Mark O’Connel showed Mark, Rachel and myself round Huxhams Cross Farm on November 3rd, showing us the chickens, two cows, new barn and the market garden’s polytunnels. The transformation of soil quality from a barkley/maize desert to good soil through biodynamic and permacultural activation by Bob Mayhew and Marina O’Connel was dramatic. Marina showed me her samples of the original soil. I also held up the two soil samples to the Social Renewal : Beyond Crisis Conference at Dartington on Saturday 4th to demonstrate what change is possible when we care for the earth, build a regenerative circular economy, secure rights to affordable land through the Biodynamic Land Trust and co-create a new food culture. This was a good example of social threefolding in action, adding earthcare of course..
Bailey Peryman and Margaret Jefferies introduced me on 22 October to Cultivate Christchurch’s market gardening work with young people….helping Christchurch feed itself. Bailey described the 1000 or so acre Red Zone in the middle of the city, which was leveled by the 2011 earthquake, and which went liquid. Unsuitable for building on, the Red Zone would be ideal for food growing, parks and for social and cultural facilities. Yet in 7 years, no decisions have been made….so the community and civil society might take the initiative? Have a look at Bailey’s short video about his work, and also his podcast on Steven Moe’s itunes site below….
Peter Garlick of Motueka School writes that, ‘ Martin is a publisher, community land trust enabler for housing and farms, and founder of Hawthorn Press. Martin is in New Zealand on a lecture and study tour from Britain. He gave a public talk in Nelson and visited the Motueka Rudolf Steiner School and learned about the new farm school project. ‘
Martin’s talk in Nelson was titled “Shock Capitalism or Commonwealth”. He spoke about commercialism and the economic sphere and how it had captured the political and cultural spheres of society. Education, government and cultural life needed independence to flourish. Martin cataloged many problems in the cultural and political spheres that arose after neo-liberalism and market forces gained dominance.
Martin stated that the Market State has proved good for the few and bad for the many, and asked how do we transition to something better. “These are burning questions we all must face, if are to leave a more equal, free, prosperous, and earth caring world for those who come after us.” Martin’s next book, Free, Equal and Mutual is due out in December 2017.
Martin advocates for people to take back power and put strategic assets such as productive land into community ownership. He promotes Land Trusts, organic farming, co-housing and social business. He engaged the audience in his talk and identified local issues and encouraged other people in the room to get involved and help.
ActionStation are organising thousands of New Zealanders to come together for conversations about the future of Aotearoa over kai (food).
This process might work for the UK for a vision we need to build as an alternative to walking off the Brexit cliff?
We believe in working together to create what we cannot achieve alone: a society, economy and democracy that works for all of us – everyday people and the planet we love.
ActionStation is a place for people of all backgrounds to come together independent of party politics and the other labels that divide us. We’re excited to invite you to take a seat at the table for a conversation about our shared future.
From June – September, thousands of New Zealanders will gather together for Kai & Kōrero events. Over food we’ll discuss some of the big questions and dive deep into the dreams, aspirations and challenges facing New Zealand.
You can host a Kai & Kōrero with friends and whānau, or you can host a Kai & Kōrero with strangers and acquaintances – it’s totally up to you!
We believe meaningful conversation over food can spark real and lasting change. As much as possible, we’re encouraging people to come together over dinner, but your Kai & Kōrero event could be as a simple as a cup of tea and a biscuit, or hot chips and a beer in a pub.
If you don’t want to cook, but you still want to host, you can also organise for your Kai & Kōrero meal to be held at your favourite café, restaurant or pub. You can host it in your workplace over a morning tea, or as part of a Church or marae group gathering.
While food is a critical element in making people feel comfortable, it’s the conversation that matters most.
After your Kai & Kōrero event, we will gather the insights from these conversations with a quick post-event survey of all attendees. This will form the basis for to create a People’s Agenda for Aotearoa, combining our shared values and vision for this country with clear policies and actions that will get us there.
Kai and Korero Process: https://kaiandkorero.com/
Sarah Smuts Kennedy, an inspiring social artist, introduced me at a breathtaking pace to the ‘For The Love of Bees’, a bee social sculptural project that is animating bee life in Auckland. We went to the Bee School at the historic Campbell Free kindergarten at Victoria Park. This is a carbon reducing, biological and community art project to strengthen inner city living conditions for humans and our long suffering bee population.
