>Green / Vert

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There’s a little more hope for the environment today – in the elections for the European parliament Europe Ecologie, the greens in France, have more than doubled their number of seats to 14 and their percentage of the vote to 16.28%.

Un peu d’espoir pour l’environnement – Europe Ecologie avec 16,28 % et 14 sieges.

>Another Cuban link / Un lien cubain encore

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I’ve mentioned before the amazing efforts that Cuba has made to develop self-sufficient organic agriculture due to the economic isolation it has experienced since the collapse of the Soviet system in 1990.  Cuba has had to make the sort of adjustments to industry and agriculture which we will all have to make as oil production declines over the coming decades.  Putting political arguments aside, there is much to admire here.  The country has progressed from reliance on imports and industrialised, chemically fertilised agriculture and horticulture to locally based organic fruit and vegetable production.  In the capital city, Havana, 50 per cent of the food needed for the population is produced within the city in community gardens and roof terraces.  In smaller towns 80 to 100 per cent of food is grown within 5 km.

Depuis l’effondrement du système Sovietique en 1990, Cuba doit développer un système d’agriculture biologique et autosuffisant.  À Havana, la capitale du pays, ils produisent 50 pour cent de la nourriture dans la ville, dans les jardins communitaire et les terraces.  Les villes plus petites produisent entre 80 et 100 pour cent de leurs besoins alimentaires.

On the Guardian gardening blog today I found the link to this film about what is happening in Cuba: The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil.  It’s quite a long film – about 50 minutes – but it’s worth watching because it shows what can be done by people faced with the energy crisis which all developed and developing countries will certainly face very soon.  Most importantly, I think, the film shows the importance of communities, of people working together for each other as well as themselves.  As Patricia Allison, a permaculturalist, says in the film:

It’s not the technology, it’s the human relationships …

I hope that, if one good thing comes out of the current economic crisis, it will be an end to the culture in developed countries where people get into their cars and drive to a supermarket to buy their food, and that more people grow their own food or buy locally produced sustainable food, helping and supporting each other, as they do in Cuba.

Sur le blog du jardinage du Guardian aujourd’hui, j’ai trouvé le lien pour ce film autour de l’agriculture en Cuba: The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil.  C’est un film long, mais ça vaut la peine parce qu’il montre ce qui est possible dans une crise de l’énergie et surtout l’importance des communautés dans lesquelles les gens travaillent ensemble pour les autres ainsi que eux-mêmes.  Patricia Allison, une permacultrice, dit dans le film:

Ce n’est pas la technologie, c’est les relations humaines ….

J’éspère que la crise economique va apporter la fin de la culture d’aller aux grandes surfaces en voiture pour acheter la nourriture.  J’éspère que encore de gens cultiveront leurs jardins et acheteront la nourriture locale et durable, comme ils font en Cuba.

>Old walls and spring growth / Vieux murs et la croissance de printemps

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Archaeologists have found the remains of medieval walls on ground near the gardens where building work is scheduled to start soon.  The walls are part of the system of water mills and streams on the hillside.  Maybe the find will delay the building work … who knows?

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Les archéologues ont trouvé des vestiges des vieux murs mediévaux près des jardins où le lotissement va être construit bientôt.  Peut-être cette découverte retardera les travaux …?

Sowing tomatoes / Semer les tomates

Even when we’re away from home Lo Jardinièr can’t stop picking up recyclable materials.  In Uzès after the market on Saturday, he found on the pavement some polystyrene cases which had been used to carry shellfish.  He couldn’t resist picking them up and bringing them home – they’ll be very useful for sowing our tomato and pepper seeds in.

seed tray 1_1_1

Toujours le recyclage.  Après le marché à Uzès, Lo Jardinièr a trouvé des cartons de polystyrène sur le trottoir.  Il les a apporté chez nous pour semer les tomates et les poivrons.

seed tray 2_1_1

We divided one of these into four sections with thin strips of  wood(recycled, of course!) and sowed Roma, Coeur de Boeuf, St Pierre and Ananas tomatoes.  The Ananas seeds were from our own tomatoes last summer.

Next we’re going to make a heated seed starter box, using instructions from Mother Earth News – more on this soon.

Allotments in the UK / Les potagers en Grande Bretagne

Good news from the National Trust in Britain in today’s Guardian newspaper online.  The National Trust, the body which looks after historic buildings and land in the UK, is campaigning for an increase in vegetable growing and will be offering some of its land for the creation of 1,000 new plots.  I know that the effects of the global financial crisis can be tragic for some, but perhaps it will lead people back to their gardens and to valuing home grown vegetables, not just for economic reasons but for simple enjoyment of gardening and for the future of the planet.

