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Time for a FRESH Start

Editor’s Note: For background on the FRESH project ("the world’s wildest supermarket"), please see this previous post.


From: Sepp Holzer’s Permakultur, Leopold Stocker Verlag, 2008

Danish food revolutionaries take matters into their own hands in order to do what needs to be done — without funding, permits and other bureaucratic fumblings.

In this article, I will answer the following questions:

  • What is FRESH? What kind of people are in the movement? What is it doing?
  • How is FRESH doing (or planning to do) what it does?
  • How is FRESH progressing?

FRESH is the only truly sustainable supermarket you may ever have heard of. It revolves around the following principles: no money, no discrimination and no ownership, but only egalitarianism and equality.

It is situated in Ballerup close to Copenhagen (by most countries’ standards, it’s in the middle of the city, but Denmark is an awfully small country).

At the moment an old spruce plantation is being converted into a permacultural supermarket, with no cash register, no shelves and no personel. You harvest your own groceries, fresh from the raised beds, hence the name, FRESH.

The people active in FRESH are a lush mix of people, ranging from two to seventy odd years of age. These are people who understand that food is supposed to be free, healthy and diverse.

All sorts of people are engaged in the project, for example a cabinet maker, a college professor, a yoga teacher, two anthropologists and several other professions are represented.

Anyone can join, and the participants are doing their best to recruit more people to the cause.

At the moment, we are felling the spruce, mainly using axes, saws and sickles. The chain saw is being used once in a while, a compromise we have had to make, but we strive to keep the project fossil free.

We are building raised beds from the trunks and branches. Our plan is to cover them with soil from the foot of the beds, thus creating canals in case of heavy rainfall and by refilling with rocks and/or branches keeping the place from becoming muddy.

In the beginning we were not yet skilled enough to take down the trees, making them fall in the direction we wanted, but practice makes perfect; our skills improve with each and every work day.

We have chosen this fairly slow method of clearing, to enable more hands to work at the same time. Since we do not work for profit, we can actually pay attention to another important part of our goal; getting as many locals as possible to see the light.

The sheer look of happiness in people’s faces, upon having spent a day of sunlight (or frost and snow) at the site, is simply to die for — as is the look in my own face after seven hours of axe work.

Besides everything being free and community based, we want it to be diverse and healthy. Therefore, we are planning on a full crusade against food taboos.

We want to introduce weeds into the diet, to educate people about the healing and energizing properties of many of the country’s native plants and to change the concept of so-called weeds.

Over the past two months we have held about ten work days and engaged more than forty people, all hooked on fresh air and DIY.
As previously mentioned, we are keeping it money free; in this way anyone can come and learn or teach for the betterment of the community.

Everything is open source and network based and we strive to engage as many different networks as possible in FRESH; everyone should know and appreciate that, food is free and growing, not bought and grown.

At time of writing, we have cleared a fairly large area of twenty metres by fifty metres (approximately sixty feet by one hundred and fifty feet) and have built five raised beds from the tree trunks.

With more to come, our current task is mainly focused on felling more trees towards the south in order to let the vitalizing sunshine in.
Any day soon, a big load of manure will be coming in, and a heap of people are on standby, eager to get to work when springtime comes around.

We hope that more people will watch and learn, as we struggle to prove that food comes from nature, is free and that the world is ours.

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