project hopes to collect unwanted fruit harvest from fruit trees in urban areas to then distribute to groups and the local community. Similar groups in Bradford and Abundance in Manchester are doing the same and distributing to hostels and other local groups.
By becoming involved in a project like these we can learn from each other and begin to revive an economy based on necessary trade for the produce that we need, let's get growing and expand our knowledge!
Harvesting group in south Manchester distributing fruits and vegetables to hostels and local groups.
A new harvesting group in Leeds distributing frutis to volunteers, groups and local community.
A new allotment on campus to grow fruits, vegetables and herbs and learn about permaculture.