I just read an article by a good friend, Ruth Davis, “Why greens can build the new capitalism“, where she writes:
“An alternative to the current system there must be, even if those paid to do so have not yet dreamt it up. But conceiving of such an alternative and populating it with useful ideas, means seeing beyond the sixth form history text books: for this is no straight fight between the free market and the state. Indeed, what many people seem to long for are working lives over which they have more control; not micro-managed by government, subject to the whims of unregulated capital, or humiliated by incompetent managers. Fulfilling this longing will require re-inventing some things which have been long-since abandoned; enterprises rooted in local communities; capital markets focused on nurturing local businesses and stewarding natural resources; and above all, a political ethos which recognises value above and beyond that which can or will delivered by financial markets……..A renewed sense of place; a commitment to value above efficiency; a willingness to challenge vested interests and restore economic power to local communities; all these things would characterise a government that really believed in responsible capitalism. They would also take us several steps towards a green and more sustainable economy. Building a new economy is the hard work that lies before all of us.”
Part of the idea behind this blog is to share information that has to do with what Ruth writes about: “nurturing local businesses and stewarding natural resources” here on the Franco-Swiss border.
As a start, I can’t think of a better example than supporting local farmers through vegetable/fruit box schemes. You know where your food is coming from, it’s fresh, it’s seasonal, it’s invariably organic, food miles are zero, and by paying up front for the year’s produce ahead, you guarantee the farmer an annual income. In France, such schemes are called “une association pour le maintien d’une agriculture paysanne” or AMAP. I’m aware of three in the Pays de Gex, and they all have waiting lists, so I hope more will be created in the years to come:
AMAP du Pays de Gex, Prevessin Moens 01280
In the canton of Geneva there’s:
Le panier à quatre pattes
Les verges d’épicure
Les ares et vous
And for those living in and around Annemasse in Haute Savoie check out:
I’m also growing my own vegetables, and one day hope to have enough expertise to ensure a regular crop of produce throughout the growing season. For the moment, sharing a vegetable/fruit basket from my local AMAP with a neighbour means we eat local, fresh, organic produce nearly the whole year long and we are helping to support the livelihood of a farming family of three.
It’s the kind of win-win situation that makes total sense, methinks.
Bring on the spring and a new year of yummy harvests!
P.S. If you don’t have a garden, live in Ferney Voltaire, and are looking for somewhere to grow your own, the mairie (town hall) is offering allotment space. Sign-up by the end of February: http://www.ferney-voltaire.fr/199-jardins-familiaux