Monday, 3 March 2014

The Dachnik Movement -- Changing the World Through Land Ownership -- Illustrated Version

How did Russia manage to find itself in the position of giving land to its people?  Well this has been going on for some time.  From the 1960's onward, the dacha (a small parcel of land in the country given to citizens) became a part of the Russian way of life.  First, under communism, there were strings attached.  For example, land was organised through the work-place, one had to have been working at their position (job) for five years, or that land could be forfeit if it was not cultivated.  It was not allowed to build anything other than temporary accommodation on the land.

Later in the 1980's, Russia faced major economic and political upheaval.  The dacha contributed greatly to the country's food security, and major rioting and widespread starvation were avoided.  Land at this time became privately owned without onerous conditions, but was no longer granted for free in the new capitalist regime.

Here are some example of what long-term dacha-dwellers (dachniks) have been able to achieve.  A 600 square meter property (the standard size) after 25 years of intensive, loving attention could be transformed into a fertile paradise.  No longer weed-strewn and marginal in its productivity, with a smaller number of perennial fruit trees and bushes plus vegetables it could feed a family (some only work on their dachas on weekends).  And provide surplus to trade with neighbours and preserve for winter.

Other additional resources that were used during Russia's moment of economic crisis were the nearby forests (mushrooms and berries) and additional land that was used for potato growing.  So much so that dacha food productivity far eclipsed commercial cropping for staple food items (potatoes, for example).

It is estimated that 40 million families, or 120 million people (85% of Russia's population) are currently growing food on their dachas.  They are supported by 20 magazines, 5 television programs and numerous informative websites and an organisation specifically for dachniks.

Today, the Ringing Cedars movement, based on a series of books by Vladimir Megre, is rekindling the interest of the Russian youth in living on the land, partnering and raising a family under wholesome conditions.  The number of kin's settlement villages (made up of individual domains for families, of one hectare) is already in the hundreds.  This has occurred in less than two decades since the books were written.

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