Monday, 18 April 2011

Ecological bazaar

As promised, here is my review of the 'Ekojarmark'.

There one can buy some interesting things, things that one cannot find in supermarkets or small shops: fruit (my favourite was the exceedingly delicious apple juice at 2 złoty a cup), cheese (such as the sort one can usually buy during the Advent fairs, for example Austrian cheddar; south Polish mountain cheese, which can be eaten warm), smoked fish, vegan pasties, various meats from villages, honey, eggs, cakes and Lithuanian specialities.

One can also buy things like horseshoes (made on the spot), bags made from old linen posters, woolen clothes, ornaments (including the ubiquitous 'Polish pottery') and other things one can buy as gifts.

Unlike with shops (places I have nothing against) here one can buy things from the people who made them/plucked them from trees/milked the cows and then made the milk into cheese.  In other words, the link between the production and buyer is a lot closer than with what usually happens.  

The food that I had there was very tasty.

Being there is an interesting experience.  In GB and Germany those who are interested in matters ecological and organic tend to be middle-class or young professionals, something suitable as the products tend to be more expensive than what one would normally pay.  In Poland however, the class system is different and those who are interested in things like ecological and organic products are more likely to be the average person.

Witness what happened last Saturday.  On that day and that day only one could bring products that can be recycled (plastic, paper and metal) to the bazaar and receive free tickets to various museums and the opera house in Wrocław as a result.  I went there with my wife and what did we see?  A queue of a few hundred people all waiting to recycle.  The great majority of them were young; students I would guess for the most part.  All of them were patient enough to collect packaging, bring it all to town and then wait a few hours in order to receive tickets that would normally cost less than 20 złoty.

I found that quite remarkable.  It was as if they were not really there to receive some tickets, rather to engage in a transaction that doesn't involve money.  This is against the dominant system of commodifaction (something that I wrote about in this article about payment for my workshops.) 


In any case, last Saturday a film about Barycz Valley nature park was shown in the church.  Looks like a very nice place.  What a lot of people don't know is that Poland has a lot of nature and contains birds that people who live in other countries may not have seen.  Places and events like the Ecological bazaar help to keep such places in good health.
Anyway.  It's there till Holy Friday.  It's on the square in front of St. Mary Magdalene's in the town centre and the website (in Polish) can be found here.

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