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Return To The Land -"The Good Life"


absconded

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Jan 31, 2009
Messages
398
With the economy in tatters and no hope of a revival in the next 10 years.
The real prospect of 500,000 unemployed within the next 18 months.
More and more people needing assistance from social welfare to fund their basic needs and those of their families.

Iceland faces a different but in many ways similar prospect:

Iceland: downfall of 'a foolish little nation' - Telegraph

"Inflation soared as import prices rose, hitting the many mortgages in Iceland that are index-linked. Repayments went through the roof and the overheated housing market collapsed. Unemployment soared towards 10 per cent. The construction industry seized up. Now, lifeless cranes dominate the skyline of Reykjavik, monuments to hubris.

The banks had done something else besides lending money they did not have. Thousands of Icelanders had been persuaded to swap bank deposits for what were effectively stakes in the banks themselves. For them, the banking collapse threatened personal ruin. "Many people who live in beautiful houses and drive beautiful cars are completely broke," says political commentator Egill Helgason. "None of it can be sold, they have lost their jobs. People look wealthy, but worry about the next meal."

Iceland's fall from grace has been swift. In 2005, it was ranked in the top 10 in the world in terms of GDP per head, and between 1996 and 2006 its economy grew by 50 per cent. It has routinely figured near the top of the human development index, which combines economic and social measures. Now, interest rates are 18 per cent and inflation 20 per cent; and each man, woman and child could owe as much as $250,000 to foreign creditors.

Tear gas had been used in Iceland only twice before last month – in 1949, during protests against Iceland's membership of Nato, and in 1959, when a dance in a remote fishing town in the north turned into a riot.

Icelanders are not given to public demonstrations, but last month a mob pelted eggs at the car of the prime minister, Geir Haarde. Out came the tear gas and out went Haarde's Right-leaning coalition government. "


Is it time that we take a look at the idea of people growing more of their own food. Obviously this is not practical in highly urbanised areas. But then again how practical is it to live in a highly urbanised commuterbelt area when there is no work to commute to anymore.

Instead of subsidies to banks & developers, should the government be looking at subsidies to unemployed people who would lease a few acres with a polytunnel, mini tractor and a chicken coop?

Would any of you facing long term unemployment soon consider "The Good Life" in any way viable?

 


TradCat

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Jun 5, 2005
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1,992
many mortgages in Iceland that are index-linked.
Ouch!

Thousands of Icelanders had been persuaded to swap bank deposits for what were effectively stakes in the banks themselves.
Ouch!

They make us look prudent.

As for the good life I'll give it a go if I can have Felicity Kendal to share my tractor.

 

wysiwyg

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Jun 29, 2008
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366
Will be digging my vegatable patch in the back garden on Saturday, and planting next month. Still haven't been able to convince the other half that we should get a pig, but might get a few chickens.. detached bungalow on 1/3 of an acre by the way
 

cHeal

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Mar 31, 2008
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303
My parents still own a substantial farm which they farm on a part time basis. I have absolutely no debt and if I lost my job I'd immediately pack my stuff and go home and help on the farm. If I'm honest I have little or no stake in the health of the Irish economy.
 

Seos

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Nov 19, 2005
Messages
153
My parents still own a substantial farm which they farm on a part time basis. I have absolutely no debt and if I lost my job I'd immediately pack my stuff and go home and help on the farm. If I'm honest I have little or no stake in the health of the Irish economy.
I highly doubt your parent's farm is self sufficient.
 

absconded

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Jan 31, 2009
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398
Will be digging my vegatable patch in the back garden on Saturday, and planting next month. Still haven't been able to convince the other half that we should get a pig, but might get a few chickens.. detached bungalow on 1/3 of an acre by the way
You can do a lot with 1/3 acre, I have experience with a similar area but the pig... might take some good marketing alright.
My thoughts on it on a national level are this.
Unemployment and the building bust have hit every part of the country to a greater or lesser extent.
If lets say we have a national unemployment level of 15-20% which is an almost given by anyones calculation, bar a miracle or enormous find of natural resources.
We are importing practically all of our foodstuffs which is a big net drain to not only family finances but also the wealth of the nation.
For a start, these banks which we seem to be bailing out have large tracts of developers land in their control.
Virtually all of these are within easy reach of urban areas and have zoning for water and sewage and electricity. But as building land they are completely useless and will remain such for maybe another 15 years.
Can we not request that these lands, monuments to greed & stupidity be turned over to the soon to be unemployed working people & professionals being saddled with this debt as allotments to feed their families in the soon approaching very lean times?
At least we´d be getting some payback:D
 

