In This Incredible City People Live With No Politics, No Religion And No Money


 

by Alexa Erickson

The city’s name is Auroville, and this utopian township allows men and women of all nationalities to to reside in peace and harmony. Here, human unity is allowed to flourish.

Founded in 1968, Auroville, or the “City of Dawn,” was named an international city by UNESCO, with its inhabitants hailing from more than 50 nations and different cultures.

So often we focuses on the differences that divide us, whether they be political, economical, or spiritual, and create boundaries as a result. But at Auroville, there is no need to raise walls between people, because there are no restricting systems. There is no money, no religion, and no politics. And so, people are able to peacefully coexist.

Instead of a government, self-formed committees run the town, and rather than money, there’s the “Aurocard.” Alcohol isn’t sold inside Auroville, and cars are banned from entering its roads. But no rules are actually enforced, as there isn’t an official government or police force. Instead, the city relies on a system of trust between residents.

Topics like this were something that intrigued us greatly while creating our most recent documentary CE3: The Shift, you can watch a free screening here.

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The utopian vision for Auroville came about from spiritual leader Mirra Alfassa, known as the “Mother” of Auroville. She drew the first plan for the city in 1960, dividing it into four zones: industrial (organic farms), cultural (shops and businesses), residential, and international (areas for visitors).

That same year, French architect Roger Anger transformed her vision into a masterplan consisting of a spiral of homes, public buildings, farms, and forests. Since then, outside organizations have begun projects to progress Auroville’s original vision. Architect Anupama Kundoo, for instance, has designed Lego-style houses for residents, and the architects from the Auroville Design Consultancy have drawn up over 20 public spaces for the city, such as kindergartens, libraries, resorts, and homes. While many have yet to be built, the intended projects revolve around human connection and environmental sustainability.

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This peaceful, anarchic community seeks to be a sustainable eco-city, where multi-cropping, combining fruit trees, cornfields, and orchards, organized into 15 farms and spanning an area of nearly 2.5 acres, ensures there is plenty of food to support the population. Fifty villagers and 300 neighbors work on the farms, producing 2% of rice and cereals consumed and 50% of vegetables. The village is also self-reliant in milk and dairy products, as well as seasonal fruit. There are many other projects run by Aurovillians, from schools and IT to renewable energy and handicrafts production. As a result, 4,000 to 5,000 people are employed from nearby villages.

It seems outside opinions of Auroville vary, from respect and admiration to the suggestion that its residents are merely taking part in self-indulgent escapism. Almost 60% of the residents here are foreign, while most new members require more funds than the majority of people in India are likely to ever have. And except for the non-existent government, many would argue Auroville doesn’t resemble the envisioned plan for the city.

Even the city’s website acknowledges this, but proclaims it is actively working on getting there. Yet to see that a break in the system has occurred, and that there are people looking to make it a tangible reality, is incredibly telling of the desire so many of us have, deep down, to be free of the restrictions we’ve come to view as normal.

Alfassa believed that:

There should be somewhere on earth a place which no nation could claim as its own, where all human beings of goodwill who have a sincere aspiration could live freely as citizens of the world and obey one single authority, that of the supreme Truth; a place of peace, concord and harmony where all the fighting instincts of man would be used exclusively to conquer the causes of his sufferings and miseries, to surmount his weaknesses and ignorance, to triumph over his limitations and incapacities; a place where the needs of the spirit and the concern for progress would take precedence over the satisfaction of desires and passions, the search for pleasure and material enjoyment.

In this place, children would be able to grow and develop integrally without losing contact with their souls; education would be given not for passing examinations or obtaining certificates and posts but to enrich existing faculties and bring forth new ones. In this place, titles and positions would be replaced by opportunities to serve and organise; the bodily needs of each one would be equally provided for, and intellectual, moral and spiritual superiority would be expressed in the general organisation not by an increase in the pleasures and powers of life but by increased duties and responsibilities. 

Beauty in all its artistic forms, painting, sculpture, music, literature, would be equally accessible to all; the ability to share in the joy it brings would be limited only by the capacities of each one and not by social or financial position.

For in this ideal place money would no longer be the sovereign lord; individual worth would have a far greater importance than that of material wealth and social standing. There, work would not be a way to earn one’s living but a way to express oneself and to develop one’s capacities and possibilities while being of service to the community as a whole, which, for its own part, would provide for each individual’s subsistence and sphere of action. 

