Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Possibilities for everyone

Danish allotmentgardens with cottages. This looks pretty much like the allotment village where I spent my childhood summers. The photo is taken by Maltesen, you find his flickrprofile and more of his photos here.

One of the reasons I started this experiment is that I want everyone to have the possibility of living environmentally friendly. I don't know how many times I've heard or read
"I believe people are willing to pay extra for being environmental friendly."
This is then used as an argument for raising prices on everything from "ecomilk" to houses.

I'm part of the group that for a long time didn't even afford to drink soft drink instead of milk to my meals* (the difference was soft drink 1,8 SEK/litre compared to milk 6 SEK/litre). It's easy for me to spot the snag with this reasoning; it makes living environmentaly friendly a hobby and a luxury. Those who has other hobbies or can't afford it are left out. Today, when proof of global warming are clearly visible, this is an effect we can't afford. Living environmentally friendly has to be as easy and as affordable as possible.

Keeping an allotment garden (with or without cottage) is a hobby, there's no way denying that. The maintenance takes time from collecting stamps, cosplay and other interests possible to pursue. On the other hand this is a cheap way of get food in general locally produced vegetables in particular. (Not to mention the health benefits from gardening itself.) You don't have to live in Africa to benefit from a piece of land where you can grow things.

The usual way of handling allotment rentals in Sweden is that the city or municipality rents a piece of land at a low price to a cooperation, which then rents the allotment gardens to its members. When I write this Stockholm municipality are planning to raise the fees 100% or, if there are cottages in the gardens, 500 - 600%, which is what sparked this post. I suspect the municipality needs money and that the politicians are hunting for an easy income (I've been in the politics), but I also think they will loose on the deal. The environment will suffer, as the citizens.

Allotment gardens are worth fighting for. Soon more people will live in the cities than in the country (yes, on a global scale), and it's important to make city living as environmentally friendly as possible. Eventhough the movement in itself is old, I think allotment gardening is for the future.

*Milk is the common drink to meals in Sweden.

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