Here is an archive of the projects we visited in 2012, cycling from Barcelona to Venice ‚Towards Degrowth‘:
Can Masdeu 6-9th July 2012
Amazing squat in the northern outskirts of Barcelona, it is a living collective, a project of social projects, a public space and a political collective. This year they celebrated 10 years since they resisted the eviction of this former leper hospital. There it lots to inspire; beautiful site, community gardens and environmental outreach projects.
We camped here, made our rocket stoves and held a degrowth-biketour launch on Sunday 8th, over 200 people came :-)
More on Can Masdeu
Barcelona Critical mass divendres 6th July 20h00
Always the First Friday of the Month, we left Can Masdeu at 7pm to meet 8pm @ l’arc de Triomphe, Barcelona. The ride started at 8.30pm
Biciclot dissabte 7th July 12.00h-15.00h
Be nice to your bike and it will be nice to you! This is a day of showing our two wheeled friends just how much we love them, while checking out an amazing bike recycle workshop. We will learn some basic bike tips, make adjustments and learn about this project. We will also share lunch together and maybe paint some cool designs too. Biciclot repairs and recycles bikes, helps people learn how to ride, has a big open workshop with lots of tools and runs bike maintenance classes.
Daniel Torrico and Xavier Guinot made a film about Biciclot
Research and Degrowth
Network of people working on Degrowth ideas and how to put them into practice. They have been supporting the biketour coordinators and giving lots of contacts. We will meet them in Can Masdeu and again along the way in Can Decreix (Cerbère) and at the degrowth conference in Venice.
There were plans to build a big EuroVegas casino complex in the Llobregat Delta which is located to the south-east of Barcelona. Just what Catalunya needs to move away from the damaging capitalist mentality which has left so many in a mess. The area is also one of the few natural-agricultural space left near Barcelona and people are putting up a good fight. We will hear about it on Sunday at Can Masdeu and Monday on our bikeride, we can also visit and do an action here on our way out of Barcelona.
For latest information visit: aturemeurovegas.wordpress.com
Platforma Defensem Port Vell
Group campaigning against the construction of a new super port for the rich.
Kan Pasqual dilluns 9th July
Politically active squat collective, they make bread and have some really cool experiments with technologies such as bio-gas construction (see this video)
There is short film about the critical mass from Can Masdeu > Kan Pasqual
More on Kan Pasqual
Defensa de Collserola
The council has various plans to change the face of this mountain forever.
Cal Rosset dimarts 10th July
Near to the site of the proposed EuroVegas we will visit the 5 acre site where two farmers grow food for a Barcelona food co-operative. They also work with other farmers to get what people in the coop would like. There are many co-ops in Barcelona, people team together to directly support farmers by buying their produce.
Ca la fou 10-12th July
Cooperatively owned ex-paint factory which is the location of a really interesting new project to create a Post-Capitalist Eco-Industrial Colony. It is closely tied to the Cooperativa Integral Catalunya network which is experimenting with different forms of alternative currency. The group here is working hard to get the buildings into a liveable state and we stay here for a few days to lend a hand. There is also time to chat about our desires and expectations for our time together on the road.
More on Ca la fou
Can Piella divendres 13-14th July
Lovely 3 year old squatted villa collective. They produce almost all the food that they eat, make bread to sell and also have a very very tasty home brew beer which we will get to try if we are lucky :-) Time for a fiesta to celebrate our first week together.
More on Can Piella
San Pol de Mar diumenge 15th July
An evening of poetry with Perejaume, well known ecological poet – a focus on coastal destruction in the area.
Kan Kolmo, Girona dimarts 17th July
Squatted social centre with a self managed community bicycle workshop
Can Rusk, Girona dimarts 17th July
A beautiful anarchist social center, squatted 6 years ago, with a small garden and vegan pizzas every sunday to help finance political projects.
Can Prim, Crespia dimecres 18th July
Nice place to stay with garden, connected to the dynamic ecologists network. We will help to build a compost toilet.