imokyrok

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I have a large raised bed where I've been growing veg based on the "square foot system" for a few years and a small greenhouse for tomatoes and grapes. I have to say my success has not been spectactular. Plenty of salad, courgettes and green beans (the latter two not in the "square foot" raised bed obviously) in the summer months and tomatoes in august / september but not much of anything else. Strawberries are easy to grow anywhere at all, need little attention and look quite decorative in flower and shrub beds. Raspberries are also easy to grow but spread so rapidly they are impractical for a garden unless you can do contant cutting back and digging up of roots. I'd be interested in hearing what veg others find easy to grow in decent numbers without back breaking work.

In addition I had a couple of hens and the eggs were delicious. I might get some again but they destroy a garden and I don't like keeping them cooped up. Also I couldn't kill one for food myself. Maybe take them somewhere to get it done but I wouldn't save any money that way. On second thought I don't think I could even do that. I make goats yogurt and would love a goat but again it would be impossible in a standard garden. There are a couple of magazines in Easons in O' Connell st. dealing with the subject of small holdings and poultry rearing.
 

absconded

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398
the return of allotments...now theres a good idea.
The "good years" were a time when we thought nothing of buying our groceries in M&S. Prepared Party Food and all that crap.
The next 5 years will see hunger, unseen for generations in plenty of apparently affluent houses. Nice cars will be off the road for want of food on the table.
It is inevitable, so why not prepare for it now. We´re not short of land and plenty of people won´t be short of time on their hands quite soon.
I can´t see the sense behind an already broke country importing food unnecessarily when we could be growing it on a small scale local level.
Tesco, Dunnes & Supervalu might disagree, but they have been robbing us for years.
Allotments are the way to go!!! ASAP
 

imokyrok

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Joined
Mar 4, 2008
Messages
4,504
You can do a lot with 1/3 acre, I have experience with a similar area but the pig... might take some good marketing alright.
My thoughts on it on a national level are this.
Unemployment and the building bust have hit every part of the country to a greater or lesser extent.
If lets say we have a national unemployment level of 15-20% which is an almost given by anyones calculation, bar a miracle or enormous find of natural resources.
We are importing practically all of our foodstuffs which is a big net drain to not only family finances but also the wealth of the nation.
For a start, these banks which we seem to be bailing out have large tracts of developers land in their control.
Virtually all of these are within easy reach of urban areas and have zoning for water and sewage and electricity. But as building land they are completely useless and will remain such for maybe another 15 years.
Can we not request that these lands, monuments to greed & stupidity be turned over to the soon to be unemployed working people & professionals being saddled with this debt as allotments to feed their families in the soon approaching very lean times?
At least we´d be getting some payback:D
That's an interesting idea. Some of those likely to be hit hardest have tiny gardens or none at all. I beleive the waiting list for existing allotments has gone through the roof in the last six months. Not soo feasible for the elderly and disabled or perhaps single parents with tiny children but for others it could work. There would also need to be advisors though. I know from my own experience that newbies don't get a return on the time, equipment and seed/ plant investment 'cos they don't know what they are doing. I still don't - and I have at least 30 gardening books by now. Nothing replaces hands on knowledge and experience.
 

wysiwyg

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Jun 29, 2008
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366
I've been involved with a local group in Tipperary in trying to secure unused council lands for allotments in the past few months..

We're trying to get them to turn over lands which they control adjacent to motorways which have been built over the past few years..

However, the NRA are insisting that the land be sold back to farmers at "market prices"...

So, local farmers will be getting the chance to buy land at between 5-10k per acre, from the people that compulsorily purchased the land from them a few years back, at an average 60k per acre.. while they could retain ownership of the land and provide a fantastic social and amenity use

Allotments... one issue for my local election campaign
 

imokyrok

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Mar 4, 2008
Messages
4,504
I've been involved with a local group in Tipperary in trying to secure unused council lands for allotments in the past few months..

We're trying to get them to turn over lands which they control adjacent to motorways which have been built over the past few years..

However, the NRA are insisting that the land be sold back to farmers at "market prices"...

