Many city people yearn to be involved with the land hands-on—and to do so on a long-term basis. But leaving the city for good is too big a step for most people; they need to keep a stake in the city for work or social reasons.
Country people and farmers, for their part, could often use the energy, time and skills of city folk—but can’t afford to pay. Volunteers are not ideal—especially if they only come once: Farmers end up as unpaid chaperones to a succession of strangers. Agritourism? Too passive—and often too expensive. That weekly vegetable box? On its own, it’s hardly the basis of a meaningful relationship.
Our weekend course is about new ways for city people to re-connect with the land—and how to make them happen. Ways that are part-time, but long-term. Ways that involve an exchange of value, not just paying money. Ways to share knowledge, land, and equipment in new ways. Ways based on historical links between town and country—but reinvented in an age of networks and social innovation.
Day 1 — We will share stories of new models that seem to be working: social farming, care farming, WWOOFING, networked beer and bread production, earth repair, community land sharing, the maker movement, and all things peer-to-peer.
Day 2 — We will design, and hopefully build, the prototype of a back-to-the-land cooperation platform.
— Ideas on practical ways for city people to re-connect with the farmers, soils, trees, animals, landscapes,water and energy sources on which all life depends.
— Hands-on experience of building a co-operation platform.
— Connections with people with a shared commitment to make this happen.
John Thackara is a philosopher, writer and event producer who has spent a lifetime searching for live examples of what a sustainable future can be like. He writes about these stories at his blog, Doors of Perception, and in books; his most recent is How To Thrive In the Next Economy.