At Auroville, human relationships are not meant to rely on competition and strife, but rather on unity; to appreciate each other’s ability to do well, and use that as a driving force to create a community that does well.

 

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/12/22/in-this-incredible-city-people-live-with-no-politics-no-religion-and-no-money/

 

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UBUNTU Update 16 Oct 2016 by Michael Tellinger


“ONE SMALL TOWN” Can change the world!
The new global UBUNTU plan of action for 2017
“ONE SMALL TOWN” Can change the world! – is about to be released any day. While in the USA, during Sept 2016 we had a powerful strategic meeting with several of the UBUNTU USA team core members and agreed on our new strategy and plan of action that we all believe will be unstoppable.

The ONE SMALL TOWN plan is a solid model which will unite people and their political leaders while providing unimaginable opportunities for conscious millionaires to come to the rescue of the many stagnant or failing small towns in the USA and all over the world.

We are creating communities of abundance, where people live united in support of each other – instead of living divided in fear of each other – and where everything and anything is possible, because there are no hurdles or restrictions to progress. This plan will be implemented in all countries with minor modifications, through the core management teams in each country.

We are now truly starting to pave the highway of unity across all borders and cultural divides, out of the matrix of economic enslavement, and manifesting our own UTOPIAN reality that so many of us have wished for all our lives. A new society where the need for “money” is no longer relevant.

There are many movements that share great knowledge and information with people of the world, but at this stage it seems that the UBUNTU Movement is the only movement with a plan for the future, and a NEW SYSTEM. The plan is simple and easily achievable. All we have to do is unite and work in cooperation and collaboration. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are trying to mislead you or keep you trapped in the matrix.

Anonymous, is planing large gatherings to voice the people’s unhappiness with global affairs and stating that we urgently need a new PLAN. I urge everyone to notify the Anonymous Group that UBUNTU has a plan – and to help spread the awareness of our plan to the world.

We are creating a new alternative and a new way ahead for all of humanity – without any violence, resistance, or opposition to anyone. As we create this new reality and a new system for ourselves in our united communities, the old system will simply wither and fade away.

In the days to come, I will be reaching out to all countries to establish the core UBUNTU management teams that will receive detailed training regarding the Plan of Action so that they can present it to their own towns accurately.
Join the UBUNTU Movement and spread the message – become a seed of consciousness in your area. http://www.ubuntuparty.org.za
In unity and resonance
Michael Tellinger

The ‘Tesla of eco-villages’ is developing off-grid villages that grow their own food and generate their own power


ReGen VillageReGen Villages

If you move into a new neighborhood being constructed outside of Amsterdam, your salad greens might come from the greenhouse attached to your home. Your eggs could be gathered from the village chicken coop, and your food waste would all get harvested for compost.

ReGen Villages is a startup real estate development company aiming to build small, self-sustaining residential communities around the world. The first one is expected to be completed in Almere, Netherlands in 2018. Unlike traditional subdivisions, ReGen villages would be “regenerative” (hence the name), since they’d use resources in a closed loop.

“Regenerative means systems where the output of one system can actually be the input of another,” ReGen’s founder, James Ehrlich tells Business Insider.

In ReGen villages, household food waste is composted and fed to flies, which in turn feeds fish, which then fertilizes aquaponic gardens (multi-layered systems that combine fish farming and hydroponic agriculture, with plant roots submerged in nutrient-rich solution rather than soil). Those aquaponic farms grow produce for residents to eat, as do seasonal gardens, which are be fertilized by waste from livestock raised to feed residents. Rainwater is harvested and filtered for use in the farms and gardens, and on-site solar panels power the homes.

ReGen Village diagramReGen Villages

Though this kind of regenerative, self-sufficient neighborhood might sound like a pipe dream, ReGen has already determined its first two sites. Ehrlich says he expects to sign a memo of understanding for a plot of land in Lund, Sweden in the coming weeks — the agreement will outline the intent to purchase the land and set forth initial terms. And ReGen’s first site in the Netherlands is currently undergoing archaeological testing to make sure the village won’t be built on top of any historic ruins.

Ehrlich expects to break ground there in the first quarter of 2017, begin construction by the end of the summer, and have the first 25 homes built by the end of the year.

