How to Find and Praise the Commons

In many European countries gleaning after harvest is a widely accepted thing. A necessity after WWII, it became a fun event. Kids do it with their parents, you do it as a sunny Sunday afternoon, you join your gleaning neighbors. – It’s hip, Agnes Varda celebrated it in her glorious film Le glaneur et la glaneuse as a form of sustainable lifestyle and showed us we’re all perhaps not gleaning enough.

Some land owners never do harvest though. If they do not like strangers to run across their land singing loudly they call the public harvest attempts scrumping. If they do love to see their crops and fruits used before they fall bad, however, they might join an old, rediscovered form of public use: the commons.

The German word for commons Allmende  derives from “all men” and was the part of a village that was owned by the community.  On the Internet commons are a heavily debated thing in Germany. Traditionally the creators of a work got a strong standing and the idea of shared ownership comes with the question attached: what funds will the creators live on?

Sometimes, however, commons and Internet go hand in hand and come to a glorious, widely celebrated hole. And I’m not talking ab out Wikipedia here.

The German page mundraub.org is an interactive map with user generated content about commons. Fruit trees planted on public ground by the city, neglected meadows with herbs and river banks full of elderberry shrubs and nut trees. You see one, you list it. The secret hint on where to go and pick is passed
on by small interactive pins on the map, each pin carries information about
the type of tree/field/find or bush and where to find it. Other users and harvesters can add their comments: Will you need to bring a ladder? Do you know the type of pear or apple growing their for everybody to pick? You know it, you add it.
On Saturday you can go for a cycling trip with your kids to go and harvest.
On Sunday you got jam boiling in your pots and the yummy steam of cooking fruit all over your kitchen.
You can access it on a holiday or whilst being on a longer hike as a little refreshment at the road side.

People from Georgia to the Canary Islands, from Finland to Northern Africa joined the map and listed their secret gardens. –  I think it’s a brilliant idea.

We should be using this gifts with some sense, common sense. Don’t break branches from trees kind of thing. Don’t destroy the nature around the common area by stepping

Some people might not like the Google-translated look – the original page is only available in German.

Or do you know of a map like this in your region? Perhaps they could join forces? Or we could help and offer the makers of the advertisement free mundraub page an English translation?

We definitely should spread the word, fill up this map and get many commons listed all over the world!

3 thoughts on “How to Find and Praise the Commons

  1. Pingback: My 10 Year-Old Knows How to Solve the Euro Crisis – Or Why to Lend and to Borrow are the Same Word in German « ⠁⠁⠁ I love light. I love air.

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