His explanation of his strategic capacities is “I am an electrician.” This reminds me of Matthew Crawford’s painstaking work on the “cognitive riches” of trade labour. (Summary here.) Crawford’s point is that trade work is satisfying. Wałȩsa’s point is that it is also a form of analytic training.
The Mehl Stübchen is a flour factory which creates flours for many specific uses. They sell to home bakers, rather than to businesses, providing advice and information to improve the quality of home baking. They also sell very good bread and pastries. They are located in the “Red Island” of Berlin at Leberstraße 28. The owner, Nicole, needed me to bring a translator for the interview, so thank you to Julie August for the assistance. [...read the rest]
Walking through Kreutzberg/Neukölin I was drawn to another minimalist window display of an unlit store in a residential street. Like most entrepreneurs of shops with obtuse names in quiet streets, the owner wasn’t all that interested in promotion. The Home Project is a project of two designers, Álbio Nascimento and Kathi Stertzig. “I’m interested in your project”. “Good.” “So?” “Why?” “Because we want to work with artisans. We’re designers. We like to have a process [...read the rest]
There’s a tiny chill in the air in Neukölln where my friend deposits me for the best burger in Berlin, Schillerburger. I can’t get past the sweet potato fries then I walk toward a community garden “on the old airfield”, stopping for the best vanilla ice cream cone to date, at Mos Eisley. Amidst runways and grass is indeed a community garden, full of container plants, bikes, and handmade benches, all climbing or reclining toward [...read the rest]
I was going in a different direction, on an arbitrary itinerary when I saw a poster for the Berlin Make Mrkt and figured out that it was monthly and this afternoon, the first Sunday of the month in Prenzlaurberg. The market was quite small, and typical of Australian and US markets in mainly offering jewelery. There was a knifemaker, several furniture resurrecters, and some knitted lampshades. I engaged in my usual behavior of buying rings [...read the rest]
My favourite reading is food blogs and my favourite Berlin food blog is Stil in Berlin. The author gets around, and reviewed the food in the Prinzenstrasse community garden. I thought it was clever to serve some food in a garden so went for a visit, but found a lot more than I anticipated. The main difference between this garden and every other garden I’ve seen is that it’s full of people. The first reaction [...read the rest]
In a less gentrified yet part of Kreutzberg is this market described by my favourite local food blogger as “the most interesting food in Berlin”. The large covered hall hosts an artisan food market several days a week every Thursday there’s a “night street food market” which is a food truck scene without the trucks, each stand vetted for interest and quality. Unlike many other informal gourmet scenes, this one offered more product range with [...read the rest]
Four years ago I met a guy in Paris who was delivering measured ingredients for 3 meals for 2 persons once a week. “Because people feel guilty that they don’t cook for their families.” “And that they have such beautiful kitchens that they never use.” I bought the domain feastbox.com.au. Had a few twists of my own in mind, but wasn’t quite ready to take the plunge into a food business. In June, Hello Fresh, [...read the rest]
The Neustadt neighborhood of Dresden, which was rebuilt by artists after the reunification of Germany, has quite a few artisan manufacturers, including shoes and clothes designers with the sewing machines right in the shop. I was intrigued by Susanne Möller’s Leather workshop at Alaunstrasse 70 (open Monday to Friday from 1400-1800) Phone 0173 56 11 912. The main products on display were colorful leather children’s shoes. She also made a very dramatic folded handbag and [...read the rest]
This market was so movingly delicious to eye and sense, that I had to just enjoy it rather than documenting it. Produce, baked goods, prepared foods, and hard goods stalls were mixed and profuse, which was delightful. It’s summer, so the market was full of berries and cherries. Although I have so far not found Berliners to be nice to strangers, that was not the experience in this market, and, also interesting, this seems to be typical of [...read the rest]
“Composting and growing carrots is a nice start, but we need to get rid of the growth economy, make the global economic system work to meet needs, and replace capitalism with a different economic system that works for people. Most Green people are stuck at the level of compost heaps, which don’t have a chance of saving us. We don’t want to be a society full of compost heaps heading for disaster. Growing carrots locally is just the first step to changing the economy.”
Andrew’s comparison of the global consolidation of media with the global consolidation of food, gave me an idea! I’ve been applying the model of the local food movement to local objects. What about applying the model of the local food movement to recovering the media! Just as we’ve learned to buy direct from farmers, we need to figure out how to deliver our money directly to journalists. As food activists have innovated new economic institutions [...read the rest]
Alana has studied one of the many vibrant alternatives to this juggernaut, the movement for food sovereignty, conceived and led by La Vía Campesina. Vía Campesina is typical of contemporary social movements in its recognition of the common interests of first and third world farmers, smallholders and laborers, producers and consumers and in its recognition of the centrality of women, indigenous people and culture to forming truly liberatory alternatives.