Each completed village will house 100 families on about 50 acres. Each family’s house will have an attached greenhouse for growing personal crops, and the village’s communal farms and livestock will be managed and run by ReGen staff. Individuals can pitch in their labor as a way to lower the monthly fees homeowners pay on top of their mortgages. (In the Almere community, Ehrlich expects that cost to be around $560.)

ReGen Village greenhouseReGen Villages

“It’s this concept that the way you look at a subdivision is edible, so you walk through the path and there’s berries and fruit trees and nuts and spices and all kinds of things to enjoy,” Ehrlich says. “We don’t do lawns, we don’t do golf courses or tennis courts. That’s a good place to grow food, so we’re going to grow food there.”

Ehrlich refers to ReGen as the “Tesla of eco-villages,” because he says the neighborhoods will allow eco-conscious people to elegantly go off the grid on their own terms. The villages will also use sensors and technology to monitor energy use, farming efficiency, and living patterns, and send that data to the cloud so villages in similar geographic regions can learn from each other. The strategy is similar to the way Tesla uses machine learning to analyze data gathered from the autopilot systems in its cars.

ReGen, which was founded in 2015, has partnered with Copenhagen-based architecture firm Effekt to design all the villages. Ehrlich says he hopes to build many more than the two that are already in progress — he’s in discussions about buying sites in Denmark, Norway, Germany and Belgium.

ReGen Village streetReGen Villages

Ehrlich says the ReGen villages are designed to give people an environmentally friendly alternative to urban life. He also hopes they can help make agriculture more sustainable and less wasteful.

He envisions these communities as disaster-resistant as well, since they could likely continue running if the current grid were compromised. He mentions Superstorm Sandy as an example.

“My family was without power for three weeks, and it got real after about three days,” he says. “You run out of food, and your credit card doesn’t work, and even if you have cash, you go to the supermarket and the shelves are bare. It doesn’t take long for civilization to collapse, for there to be chaos.”

Not every village could produce enough food or harvest enough water to satisfy all of its residents, of course. Ehrlich says the percentage of the nutritional needs the village could fulfill will depend on the climate in a given place (a farm in Hawaii could produce more year-round food than one in Sweden), as well as what the residents have come to expect to eat (imported delicacies, processed food, etc).

But Ehrlich’s initial estimates are optimistic — he says a village could produce enough fresh food to take care of 50-100% of the needs of its residents.

ReGen village farmReGen Villages

And if there’s any excess food or energy gathered, he says, that could also be sold, and the profits could offset residents’ fees.

Ehrlich’s next step is to firm up the designs for the different houses that prospective buyers will be able to purchase in the Netherlands. Then he can start compiling the initial list of people who are seriously interested in moving in.

Source:

http://www.businessinsider.com/self-sufficient-village-regen-2016-9

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/self-sufficient-village-regen-2016-9

Michael Tellinger Ubuntu London Meeting 2016 – Ancient Civilisations, Banking & Enslavement to Money & Ubuntu Plan of Action, Part 1, 2 & 3


Part 1 Ancient Civilizations

Part 2 Banking & Enslavement to Money

Part 3 Ubuntu Plan of Action

President Putin facilitates the “Space of Love” concept in Russia


Note: Before the illegal military occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom in the 1890’s, there was no concept as “land ownership”. The monarchy gave residents a parcel of land to steward in perpetuity and was theirs pass on to family members – as long as the land was cared for as mutually agreed upon, based on land covenants.  This is an interesting move to observe on Putin’s behalf….Blessings, {~A~}
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In January 2015 Russia enacted the principle thing that Anastasia suggests for all nations to do:

– For the governments of the world to GIFT to all families of that nation what she termed “a Space of Love” or a “Kin’s Domain”. This is an area of land that a couple, a group of retirees, or a “family” (a very wide definition here) would establish for themselves and their children and grandchildren, into perpetuity. This would involve putting up your permanent buildings and out-houses such as sheds, woodwork shop, chicken coops, fish farming processing plant, home dairy (cheese, yoghut, etc production), milking shed, piggery, etc… (whatever YOU and your family want!) and planting your permanent fruiting trees and berries, and your timber trees for future generations, and obviously, establishing your vegetable garden. In English-language terms, a “Kin’s Domain” would be the family’s or the group’s “homestead”.

Anastasia specified that the area of land GIVEN to each couple or family should be One Hectare (just as Russian Deputy PM Yuri Tretnev proposed pre-2015) – so people can plant their own crops, raise small animals, have space for their children to run around and learn about nature, keep bees, enjoy each other’s company and welcome people outside of the family.