More truffles / encore de truffes

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pommes de terres gratinées au truffe

Gratin of potatoes – pommes de terres gratinées – is one of our favourite dishes and last night I made one of the most delicious ever, using some of the truffle we brought back from Uzès.  I only wish I could include the scent of truffle in this photo!  Potatoes, butter, crème fraîche and truffle … it was wonderful!  The recipe will be on the Mediterranean cuisine blog..

>My list for the planet / ma liste pour la planète

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For the past few days, since I read Kate’s post on responsibility for the planet on the Hills and Plains Seedsavers blog, I’ve been thinking about my own list.  I believe that we should all have such a list, but that this doesn’t absolve governments from responsibility.  Individuals cannot save the planet – governments have to do something too.  However, in spite of the occasional hopeful sign, politicians are failing the planet, so we have to do what we can while we try to persuade them to do their bit too.

Pendant ces derniers jours, depuis que je lis le poste de Kate au sujet de la responsibilité pour la planète, je pensais de ma propre liste.  Je crois que tout le monde doit avoir une liste, mais il faut aussi que les gouvernements prennent la responsibilité.  Les individus ne peuvent pas sauver la planète.  Cependant, malgré des signes d’espoir de temps en temps, les politiciens manquent à leurs devoirs envers à la planète.  Donc on doit faire ce qu’on doit pendant que nous essayons de les persuader.

This is the list of ways in which Lo Jardinièr and I think we can take responsibility for our lives and the future of the planet:

1.  Growing our own food / cultiver le potager

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We grow almost all the vegetables we eat, almost all year.  This is mainly because we enjoy gardening and because they taste better. (I wrote about this in August.)  But it also saves on transporting food by road, or even worse by air.  We cook all our food – we hardly ever buy anything ready prepared.

On cultive le potager parce qu’on aime jardiner et les légumes ont plus de gout.  (Voir mon poste en août.)  Mais aussi ça utilise moins de ressources du monde.

2.  Buying local, buying sustainably, recycling / acheter localement, durablement, et renouvelablement

Almost all the food we eat comes from within 100 km of the village, although we do buy fruit from Spain and North Africa  When we eat meat, it is usually pork, poultry or lamb, which are sustainable, rather than beef which is not.  As far as consumer durables are concerned we’re lucky to have reached the stage in our lives when we have furnished our house, so we don’t buy much.  We also keep using these items while they are still working, rather than throwing them out for the latest fashion – for example our oven which is old and ugly, but it works, so we’re keeping it.  On the rare occasions when we take things to the dump we pick up building materials that others have thrown out.  We’re hoping to find wood for a cold frame there and will buy old windows for it from Emmaus, a recycling charity.

On mange les produits qui viennent de moins de 100 km du village, a part des fruits de l’Espagne et de l’Afrique du Nord.  On mange le porc, la volaille et l’agneau.  On continue d’utiliser les machines qui marchent toujours.

3.  Minimal packaging / emballage minimal

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Because what we do buy comes from local shops and markets, there is very little packaging.  Anything we buy in the market goes straight into our wicker basket and we refuse offers of plastic bags.  Cheese and meat from the local shop are wrapped in paper, and vegetables are put in paper bags which we re-use to collect food from the garden. 

Car ce qu’on achète vient des magasins locaux et le marché, il y a très peu d’emballage.  On refuse les poches en plastique.

4.  Share and exchange / partager et échanger

One of the nice aspects of living in a village is having a community of people nearby with whom we can exchange and share.  Just a couple of examples: Friends give us fruit, we make jam with it and then give them back some jars of jam in return.  We’ve bought a second-hand trailer to share with our neighbour, since neither of us need to use it every day.

On partage et échange avec les autres habitants du village.

5.  No air-conditioning / on refuse la climatisation

The units look ugly on the outside of lovely old village houses, the air quality they produce is unnatural and in cars air-conditioning uses extra fuel.  In summer we shut the shutters in the afternoons to keep the heat out.  In the car we open the windows.

En été on ferme les volets l’après-midi.  Dans la voiture on ouvre les fenêtres.

6.  We don’t fly / on refuse de voyager en avion

We never fly.  This isn’t a choice that everyone can make, we know.  But when we go on holiday we go by train.  And we enjoy it!

On voyage en train, et on l’aime!

7.  A few (unsustainable) luxuries / quelques luxes non-durables

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Italian coffee – roasted in Italy, grown in South America or Africa.  Very occasionally, we eat steak.  And because I can’t walk up hills easily, we go by car to the garden.

Le café italien.  Le steak, de temps en temps.  Aller en voiture au jardin.

This list isn’t complete, but it’s a start.  Everyone has to make their own choices for their own lists.  This is ours.  What’s yours?