Sarah Smuts Kennedy and Taarati Taiaroa
For The Love Of Bees is a living social sculpture that imagines Auckland as the safest city in the world for bees. Our project offers opportunities for businesses, students, individuals, schools, community gardens, brand partners and beekeepers to collaborate and produce a vision that will live on through the city of Auckland for years to come. By working in collaboration with Auckland Council Parks and Activate Auckland we are creating an ecosystem that supports thriving beehive colonies by introducing hives and focusing on the quality and quantity of flowers throughout our city. Sarah animated a wide-ranging conversation, inviting a young teenage beekeeper along to teach children about bees, talking about the developing OMG partnership with CRL over leasing a ‘waste’ lot for a bee garden, education and organic pocket park, explaining the biodynamic peppering approach to deterring slugs and snails-and more included . Questions explored the scarcity of organic and biodynamic produce in NZ, how NZ communal land needed re-imagining, ‘some land is never owned’.;land access for gardening, allotments and community gardens and Maori views of the very notion of ‘ownership’ being problematic..guardian, or custodianship better?How to introduce more profound biological knowledge? How to rebuild models of collaborative action, and support others initiatives, but in a linked up way.
November 2016 US Lecture and Research Tour by Martin Large
Hope, Fear and Building Commonweal: Rudolf Steiner’s Threefold Vision for Society
What social future do we want and how do we get there?
This lecture and research trip is an opportunity to learn from positive US social, economic and political develoments, meet people similary engaged, and also share questions arising with those working practically with Rudolf Steiner’s social ideas and vision for a threefold commonwealth or society.
Visiting the USA in October/November 2003 on a Winston Churchill travelling fellowship, I was inspired by New York guerrilla gardeners and by community land trust pioneers across the USA such as the Fellowship community at Spring Valley, Burlington Vermont CLT and Temple Wilton Biodynamic Farm. This led to working with others on CLT National Demonstratioon Projects to help set up many UK community land trusts for social housing, changing UK law, innovative co-op community financing and farm land trusts in Britain, including the Biodynamic Land Trust.
At a time of great change and challenge, amidst the mess of market fundamentalism, I will ask, ‘How does Rudolf Steiner’s dynamic social thinking inspire us to build a more free, equal, mutual and earthcaring commonwealth…… One biodynamic farm, vibrant school and social business at a time?’ … However the starting point is, ’ What are your burning social questions?”
I work as a facilitator and live in Stroud, UK. Books include, Social Ecology (1981), Futures that Work (2002), Common Wealth (2010), which draws on Steiner’s social threefolding to map an emerging commonwealth society. Asked when working in civil war torn former Yugoslavia in the 1990’s, ‘What, then, is the alternative to communism and capitalism?’ I have been action researching this question ever since..
Dates, Venues and Times of Talks and Workshop
3 November; Anthroposophical Society 138 W15th St New York NY 10011 . New York City 7pm: Hope, Fear and Building Commonweal: Rudolf Steiner’s Threefold Vision for Society-How do we get there?
More information: firstname.lastname@example.org
4/5the November talk/workshop in Spring Valley: Hope, Fear and Building Commonweal: Rudolf Steiner’s Threefold Vision for Society: How do we get there?
More information: email@example.com
Sunday 6 : Restoring Hope: Rudolf Steiner’s Social Vision of a Threefold Commonwealth: 7pm Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, Music Room
518-672-4465, x223 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday 9: Temple Wilton, New Hampshire evening talk Hope, Fear and Building Commonweal: Rudolf Steiner’s Threefold Vision for Society and Community Farm/Land Trusts
Friday, Nov 11, 7:30pm – 9:15pm; Rudolf Steiner College, Sacramento: Evening Talk: Hope, Fear and Building Commonweal: Rudolf Steiner’s Vision for a Threefold Commonwealth- What social future do we want and How do we get there?
Saturday Nov 12, 9:30am – 4:30pm , Rudolf Steiner College: Threefolding Conference
2016 Biodynamic Conference: Tierra Viva: Farming the Living Earth
November 16-20, Santa Fe, NM
So often, farmers and growers see in the shops a big price mark up of the food they grow. At the same time, they are barely making a living. In the UK, aggressive supermarket buyers have sometimes forced the price of milk, for example, below the economic cost of production. So one response is for producers use various methods such farm gate sales points, community supported agriculture (CSA) or running a farmers market stall to reach the consumer directly, and bypass the middleman distributor, wholesaler or retailer. Not surprisingly, there has been a huge growth around the world in both famers’ markets and in CSA’s.