Anastatia envisaged (in “The Ringing Cedars of Russia” books published in Russian in 1996), that these “Kins Domains” or “Spaces of Love” would eventually return the whole world back to the “Garden Paradise” that it was originally: PEOPLE living on the land would work on creating a beautiful and useful garden on their “Kins Domain” and thereby, all efforts would return the whole world back to its original pristine condition…  A “garden of paradise”.  For example:

This is Tim Wilmott’s garden in England !!

He created this tropical garden paradise over a 20-year period. 

See what humans can do?  … Amazing !!!  : )

Source:  The Telegraph, July 2014

Please note:  The amount of ARABLE land on planet earth is 7,500,000,000 acres… (7.5 billion). You can easily Google these figures. That’s the same number of acres as there are people on the planet – so right now, every man, woman and child could have guardianship of one acre…  RIGHT NOW !!  

And just to clarify: “Arable” land means fertile, good to grow trees, food and vegetables on…  ie: it’s not rock or sand, but it’s good soil.

Also, there are billions of acres of non-arable land on the earth as well, which is where towns and cities could be built (or remain), where manufacturing could happen, IT, commerce, government buildings, and all kinds of other infrastructure such as ship building, airports, logistics…

ie:  There would be no problems whatsoever in getting everbody on this planet 

on to FARMABLE LAND.  There is PLENTY for all !!  : )

Articles/Research paper:

In 2011 the dacha gardens of Russia produced 40% of the nation’s food. – Natural Homes.com

The History of Dacha Movement – Ringing Cedars of Russia.org

“Global over-population” is a crock !!  – Co-creating Our New Earth

THE SOCIOECONOMIC AND CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE OF FOOD GARDENING IN THE VLADIMIR REGION OF RUSSIA – dissertation by Leonid Sharashkin (May) 2008.

Note: Leonid Sharashkin is the translator of “The Ringing Cedars of Russia” books into English.

Anastasia’s ‘dream’ is coming true…

Homestead Act for Russian Far East – Putin supports free land handout

https://www.rt.com/politics/224099-russia-land-free-east/

The Russian president has approved the idea to offer large land plots for free to anyone who resettles to the Russian Far East to start a farm or other business.

The initiative was first voiced by the deputy PM and presidential envoy to the Far East Federal District, Yuri Trutnev, who said that such a step would “strengthen the tendency of people’s migration to the Far East,” Interfax reported.Trutnev told reporters that Putin called the idea right in principle and noted that similar programs had been successfully implemented in Siberia historically. Putin urged all responsible officials to be precise and cautious when detailing the conditions for land ownership, however.

Trutnev’s initial suggestion was to “create a mechanism for the free allocation of a 1 hectare (2.5 acres) plot of land to every resident of the Far East and to anyone who is willing to come and live in the region so that they could start a private business in farming, forestry, game hunting or some other enterprise.”

He added that the agreement could be signed for five years, and then it should either enter full force if the new landlord follows the plan, or be declared void if the land is not used. He also added that corruption in the process of distribution can be prevented if the land plots are far from big cities with their well-developed infrastructure and competitive environment.

The scheme has been designed to limit the possible selling of the land plots to foreign companies and individuals, Trutnev said. “We will give it a try,” he said. “I think this measure will prove to be effective.”

Please also see:

Russia gives away one hectare of farmland and forest to its citizens  – Siberian Times

China Eyes Land Giveaway Program in Russia’s Far East  – The Diplomat

Homestead Act for Russian Far East – Putin Supports Free Land Handout  – Good News Network

Far_Eastern_in_Russia-map-cc-TUBS

http://co-creatingournewearth.blogspot.com/2016/02/president-putin-facilitates-space-of.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Co-creatingOurNewEarth+%28Co-creating+Our+New+Earth%29

America’s First School District to Serve 100% Organic Meals


When schools in California’s Sausalito Marin City District return to session this August, they were the first in the nation to serve their students 100 percent organic meals, sustainable sourced and free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

“Students everywhere are vulnerable to pesticide residues and unsafe environmental toxins,” Turning Green founder Judi Shils said on Tuesday.“Not only does this program far exceed USDA nutritional standards, but it ties the health of our children to the health of our planet. It’s the first program to say that fundamentally, you cannot have one without the other.”

