Project: The Foraging Commons

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The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from off the goose.

The law demands that we atone
When we take things we do not own
But leaves the lords and ladies fine
Who take things that are yours and mine.

The poor and wretched don’t escape
If they conspire the law to break;
This must be so but they endure
Those who conspire to make the law.

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
And geese will still a common lack
Till they go and steal it back.
— 17th century protest against English enclosure

It is with much anticipation and excitement that Reclaim the Curb announces the launch of The Foraging Commons, amazing mapping website that it has been working on to help connect people with where food is grown publicly.

The Foraging Commons is a website that celebrates sharing of food grown on or over public land.  This project has been 3 years in the making with a few previous embodiments before this final design which was launched just a few weeks ago. What is really exciting about this platform is that not only does it collect the expected data like site locations, types of food, and seasons of availability but it also allows users to include how to interact with the food that you find through the permissions area, leave comments about each site and edit as you see fit. Users can ever upload photos!

Since its inception the project has received a mixed bag of reviews (like all good projects should) as it draws to question what is mine, what is yours and what is ours. Public etiquette and civic duty are concepts often forgotten about or glossed over in this world’s rush to ‘save itself’ from one disaster or another. However the gift economy is alive and well, we just need to be reminded that its not always material gain that you receive.

It’s a project that harks back to a time when knowing where the local apple tree was and when it fruited was just part of living in your area of the world – a time before we would rather jump into our cars and buy fruit wrapped in plastic.

Go check it out, find out what grows near you and enjoy it!

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About Juliette

When Juliette was little, she came home from school and asked her mum in her little teary voice why the other kids at school didn’t like her. Her mum reassured her and said 'Don't worry Juliette, you're just different. That's all.' Since then, aware of her obvious difference to everyone else, Juliette is spending her time doing exactly what people wish to be doing – exactly what she wants. This blog is a celebration of taking a deep breath and just doing it. Currently Juliette can be found sipping tea and gardening somewhere in Central Victoria, Australia with her beloved and their excitable boys. She is also completing her PhD in Civic Agriculture and teaches at RMIT in Sustainable Consumption and Design Activism.

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