El Taller , Figueres dijous 19th July
Squat social centre and workshop space
Can Torres, dijous 19th July
This farm which invites wwoofers has made wines for 4 generations. It also has olive groves, a cork forest and fields, and they incorporate sustainability into all their practices. Hopefully we will get to sample some of their produce…
Can Decreix 20th -21st July
‚House of Degrowth‘ is a place to demonstrate and reflect around the topic. This new project aspires to become a centre for transformation (of fruits, vegetables, societies), for research, for testing frugal technologies, arts and permaculture. Situated in Cerbere, a shrinking city, on the sea-side border between France and Spain, on the tail or nose of the Pyrenees, it is space to accept limits and question borders. Francois our host has been very actively involved in the biketour and we can spend our time here delving deeper into degrowth ideas, relax and have group workshops.
Critical Mass to Perpignan dimanche 22nd July
We meet campaigners from Perpignan at Villneuve-de-la-raho lake to cycle together to Perpignan and share food and have a debate.
Collectif Minervois contre le gas du schiste 24th July
A campaign group against fracking gas extraction. They were screening Gasland and having a debate with the local population about the plans on fracking the area.
Cravirola Le Maquis 24th -25th July
Beautiful campsite and rest spot, we arrive in the middle of the ‚Festival du Maquis‘ with a spectacular in the evening – ‚live‘ short films, fairy tales, spells and shadow puppets…with a touch of accordian…. For most of the year it is a quiet farm where they make cheese and bread but in the summer their main activity is a lively camp-site with a nice fiesta atmosphere.
Vieux Biclou, Montpellier samedi 28th July
Bike association and workshop which does the things that bike workshops do plus makes bike animations too :-) www.vieuxbiclou.org
La Borie, Sant Jean du Gard, Cevennes lundi 30th July)
Throughout the Cevennes there are a bunch of communities and eco-projects. La Borie is a place of exchange, demonstration and experimentation that invites volunteers, groups, interns and people who wanna get involved. It is an ‚entertainment oriented‘ action based environmental education project.
La Vielle Valette mardi 31st July
Renovated old mining village in the mountains, famous for self construction, DIY, artists and parties.
Le Hameau des Buis/La Ferme des Enfants mercredi 1st August
This alternative education collective is hub of a variety of learning activities, created with the help of volunteers and wwoofers it is now a school with a difference, they have a small farm to learn about animals, and lots of students. We hope to visit and have a small tour of the project and have a discussion about education. They follow something similar to the Montesorri method.
Réserve naturelle des gorges de l’ardèche jeudi 2nd August
Exciting rest day in this beautiful place, we need to avoid the tourists and find a nice place to play in the sun(or water)!
Faisanderie de la Berre vendredi 3rd August
Lovely farm who we are connected to by Marlene, a friend of the biketour. They like circus and we will camp under the Almond trees
Avignon samedi 4th August
Here we will probably meet the ‚Serious Bean Project‘ a band who wants to join with us for a wee while and share their new music along the way :-)
Roulons à Velo Bike, Avignon dimanche 5th August
This workshop and bicycle association is normally shut during August but we may be lucky and get to visit if someone is still about, fingers crosssed!
Collectif vélos en ville, Marseille mercredi 8th-9th August
Aims to promote cycling, have a more equitable urban space, cleaner air and have fun. They run lots of events and courses and have a bike workshop too :-)
Éourres – Le Village d’Alternatives lundi 13th August
This village, set in the mountains was rejuvinated in the 1975 by a bunch of ‚young idealists.‘ Residents all participate in the variety of different projects, a new school, ecotourism project, organic farming, alternative education and new technologies.
