Losing the rural local state

About 10 years ago I met someone who had become the owner of a significant piece of infrastructure (a port) as a community interest company, previously they had a been a charity and a community group, they ended up buying the port because no one else would take it on and consequently it was very…

The Future of Cities is Urban Agriculture.

{First published in 2017] For many years, the future of cities has been a sort of noir, an ever-increasing array of buildings, concrete and glass that serves to emphasize that the urban is not the countryside.   If we turn to the ur-text of so much of contemporary urbanism, ‘Bladerunner’ the ‘Director’s Cut’ ends with the…

Organic 3.0 – The future is participation (2)

[From 2016] My first example of this tendency towards participation in food is in the Orto Loco project in Zurich (see also this blog post).  This Farm is a community supported agriculture scheme (CSA) based on an organic farm.  Although a small farm, it is very diverse with a broad range of enterprises – fruit,…

Green Shaving – Razors and hope

I’m currently without a beard, and the entails the daily chore of shaving.  One of my resentments has been the ridiculous situation of having to buy clearly non-recyclable products and pay dearly for them. With the help of this blog post, I’ve made the decision to return to the good old-fashioned safety razor,  which is, of course,…

Rise up food citizenship – grab your forks

This is a blog about food, which will argue that you – yes you reading this text now, should take more responsibility for the food that you eat, that you make part of your very being.  It will argue that in return you will be gradually freed from a food system that is broken, bland…

Reading for DD313

Most of the time our knowledge of International relations is served by the general media – what is brought up on the TV or headline programmes of the radio, which may (or not) be sufficient for daily life, but your studies will get a considerable boost by plugging into a more comprehensive set of media….

Terraces, soil and innovation

[April 2016] Early in the twentieth century, there was a series of books that investigated how previous forms of agriculture had sustained both the soil and the people dependent on them. From the Inca ruins in the Andes, the Hunza in the Himalayas or the variety of forms of intensive agriculture in China, it became…

Food Citizenship intro

Over the last few years, I have been talking to people about the concept of food citizenships as an alternative to the dominant ways of which we talk about food – that of consumption and all our roles being that either of consumers and producers.  Food citizenship seeks to disturb that story for some reasons,…

Islands of Green

[June 2017] In the story of environmental degradation, islands have a very special place. Through the eighteenth and nineteenth century, remote islands were significant in early theories of the relationship between the local climate, forests and soil degradation. Islands were important bases in the spread of colonial patterns of environmental exploitation, offering safe harbours, supplies…