Thursday, 21 January 2010

anything but simple

A higher percentage of people in Central and Eastern European countries grow their own vegetables than in Western European countries, and this applies to people living in the city as much as the countryside.

But this isn't merely a hangover from an agrarian culture or peasant traditions. Plenty of middle-class people in Prague (pic), for instance, grow their own food and one of the motives (interviews show) is that it can be a reaction to the neo-liberal values that swept the country since 1989. Acting sustainably, however, was not a priority.

This blog was attending an open space seminar on self-provisioning at The Open University yesterday where two lecturers, Dr Petr Jehlička and Dr Joe Smith, were sharing their recent work on informal food production.

One slide from a study by Alber and Kohler detailed the level of self-provisioning in each European country. The Western European country with the highest amount of grow-your-own stuff was Luxembourg.

In a discussion that followed about voluntary simplicity, one participant asked: "Why is it called voluntary simplicity. My partner grows his own vegetables, and it's anything but simple."

1 comment:

  1. Bobby - thanks for this report on our paper. If you or others want to follow this material up our published papers from the project are:

    Smith J. and Jehlicka P. (2007) Stories around food, politics and change in Poland and the Czech Republic, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers vol. 32, no. 3 pp. 395-410.

    Jehlicka P. and Smith J. (2007) Out of the Woods and into the Lab: Exploring the Strange Marriage of American Woodcraft and Soviet Ecology in Czech Environmentalism, Environment and History vol. 13, pp. 187-210.

    and there is another in the pipeline that is a version of the presentation you attended.

    Joe and Petr