The organization says meals will be accompanied by nutrition and gardening education. The Conscious Kitchen previously served 156 students at Bayside MLK Jr. Academy, where it first tested the program starting in August 2013. Over the course of two years, the founders said, disciplinary cases decreased and attendance increased.

Moreover, the program will address the controversial issue of GMOs in school food. As environmental news outlet EcoWatch reports:

“This program is the first to take a stand against GMOs. While the long-term effects of GMOs are still uncertain, a growing body of evidence links them to a variety of health risks and environmental damage. An estimated 80 percent of items on most supermarket shelves contain GMOs, and they are ubiquitous in school food programs.”

Nutritional experts have long pointed out that food and beverages in schools have a long-term impact on children’s health and well-being. The 2010 Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act required schools in the U.S. to update their meal provisions to meet new USDA nutritional standards and offer more whole wheat products, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins to children who receive subsidized school lunches.

But as the Berkeley-based nutritional nonprofit The Edible Schoolyard Project explains, it is equally important to prioritize food education.

“Schools that incorporate an integrated approach to edible education—combining local, seasonal food procurement strategies with hands-on lessons taught in the classroom, kitchen, and garden—are far more likely to sustain healthy school meal initiatives,” said Liza Siegler, the organization’s head of partnerships and engagement.

As Justin Everett, consulting chef with the Conscious Kitchen, explained on Tuesday, “By embracing fresh, local, organic, non-GMO food, this program successfully disrupts the cycle of unhealthy, pre-packaged, heat and serve meals that dominate school kitchens.”

via HealthyFoodUSA

 

http://offgridquest.com/food/americas-first-school-district-to-serve-

 

Ed. Note: Parents, if you’re frustrated and feeling helpless about the food being served in the cafeteria where your children eat, here’s your chance to take action. Now that a precedent has been set in Sausalito, CA, I would suggest meeting with other parents in your district who have the same health concerns and putting a strategy together for compiling data to present to the Principal, or even your local school board to address the entire district.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the school board in Sausalito for feedback on how their program works, addressing budget concerns, data on disciplinary action and attendance, and any other pertinent information to build your case. You might ask about overall health of the student population and how that relates to improved attendance. Also, are there any local pediatricians who are willing to share their feedback on how the program has reduced  office calls and if they’ve seen a reduction in specific health problems. You get the picture…get all the facts together and make a solid case before approaching school officials.

This is an idea long overdue, now is the time to take action in your community and make a difference where it counts, with future generations.

How To Get Free Food (And Other P2P Solutions) ~ Corbett Report


CLICK HERE FOR THE INVESTIGATION: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=17930

As we’ve discussed before, the peer-to-peer economy is emerging in surprising and empowering ways, with sites like RipeNear.me connecting people to local food sources in ways never before possible. But as the eye of Sauron (aka JP Morgan) alights on this new phenomenon, it’s important that we take stock of the P2P economy before it is co-opted and corrupted. Join James for a new open source investigation into the P2P platforms that are helping to connect communities and empower individuals across the globe.

Marcin Jakubowski: Open Source Ecology Lecture



Lecture, April 2, 2014 at the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, CMU College of Fine Arts. Presented in partnership with the CMU School of Architecture Spring 2014 Lecture Series.
TED Senior Fellow Marcin Jakubowski, a Princeton-trained physicist-turned-farmer, is using the power of the DIY movement to create a free, open-source “starter kit for civilization.” Jakubowski directs the Open Source Ecology initiative, which aims to develop a set of easy-to-follow, open source blueprints for the 50 machines most essential for modern life. The 50 machines comprise the Global Village Construction Set: a “lifesize, scalable, modular LEGO construction set” for building modern life, and include an automobile, an induction furnace, and a bakery oven.
Jakubowski is testing the feasibility of this concept on “Factor e Farm,” a 30-acre parcel of land near Kansas City, Missouri. According to its website, Factor e Farm “aims to take what civilization has learned about what it means to thrive, and determine whether it is feasible to use abundant local resources to create industrial civilization. [….] This is a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, but its achievement has huge implications on solving Wicked Problems.”
Marcin Jakubowski’s ideas and work have earned him international acclaim, including distinction as a TED Senior Fellow, a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow, and a White House Champion of Change. He has been profiled by news outlets and academic journals worldwide. During Jakubowski’s visit, he will first participate in a panel discussion with School of Architecture faculty members Dana Cupkova, Madeline Gannon, and Matt Huber about the social responsibility of digital design; then he’ll offer a lecture and participate in a Q&A session about his work with Open Source Ecology and Factor e Farm. Jakubowski also seeks to meet one-on-one with talented designers, creators, and thinkers interested in helping kickstart Factor e Farm as the first full-scale implementation of Open Source Ecology.
For more information on Jackubowski, see this New Yorker article, “The Civilization Kit” (9MB PDF).

