Without wondering off into big rambling explanations of how and why, our economic model and the whole way we think about money and exchange is not fit for purpose, and this effects every single one of us and our ability to obtain the daily resources that we need as human beings to provide us the basis of our well being in our lives. Under the present economic system that we are all locked into, these resources, such as food, heat, clothing and shelter are moving out of the reach of many, this has happened as a direct result of anti-human and unsustainable model of economics that we work by. This form of economics has taken us to a stage where food banks are opening all over the UK to respond to the wholesale poverty created by the imposed austerity measures that our Government is metering out to us. The future under this present economic model is a grim one, the three main Political parties in the UK who would be likely to be elected at the next general election in 2015 are all supporters of austerity, and are all supporters of the banking sector that caused the credit crunch, and the economic recession that we are in.
Generating local resource based economies
When we are faced with a situation like this where people are left with a choice of whether to eat of heat their homes, a situation that will only see prolonged austerity measures, it really is time to act, and time to start looking for workable alternatives.The idea that we at Bolton Urban Growers are trying to promote is one where people grow as much of their daily resources as possible. For some this idea might seem unworkable in heavily populated urban areas, but we know from experience that growing in gardens and yards can yield a significant amount of food, medicinal plants, and other usable resources. When people get together on a local basis and start to grow and make their own resources which they sell, swap and trade, something very exciting happens, a local resource based economy develops which is separate from and more resilient than the larger national economy that is currently imposing its will on us, this happens due to the fact that the resources are grown locally, so there is no fuel costs involved in getting these resources into the community, no middleman fees and no other forms of profiteering along the way. on a basic level, growing food and other usable resources is like growing money that has real value and usage. The cost of growing local resources is very cheap, as a basic example, a packet of vegetable seeds containing around 200 seeds can be purchased for around a pound, from this pack you could grow say two hundred cabbages, keep some of them for you and your family, sell or swap them with other community members, and allow one or two of them to go to seed to ensure that you have future stock for growing your own food.
And we start to save seeds from our crops, the cost of growing our food disappears completely.
Providing meaningful and long lasting employment
In this possible future of local resource based economies, we start to make connections, for example our Community Roots Permaculture project that is based at Southfields will hopefully be supplying some of the fruit and vegetables to our local community cafe next year, the cafe will then sell meals to local community members made from from our locally grown produce, this way of doing things, perpetually generates resources, that are turned into products for the community, which in turn generates income which then is able to generate employment. What we propose to create is closed loop system of localised exchange where local community members, and community businesses are able to thrive and remain largely unaffected by external economic factors, this is a big ask, but it is also completely necessary when weighed against the alternative of prolonged austerity. And as mentioned in previous posts on this blog, if we all get going with growing and making things on local level, we are generating community self reliance where we provide long lasting solutions that are able to maintain our health and well being.