However, in Stroud, Gloucestershire where I live, we have both a thriving Saturday Farmers Market, Stroud Community Agriculture Farm-a 290 member CSA co-op , and StroudCo which was set up several years ago by a group of local food activists as a distribution platform to link local buyers and suppliers who for various reasons wanted something different. It is a food hub.
As a food hub StroudCo sources local produce from local farmers, bakers, growers, beekeepers, preservers, fermenters and other suppliers. Through their website members can order from all these different producers and collect their shopping in one place. Many producer members are also shopper members and vice versa. The aim is to create a market place that facilitates a direct link from producer to consumer.
Nick Weir, one of the founding directors of StroudCo food hub (www.stroudco.org.uk) is working with other UK food markets, co-ops and hubs to introduce a UK instance of the innovative and amazingly practical, timely Open Food Network, which originated in Australia. https://www.openfoodnetwork.org.au
What is OFN? Open Food Network (OFN) is an open source (free) web infrastructure to decentralise the food system. OFN national “chapters” collaborate and have non-profit principles. The OFN enables producers to offer food and drink for sale direct to the public or through any kind of hub, market or retail outlet (collectively called shopfronts). Producers and shopfronts can then cross sell each other’s’ products and establish distribution arrangements. OFN also provides some sales reporting and and accounting functionality. By creating a “group” users can link various producers and hubs, where one hub manages a catalogue of products and coordinates logistics for other hubs. This allows for lower transport costs and reduced CO2 emissions. OFN also enables visibility of the food ecosystem on a map, allowing the actors to identify and create new links and partnerships.
Why OFN? The current food system produces many negative externalities (health issues, loss of biodiversity and topsoil, antibiotic resistance, low-nutrient food, waste, high suicide rates in the agricultural community, etc.). All these externalities are the symptoms of a sick food system. But what are the root causes behind this disease? All these problems are caused by two major root causes:
The growing distance between producers and consumers, primarily physical (urbanization, globalization, accumulation of intermediaries) and psychological (we no longer know where our food comes from or how it is produced, and we give little value to our food and easily waste it)
Increasing trends of centralization, concentration and vertical and horizontal integration during recent decades has shifted the power from producers to agribusiness, and now a handful of multinational agro-industries control the food system (seeAgropoly report) .
OFN addresses these root causes by facilitating the creation & administration of local food ecosystems and by providing transparent information, thus bringing producers closer to consumers and enabling the decentralization of the food system.
The OFN guiding values are:
–Land: we support farmers and producers using regenerative agricultural practices
–Global Commons: all members of OFN co-create and share the responsibility for the Commons.
–People first: we are building a human system, which defends at its heart mutual respect and empathy, as well as diversity, inclusion and tolerance.
–Transparency: we are deploying transparency both on the platform we are building as well as in the operation of our organisation.
–Constant evolution: we live in a world of perpetual change, which requires continuous adaptation and agility.
–Empowerment: our project empowers individuals to create their own activity, and gives the freedom to choose the food system they desire.
–Subsidiarity: decisions are most effective when they are taken at the most local level appropriate.
–Systemic change: we believe in a global transition that addresses the root causes of a broken food system, not its symptoms.
Farmers, market growers, artisans, breeders wishing to sell their products
Producer groups or farmer’s markets who wish to distribute their products collectively
Distributors and wholesalers who want to restore transparency in their supply chain
Grocery stores, independent shops, restaurants and cafeterias wishing to source directly from producers
Consumers who collectively purchase direct from producers (Community Supported Agriculture, buying clubs, cooperative grocery stores)
To find out more about the global OFN community visit https://openfoodnetwork.org/
To join the global OFN discussion forum visit http://community.openfoodnetwork.org/
If you want to follow this up, then Myriam, based in France, is a “global community gardener” for the OFN. She supports people who want to set up OFN in their country or region. She is an entry point for any info about the project (community, values, international development, etc.). email@example.com
In the USA, Mike Kilmer, firstname.lastname@example.org has started investigating the OFN for the USA, but there is not yet an official entity leading the project there. Mike has set up a US staging server and some other local people interested have started to play with it (https://staging.usfoodcoop.org/map)