Billions in Change ~ Official Film **Editors TOP Pick**


Editors Note: A truly inspirational film about a simple, humble man giving back in a variety ways that WILL make a difference in the lives of billions of people.

Help this film go viral, please share FREELY!

Mahalo, Annette

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The world is facing some huge problems. There’s a lot of talk about how to solve them. But talk doesn’t reduce pollution, or grow food, or heal the sick. That takes doing. This film is the story about a group of doers, the elegantly simple inventions they have made to change the lives of billions of people, and the unconventional billionaire spearheading the project.

Join us at:
http://www.BillionsInChange.com
https://www.facebook.com/billionsinch…
https://twitter.com/billionsnchange
https://instagram.com/billionsinchange

Just One Hour From Vancouver There Is A Secret Island Where Everyone Lives Completely Off-grid


Lasqueti is a secret Canadian island where the vast majority of residents are completely off-grid.

offthegrid

Lasqueti is a small island between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, twelve miles long and three miles wide. It is home to a little known community of off-gridders who take pride in their isolation from both mainstream culture and mainland Canada.

With very little industry or economy, most of the residents live simply, taking what they need from the land and having next to no carbon footprint (and little need for money). The 2011 census recorded 426 people living in Lasqueti (although a more up-to-date website states there are 350 permanent residents) including 70 children. According to the community blog, Lasqueti is “an island of individuals, with poets, artists, physicists, fishermen, loggers, tree planters, designers, professional musicians, published authors, some small scale manufacturers, some commercial agriculture as well as professional consultants in education, engineering, forestry and alternate energy.”

While some residents use solar panels, wood burning stoves, wind turbines and water mills, others choose to live without electricity, period. For the average person, that might not sound like fun. But few can argue that the depletion of fossil fuels (and other aspects of modern living) are clearly unsustainable. Lasqueti’s residents share the opinion that living in harmony with nature is not only ethical, it is how we were supposed to live.

Personally, I have been fascinated with Lasqueti since 2010, when I was lucky enough to host one of its residents while he was traveling and ‘couchsurfing’ in Spain. Robert was living on Lasqueti in an old converted school bus (which he ran off vegetable oil), and he was one of the most interesting and intelligent people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. Skilled in building yurts, canoes, wooden boats, and other ecological structures, he was also a nomadic free spirit who spoke six languages and was knowledgeable about pretty much anything and everything you could possibly think of. According to Lasqueti’s website, Robert was by no means an exception: the island’s population “is the most highly educated community in British Columbia”, according to Statistics Canada.

In addition to the island’s one bar and one cafe, Lasqueti also has a free store where people can leave or collect items without any monetary exchange. Just one hour by boat from Vancouver island, Lasqueti doesn’t have a tourist industry, booming economy or any industry to speak of, but those who live there say that they enjoy the sense of timelessness, community, and freedom that their home provides.

There is no grocery store, so people tend to keep chickens and grow their own organic produce, as well as foraging for wild food in the forest covering the rocky island. Most people use composting toilets, and one resident even wrote a book entitled ‘How to Shyte on Lasqueti’ for those not familiar with the concept of how this works in practice.

Another useful resource for readers who are interested in seeing Lasqueti for themselves can be found here. The page details various options for visiting the island, including B&Bs and opportunities for wwoofing (helping on farms in exchange for food and accommodation).

We will leave you with some essential advice from Lasqueti’s residents: “However you decide to come, and whatever you are hoping to find here, please keep this in mind:  Lasqueti is not some utopian paradise, it is not an “intentional community”, and it is probably not whatever you think it is – it is just a relatively remote island, populated by a small, tight-knit community of quirky, independent-minded people, with its own unique culture and identity.  Come with an open mind, a willingness to discover something a little different, and without rigid expectations.  Resist the urge to project upon us your vision of what this place “should” be.  It is what it is, and we like it this way, warts and all.  If you can get with that, you too may find a place here.”