Sens et autonomie mardi 14th August
Also in Éourres, they run a range of courses to do with different elements of environmental education; growing a kitchen garden, seed swapping, medicinal plants, permaculture courses, green building techniques and design and organic growing. Their aims are to reduce their ecological foodprint, reclaim knowledge, strenthen social ties and develop creative projects. They are mid way through a course when we are there so they might not have space for a visit but we shall see…
Coordination antinucléaire mardi 14th August
Anti nuclear campaign
L’Ecolieu Tilia & Compagnie 17th -21st August
This eco-house build project was born out of a desire to get away from the limits of individualism and materialism and to create a new space animated by the values of respect, solidarity, sharing of goods and skills, autonomy, interdependence, simplicity voluntary, creativity, beauty, diversity, openness, seeking a balance of people within their environments. They want to create a space of deep personal freedom, freedom to be oneself, and freedom thrive in a community with respect for the ecosystem and participating with intelligence to the local ecological balance. In practical terms they are experimenting with ecological building principles with their houses and we will stay a few days to help out and learn some new skills.
Filature Longo Mai, Chantermerle 17th -21st August
Collective producing wool in a traditional way with hydroelectric power. They are part of the larger network of Longo Mai.
NO TAV, Val di Susa 25th – 26th August
In 1991 a new high-speed railway (sustained speed higher than 200 km/h, peak 300 km/h) between Turin and Lyon was planned in addition to the current line across the Alps, in the context of the creation of a European High Speed Rail network. The Turin-Lyon TAV is part of EU project TEN (Trans-European Network). Works were supposed to start during the second half of the Nineties, but as of 2011 just a few side structures located in France have been finished. Today’s expectation is that it can’t be completed before 2030.
The project consists of two twin tunnels, each of them 56-km (35-mile) long and 6-m (20-foot) wide, reaching 2,000 meters of depth underground, plus many other satellite tunnels – each longer than 10 kms – one of which is planned to run under Turin. Some connection open-air stretches are also part of the plan, one of these is in the Susa Valley – 2 km at its widest – which French TGVs already run across, simply by reducing their speed.
The estimated cost of the line is 13 billion euros but on the basis of already completed TAV trunks, the final cost is expected to be about 4 times higher than planned. Several local communities in each of the towns that this effects are sustaining and organising the struggle, supported by national and international activist networks as well as more mainstream left-wing political parties.
Why say ‚NO‘ to the TAV?
- There was no consultation with local people before the project was agreed and many homes and livelihoods will be destroyed
- Ridiculously huge construction costs, which get paid for by the Italian public
- The line will make this area more inhabitable (already compromised by a motorway and road network), affecting the local economy
- Huge increase in noise pollution from frequent trains
- One argument for TAV is that without it Italy would be isolated; but 7,000 trucks, 110 trains, 20,000 cars already cross this area daily!
- A recent study of traffic streams suggests only 1% of road users would pass to rail
- The new infrastructure would create a serious flood risk in the area
- It’s a clear case of political interest and business pressure being put before local interests, conscious use of resources and environmental sustainability
The first opposition was in 1992 against the destruction of houses in Condove and Caprie, by 2000 over 10,000 people were involved in protests. In 2005, protesters stopped the installation of three detection points, despite a huge police intervention. Paired with other protests that year the government were forced to open a discussion which lead to (inadequate) revisions of the project. In May 2011 it was announced that construction would begin in Chiomonte, protesters guarded the area for a month till on 27th June 1,000 police officers dispersed them using tear-gas. On 3rd July 40,000 protesters tried to repeat what they achieved in 2005 but the police reaction was stronger. The struggle continues and we are here to support it.
Mezcal squat Collegno,Torino 27th – 28th August
Our hosts here also hosted the ‚Reclaim the Fields‘ gathering earlier this year and work in solidarity with No TAV. Reclaim the Fields is a constellation of young people and collective projects willing to go back to the land and reassume the control over food production. They hold camps and gatherings across Europe and have various working groups to get involved with.
Casa Gaia, Pinerolo mercoledì 29th August
This eco-house hosts an environmental think tank which does research, runs courses, and workshops linked to sustainability, demonstrates constructing with appropriate technologies, managing waste and waste water, and cutting emissions.
eX-Mutuo, AstiThursday 30th August
Large squat in Asti, in association with a group that helps migrants to find their feet called Noix de Kola.
Coordinamento Asti Est, Asti Friday 31st August
Association to help families and those in need to re-occupy houses that they have been unfairly evicted from.