So, local farmers will be getting the chance to buy land at between 5-10k per acre, from the people that compulsorily purchased the land from them a few years back, at an average 60k per acre.. while they could retain ownership of the land and provide a fantastic social and amenity use

Allotments... one issue for my local election campaign
Inform me. Who heads up NRA and who apointed him/her? And I wonder what promises local FF tds made to local farmers? Good on you for trying. Don't give up.
 

code twinkle

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Jul 30, 2006
Messages
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That's an interesting idea. Some of those likely to be hit hardest have tiny gardens or none at all. I beleive the waiting list for existing allotments has gone through the roof in the last six months. Not soo feasible for the elderly and disabled or perhaps single parents with tiny children but for others it could work. There would also need to be advisors though. I know from my own experience that newbies don't get a return on the time, equipment and seed/ plant investment 'cos they don't know what they are doing. I still don't - and I have at least 30 gardening books by now. Nothing replaces hands on knowledge and experience.
Great idea, there is a substantial amount of land in the rural area just outside of the city where I grew up that is not being farmed and which I know for certain is part of a 'land bank' owned by a certain developer - now that we own the real banks and these developers 'landbanks' won't be paying out for the foreseeable future to pay us the shareholders back I see no reason why they shouldn't be used for community allotments - demand for which is enormous in north Dublin.
 

cHeal

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Mar 31, 2008
Messages
303
I highly doubt your parent's farm is self sufficient.
I highly doubt you'd know! If the land was cultivated it could easily supply a family with all its vegetable needs, PLUS enough to bring to a market to get meats and other food stuffs.

Heck I'd say even with just a few of our biggest fields, I could do the above.
 

absconded

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Jan 31, 2009
Messages
398
That's an interesting idea. Some of those likely to be hit hardest have tiny gardens or none at all. I beleive the waiting list for existing allotments has gone through the roof in the last six months. Not soo feasible for the elderly and disabled or perhaps single parents with tiny children but for others it could work. There would also need to be advisors though. I know from my own experience that newbies don't get a return on the time, equipment and seed/ plant investment 'cos they don't know what they are doing. I still don't - and I have at least 30 gardening books by now. Nothing replaces hands on knowledge and experience.
The banks owe us a fortune. This development land won´t even be used for grazing on most likely. It stands close to housing and services such as roads, water and electricity.
It really doesn´t take much ground to feed a family. Once you have a critical mass so to speak. My own experience growing up was that with 3/4 of an acre we always had spuds, turnips, and other vegetables enough to provide surplus to neighbours as well as feed our own family of 6. Tomatoes we weren´t much good at for some reason, so we got those in exchange.:)

There is development land idle around every town in the country. The people who owe us money control it.
Let us use the land as part of our pound of flesh. Or would that be too much to ask?
 

kmk

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Feb 12, 2009
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I am lucky the farmer behind me lets me pick potatoes from his fields.. Last year a neighbour used to drop in spring onions & salad from her garden as she had too much. . I have 1 acre & sick of mowing the grass.. nearly have the veg patch up and running... It makes a bucket load of sence... I hope to plant a few different things and swap with my neighbours.. they have been decent enough to me over the years....
 

EarlyBird

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Dec 20, 2008
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It is the way to go alright. If people sit on their hands and do nothing then they are well on the way up sh*t creek with no paddle. Rent land, buy land, commandeer state land, whatever it takes.

If you look at a satellite map of Dublin you will see many open green areas that could be made productive:

Shop OSI Mapviewer
 

imokyrok

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I'd recommend that people with a small space interested in food growing get their hands on "Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholmew. Few of us will ever have access to more than I/4 acre even with allotments I think.
 

Seos

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I highly doubt you'd know! If the land was cultivated it could easily supply a family with all its vegetable needs, PLUS enough to bring to a market to get meats and other food stuffs.

Heck I'd say even with just a few of our biggest fields, I could do the above.
I don't know that's why I said highly doubt!!!

Tell me what happens to the price of what you'd be selling in a recession? It wouldn't by any chance go down meaning you do have a stake in the economy?
 

absconded

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Jan 31, 2009
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398
It is the way to go alright. If people sit on their hands and do nothing then they are well on the way up sh*t creek with no paddle. Rent land, buy land, commandeer state land, whatever it takes.

If you look at a satellite map of Dublin you will see many open green areas that could be made productive:

Shop OSI Mapviewer
Thats amazing how much green field there is in Dublin, Cork, Donegal, Dundalk the same. the same etc. Thanks for that, it´s interesting.
But what you say is true, the prospect of huge unemployment in areas of high density housing is a certainty.
Depending on a bankrupt government to feed you is lunacy.
There will be hunger by the Summer, more by Christmas and within a year there will be horror stories.
Get planting now or regret it at your leisure.
 

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