In the short documentary film below, a journalist from 16×9 News goes to meet some of Lasqueti’s characters and find out more about life in this beautiful land that time forgot.

Carrots in the car park. Radishes on the roundabout. The deliciously eccentric story of the town growing ALL its own veg


Admittedly, it sounds like the most foolhardy of criminal capers, and one of the cheekiest, too.

Outside the police station in the small Victorian mill town of Todmorden, West Yorkshire, there are three large raised flower beds.

If you’d visited a few months ago, you’d have found them overflowing with curly kale, carrot plants, lettuces, spring onions — all manner of vegetables and salad leaves.

Today the beds are bare. Why? Because people have been wandering up to the police station forecourt in broad daylight and digging up the vegetables. And what are the cops doing about this brazen theft from right under their noses? Nothing.

Food for thought: Todmorden resident Estelle Brown, a former interior designer, with a basket of home-grown veg

Food for thought: Todmorden resident Estelle Brown, a former interior designer, with a basket of home-grown veg

Well, that’s not quite correct.

‘I watch ’em on camera as they come up and pick them,’ says desk officer Janet Scott, with a huge grin. It’s the smile that explains everything.

For the vegetable-swipers are not thieves. The police station carrots — and thousands of vegetables in 70 large beds around the town — are there for the taking. Locals are encouraged to help themselves. A few tomatoes here, a handful of broccoli there. If they’re in season, they’re yours. Free.

So there are (or were) raspberries, apricots and apples on the canal towpath; blackcurrants, redcurrants and strawberries beside the doctor’s surgery; beans and peas outside the college; cherries in the supermarket car park; and mint, rosemary, thyme and fennel by the health centre.

The vegetable plots are the most visible sign of an amazing plan: to make Todmorden the first town in the country that is self-sufficient in food.

‘And we want to do it by 2018,’ says Mary Clear, 56, a grandmother of ten and co-founder of Incredible Edible, as the scheme is called.

‘It’s a very ambitious aim. But if you don’t aim high, you might as well stay in bed, mightn’t you?’

So what’s to stop me turning up with a huge carrier bag and grabbing all the rosemary in the town?

‘Nothing,’ says Mary.

What’s to stop me nabbing all the apples?

‘Nothing.’

All your raspberries?

‘Nothing.’

It just doesn’t happen like that, she says. ‘We trust people. We truly believe — we are witness to it — that people are decent.’

When she sees the Big Issue seller gathering fruit for his lunch, she feels only pleasure. What does it matter, argues Mary, if once in a while she turns up with her margarine tub to find that all the strawberries are gone?

‘This is a revolution,’ she says. ‘But we are gentle revolutionaries. Everything we do is underpinned by kindness.’

The idea came about after she and co-founder Pam Warhurst, the former owner of the town’s Bear Cafe, began fretting about the state of the world and wondered what they could do.

They reasoned that all they could do is start locally, so they got a group of people, mostly women, together in the cafe.

Incredible Edible is about more than plots of veg. It's about educating people about food, and stimulating the local economy (pictured Vincent Graff and Estelle)

Incredible Edible is about more than plots of veg. It’s about educating people about food, and stimulating the local economy (pictured Vincent Graff and Estelle)

‘Wars come about by men having drinks in bars, good things come about when women drink coffee together,’ says Mary.

‘Our thinking was: there’s so much blame in the world — blame local government, blame politicians, blame bankers, blame technology — we thought, let’s just do something positive instead.’

We’re standing by a car park in the town centre. Mary points to a housing estate up the hill. Her face lights up.

‘The children walk past here on the way to school. We’ve filled the flower beds with fennel and they’ve all been taught that if you bite fennel, it tastes like a liquorice gobstopper. When I see the children popping little bits of herb into their mouths, I just think it’s brilliant.’

She takes me over to the front garden of her own house, a few yards away.

Three years ago, when Incredible Edible was launched, she did a very unusual thing: she lowered her front wall, in order to encourage passers-by to walk into her garden and help themselves to whatever vegetables took their fancy.

There were signs asking people to take something but it took six months for folk to ‘get it’, she says.

They get it now. Obviously a few town-centre vegetable plants — even thousands of them — are not going to feed a community of 15,000 by themselves.

But the police station potatoes act as a recruiting sergeant — to encourage residents to grow their own food at home.

Today, hundreds of townspeople who began by helping themselves to the communal veg are now well on the way to self-sufficiency.

But out on the street, what gets planted where? There’s kindness even in that.