For much more information see this post
Cooperativa Agricola Valli Unite 31st August-2nd September
We have been invited to help out with a special harvest festival (Vendemmia) on this organic farm. A feast for two days where there are shows, meetings, lots of yummy food and activities for kids. There will be lots for us to do and there is a space in the schedule for the biketour to do something too…
La Collina, Reggio Emilia 5th September
Community founded in 1975, a space which enables work and acceptance of common social problems, with a focus on drug addiction. Cooperative organic farm was founded in 1980 and the coopertaive vineyards in 1985. Today it has become a large productive farm and also runs a farm school.
Hemp promotion project, Modena 6th September
In Modena we met Fuzzy, a very kind man who has built two large houses using recycled materials and has also been promoting the use of hemp products for many years. We were truly astounded by the numerous uses of this wonder material. He told us over 100 ways that it can be used; as a source of omega fatty acids, to construct a material like fibreglass (and make snowboards), to make car parts, to make sustainable building materials and insulation, to make a strong cotton like material, to make a silk-like material and lots more. It has been strongly persecuted and he encouraged us to research more (for example this video about uses and this video which shows promotion of hemp in USA 1920’s). We were all converted, it’s amazing stuff!!!
XM24, Bologna 6th -9th September
An old covered market building squatted in 2000 with the idea to preserve and revive the idea of the market, as a public space of exchange and production. It turned into a laboratory where different projects find each other.
Some of the projects are: an organic market on Thursdays, a DIY bike workshop, an info/bookshop to spread counter-information, a computer and internet space and language courses for migrants.
Valle degli Elfi (possible day trip from Bologna)
Eco-village that started 20 years ago, making it one of the oldest and most famous in Italy. It’s big (spanning 20km in the forest) and more than 150 people live there. There are many different groups inside the „village“ and Self sufficiency, restoration of old buildings art, agriculture,alternative medicine and common living are the main activities.
Coop Dulcamara, Ozzano Emilia 10th September
Food cooperative, ecological farm in the city, aiming to produce food in a sustainable way with respect for the environment and all living beings and focussed on participation and reciprocity.
Ecoistituto Cesena 11th September
A non-profit organization which aims to promote greater attention to the use of environmentally friendly technologies and consequently in respect of human life, promoting self-development of people by providing information and courses about alternative energies, biodiversity, biological agriculture, construction of pizza ovens with earth.
Ecomuseo della Civiltà Palustre mercoledì 12th September
The Ecomuseum started its research and rescue activity in 1985, with the primary goal of salvaging and documenting a valuable heritage of expertise relating to life between dry land and marshland. Particular attention is given to the processing of marshland weeds, developed by the small community of Villanova di Bagnacavallo, from the 14th century until the 1970s.
La Mente Commune, Padova 15th September
Association dedicated to creative re-use of materials, producing furniture and dresses from waste and the also have an open space for bike repairs.
Critical mass with No Autostrada Romea, Padova to Venice domenica 16th September
No Autostrada Romea is a campaign to defend the Brenta Riviera and Miranese area from development. We will cycle along the river and where the site of the proposed Highway Orte-Mestre which will destroy the land.
Forte Poerio, Venezia, Mira 16th -23rd September
While we are in the Venice area will be be based in Forte Poerio in Mira, an old fort which the cooperative Primavera has revive and is now an active social centre. It aims to keep the area nice, encourage biodiversity and provide a meeting place.
World Carfree Network
The hub of the Global Carfree Movement, helping to spread information and resources between groups around the world. They are also coming to Venice and we plan on joining with them in some activities there :-)
3rd International Conference on Degrowth, ecological sustainability and social equity, Venice
Our final destination is the Degrowth conference in Venice which aims to be a forum for discussing degrowth differently with a progressive interdisciplinary approach to the topic. Ecotopia Biketour has a workshop space on 20th to share our experiences with whoever is interested. If you want full access to the conference you need to register but we will have access to the activity workshops including; open source technologies, recycled designs, yoga, consumer awareness, building a wind turbine, meditation, open source ecology.
See more from the 2012 blog archive.