Check out this awesome zine about making mead sent to us by our friend Jonathan Tanis. It starts with an introduction contextualising fermentation as a political act which is both democratizing and embraces the commons, bubbling away with “unrealized possibility” for forming human connections and alliances. It then moves on to explain the historical and anthropological contexts of mead making. Humans have been consuming honey for nearly 9,000 years and mead has featured heavily throughout our civilizations. Naturally there are also instructions and a recipe for brewing your own mead at home!
This is a fascinating and inspiring read full of history, art, poetry and politics, and as the authors say, in this time of global strife and agitation, make mead, not war.
If you or somebody you know is an artist, poet, academic or farmer, and would like to get involved with future Culture & Agriculture or Agropunk zines, please contact Jonathan at email@example.com.
On this day in 1845, Westminster, the UK Parliament passed the 1845 enclosure act. Although not the first step in the enclosure of the commons, this act created enclosure commissioners who were given the authority to enclose land without prior parliamentary approval. In total, over the course of 300 years, the British government enclosed nearly 7 million acres of the commons in Britain alone. In doing so they created the ‘working class’ and systematic private property in one fell swoop. This model became a worldwide blueprint that has led us to the situation in which we find ourselves today. Enclosure of the commons, coupled with imperialism has ensured that hundreds of millions of people are unable to access agricultural land and billions more live in abject poverty, despite living in regions of abundance. Continue reading →
If you’ve not heard of David Bollier, now is as good a time as ever.
Bollier is an author, activist and blogger that spends a lot of time researching and thinking about the commons. He has written a number of excellent books looking at ways in which economies and communities can transition to commons based systems.
From his latest book Think Like a Commoner:
In our age of predatory markets and make-believe democracy, our troubled political institutions have lost sight of real people and practical realities. But if you look to the edges, ordinary people are reinventing governance and provisioning on their own terms. The commons is arising as a serious, practical alternative to the corrupt Market/State.
The beauty of commons is that we can build them ourselves, right now. But the bigger challenge is, Can we learn to see the commons and, more importantly, to think like a commoner?
Recently Bollier gave a lecture in Athens about the emerging commons economy in Greece post collapse.
Farmer, tool hacker, organizer, and self styled agricultural anthropologist (and, we’re proud to say, a GH blog editor) Samuel Oslund takes us on a journey into les Rencontres de l’Atelier Paysan. Les Rencontres is a yearly gathering of farmers from across France, hosted by our French farm hacking heroes l’Atelier Paysan (roughly The Peasant’s/agrarian Workshop). The event is a hands on skill sharing celebration, filled with food, good wine, and some fairly strange music. Continue reading →
George Monbiot has something of reputation for discussing the more dire circumstances we face today, but in his latest article for The Guardian he presents some reasons not to despair. In particular, Monbiot hones in on the commons, which (as you may know) is the theme of this years New Farmers Almanac.
The indigenous peoples and activists at Standing Rock are facing militarized police and a impenetrable silence in the mainstream media as they work to protect the indigenous rights granted by treaty and our collective water commons.
The camp still needs supplies, donations, and volunteers. If you haven’t donated yet, this is a good time. If you have already donated, consider doing so again. All the necessary info can be found here.
This will be the second Agrarian Trust OUR LAND symposium, and once again we’ve got speakers from around the country and around the region focusing our attention, analysis, activism and collective agency on issues relevant to your regional foodshed.
This event is presented by Agrarian Trust and has a focus on Land access, land transition and the issues underlying ownership and management of the territory required for an autonomous and sovereign food system.
The central themes of this symposium center on land-use and governance regimes of the southwest region. We will learn about the acequias, a system of irrigation ditch commons brought by the Spanish. The history, management regimes and future prospects of this system represent a powerful curriculum for other commons-based systems. Can these ditch commons be explained to include their uplands and headwaters, or will ditch rights be lost to privatization and sold to developers?
The activists currently protecting the water commons, their indigenous heritage, and our planet against institutionalized corporate greed. We stand with them. See Thursday’s post for more background on the Dakota Access Pipeline and the protest again it and for ways you can help, and, at the very least, sign the petition here.
We are so proud of this awesome collaboration. If you’ve been wondering how a maritime art stunt fits into the mission of an organization that supports farmers (I mean, talk about your landlubbers!), this publication is for you! Manifesta lays out the story, history, discourse, and activism behind the Maine Sail Freight project last summer! The un-monograph is a fun and galvanizing read, and we think it is going to make a real believer out of you!
It’s an elaborate stunt, invoking colonial history and the maritime ex- traction economy of coastal Maine as a platform for discourse on a more regional, more prosperous, and more diverse food economy for the future.
We claim the ocean as an ally and a commons—a venue to imagine what a world where 60% of the retail price goes to the farmer, and view- point from which to watch the farmers of the region operate, and co-oper- ate to circulate wealth and add value. We raise a flag for food sovereignty on the mast of our sail boat.
We are not content to labor where 70% of the agricultural work is performed by those without citizenship. We are not content to operate in a high-volume, low-value commodity extraction economy. We are not content to be silent while our nation negotiates yet more free trade agree- ments freeing only those at the top of the capitalist slag heap and chaining the rest of us to their terms.
Join Brian Donahue, Marguerita Desy and John Forti for an evening panel and facilitated public discussion to bring these questions to the fore- ground. The Greenhorns’ Maine Sail Freight project, delivering Maine-grown cargo to Boston’s Long Wharf on August 30th prolongs our public- performance logistics with a series of public conversations. We’ll be at Boston Public Market the whole month of September, and over the winter will start back up with public programs in Maine.
The young farmers movement shares a bold vision, to rebuild a more regional, more sustainable, more resilient food economy. Individual farms and farmers are actors, but we know that coordinating across bigger distances and confronting the structural and economic barriers will require serious teamwork. Our boat-stunt, doing more than $70,000 in regional trade, is intended to bring into the open some of these larger systems- coordination questions. We Greenhorns want to get guidance from our elders, and lessons from history about how trade evolves, and how systems evolve, and how we should be preparing ourselves for the work ahead. This panel is mostly about the history of trade in this country, as a way to inform our approach to the re-design of trade-systems. Continue reading →
…but I have to confess: I didn’t know what crofting meant either, and it’s way more inspiring than I’d imagined. Turns out, crofting is a system of land tenure unique to the Scottish countryside in which villages and communities share crofts— Continue reading →