‘The ticket man at the railway station, who was very much loved, was unwell. Before he died, we asked him: “What’s your favourite vegetable, Reg?” It was broccoli. So we planted memorial beds with broccoli at the station. One stop up the line, at Hebden Bridge, they loved Reg, too — and they’ve also planted broccoli in his memory.’

Not that all the plots are — how does one put this delicately? — ‘official’.

Take the herb bushes by the canal. Owners British Waterways had no idea locals had been sowing plants there until an official inspected the area ahead of a visit by the Prince of Wales last year (Charles is a huge Incredible Edible fan).

Estelle Brown, a 67-year-old former interior designer who tended the plot, received an email from British Waterways.

‘I was a bit worried to open it,’ she says. ‘But it said: “How do you build a raised bed? Because my boss wants one outside his office window.”’

Incredible Edible is also about much more than plots of veg. It’s about educating people about food, and stimulating the local economy.

There are lessons in pickling and preserving fruits, courses on bread-making, and the local college is to offer a BTEC in horticulture. The thinking is that young people who have grown up among the street veg may make a career in food.

Crucially, the scheme is also about helping local businesses. The Bear, a wonderful shop and cafe with a magnificent original Victorian frontage, sources all its ingredients from farmers within a 30-mile radius.

There’s a brilliant daily market. People here can eat well on local produce, and thousands now do.

Meanwhile, the local school was recently awarded a £500,000 Lottery grant to set up a fish farm in order to provide food for the locals and to teach useful skills to young people.

Jenny Coleman, 62, who retired here from London, explains: ‘We need something for our young people to do. If you’re an 18-year-old, there’s got to be a good answer to the question: why would I want to stay in Todmorden?’

The day I visit, the town is battered by a bitterly-cold rain storm.  Yet the place radiates warmth. People speak to each other in the street, wave as neighbours drive past, smile.

If the phrase hadn’t been hijacked, the words ‘we’re all in this together’ would spring to mind.

So what sort of place is Todmorden (known locally, without exception, as ‘Tod’)? If you’re assuming it’s largely peopled by middle-class grandmothers, think again. Nor is this place a mecca for the gin-and-Jag golf club set.

Set in a Pennine valley — once, the road through the town served as the border between Yorkshire and Lancashire — it is a vibrant mix of age, class and ethnicity.

A third of households do not own a car; a fifth do not have central heating.

You can snap up a terrace house for £50,000 — or spend close to £1 million on a handsome stone villa with seven bedrooms.

And the scheme has brought this varied community closer together, according to Pam Warhurst.

Take one example. ‘The police have told us that, year on year, there has been a reduction in vandalism since we started,’ she says. ‘We weren’t expecting this.’

So why has it happened?

Pam says: ‘If you take a grass verge that was used as a litter bin and a dog toilet and turn it into a place full of herbs and fruit trees, people won’t vandalise it. I think we are hard-wired not to damage food.’

Pam reckons a project like Incredible Edible could thrive in all sorts of places. ‘If the population is very transient, it’s difficult. But if you’ve got schools, shops, back gardens and verges, you can do it.’

Similar schemes are being piloted in 21 other towns in the UK, and there’s been interest shown from as far afield as Spain, Germany, Hong Kong and Canada. And, this week, Mary Clear gave a talk to an all-party group of MPs at Westminster.

Todmorden was visited by a planner from New Zealand, working on the rebuilding of his country after February’s earthquake.

Mary says: ‘He went back saying: “Why wouldn’t we rebuild the railway station with pick-your-own herbs? Why wouldn’t we rebuild the health centre with apple trees?”

‘What we’ve done is not clever. It just wasn’t being done.’

The final word goes to an outsider. Joe Strachan is a wealthy U.S. former sales director who decided to settle in Tod with his Scottish wife, after many years in California.

He is 61 but looks 41. He became active with Incredible Edible six months ago, and couldn’t be happier digging, sowing and juicing fruit.

I find myself next to him, sheltering from the driving rain. Why, I ask, would someone forsake the sunshine of California for all this?

His answer sums up what the people around here have achieved.

‘There’s a nobility to growing food and allowing people to share it. There’s a feeling we’re doing something significant rather than just moaning that the state can’t take care of us.

‘Maybe we all need to learn to take care of ourselves.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2072383/Eccentric-town-Todmorden-growing-ALL-veg.html

 

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