Freiburg Transition

Summary of the introduction to the Freiburg TT from Monica Luers

Marianne had a visit from her cousin, who is a member of TT Freiburg. She was keen to meet up with Transitioners in the Bournemouth/Poole area, so a group of us met

at the Surf Cafe near Boscombe Pier on a sunny evening.

Sadly the beers were not local – Gwyn did ask. Not sure that the barbacue was serving local sausages either, though the mackerel were quoted as from Boscombe bay – the charts say it’s all Poole bay !

Monica introduced the structure of the Freiburg TT group. TT Freiburg is fairly new, and exploring lots of possibilities. http://www.transition-initiativen.de/group/ttfreiburg suggests they started in Jan 2011.

Freiburg TT has a number of small groups:

  1. Publicity,
  2. Heart Soul,
  3. Guerilla Gardening, also a preserving garden produce (tomatoes/cucumbers etc.) group.
  4. Equitable/ Ethical Economic Management/ethical consumption/sustainability group;
  5. A steering group of 12 people who meet monthly.

TT Freiburg have a local currency linked to the Euro, but some people prefer sharing to using that currency.

There are several sub groups responsible for separate actions, that send one or two representatives to the monthly TT meetings. All the groups get together every three

months.

The Garden Co-op has 200 members (who are also part of TT)

Each person paid €400 for the start-up for the gardening project to buy the tools etc. The vegetable crop is shared out between the 200 people

Members pay €30-€60 per month for the employment of a professional gardener and two helpers

They have leased 7 hectares (17.3 acres) of land, of which 2 hectares (4.9 acres) have been planted, the remaining 5 hectares soil is being improved with green compost. The lease is for 10 years with the option to buy it after 10 years. In some of the part where the veg didn’t do well they have planted wild flowers. They also have 2 polytunnels for Tomatos etc.

The site is 22 Km from the town. They have a little building in the middle of Freiburg where the veg is stored, collected and from where it is delivered by bike. Monica shared some pictures of the bikes with enormous trailers – 16 crates laden with produce.

The co-op idea originated from the Jardin des Cocagnes (Garden of Eden), near Geneva, Switzerland. www.cocagne.ch which has been going for 30 years. (I also stumbled across another site with some delightful pictures of Swiss allotments at http://housetohaus.blogspot.com/2011/02/did-you-eat-your-veggies-today.html)

For Freiburg’s co-op see: www.gartencoop.org I contrasted that we pay £7 per year for membership of http://tatnampatch.org.uk, but we don’t get enough produce from Tatnam to feed ourselves !

Apparently a nearby town to Freiburg is trying to use a parallel currency. Andy highlighted that Totnes, Lewis and Stroud have done so in England.

I asked about the guerilla gardening. Monica said that this is mostly with consent, and often on communal land around housing developments. We have held discussions in Poole with the social housing trust, who are keen to encourage food growing on their land, but not yet happened. Also the attempts to get at least part of Turners Field into a community resource/productive garden.

They are exploring an idea of everyone being given a basic income (originated in the 1600s by an Englishman), and that each do work that they are skilled and interested in. A similar system was tried in a town somewhere in Africa for one year and was very successful.

There is a film – Gruntagen – apparently the local government forced its abandonment (presumably didn’t meet their aspirations).

Other projects that TT Freiburg are considering includes looking after elderly people – in collaboration with others in a similar situation.

The city has invited TT Freiburg to help with a scheme where 400 people families are encouraged to join in reducing their carbon impact. 80 people came to the film: In Transition. Harriet contrasted the Transition Together work we have started in Poole and Bournemouth. We haven’t achieved on that scale yet – our target is 100 but recruiting is proving hard.

25% of Freiburg’s traffic are bicycles, and there is car sharing in many cities. They can use cars from other towns. Members pay €300/€400 to contribute towards buying the cars. The money also goes towards hiring someone to service the cars. They can book the car online. The same car share system works in Switzerland too. They can get all the information about the car they want to use, such as whether it has a motorway sticker for other countries like Austria or Switzerland. Freiburg has 12-15 cars. Next year they are planning to buy 2-3 electric cars. The city administration of Lorrach also use the car share facility. There are some schemes in the UK, but small numbers (Whipcar has about 8 cars in the Bournemouth/Poole area). Bournemouth and Poole have better than average UK cycling rates, but less than 10% of journeys to work are by bike. Can’t lay my hands on the figures just now.

We mentioned the Abundance scheme, started in Sheffield, which we have done in a limited way in the conurbation, and the Mors bags project.

Notes by Marianne and Andy

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