Today I was introduced to the local natural and organic fruit and veg market in Coín. It is held each Sunday morning beside La Trocha shopping centre to the north of the town centre.
My guide and vegetarian, organic food evangelist was Natalie, vegetarian food writer, cook, stylist, restauranteur and restaurant consultant.
It was a wonderful way to spend the morning exploring the small market – the products were as visually appetising as they are delicious to eat – and the prices are exceptionally good value.
It’s a long way from the town of Totnes, Devon, England, but here in Coín, Malaga province, a little inland from the regional capital, we can see the influence of this pioneering English town. Coín is a ‘Transition Town’; one of the first in Andalucía, where the local community is working together to create a more sustainable economy, one that rewards both local producers and consumers.
Here a growing number of people in the town and the surrounding area are working to create their own economy, and encouraging people to produce and consume locally. The notion of ‘transition’ from unsustainable economic growth based on greed and inequality to one that is more sustainable and respectful of residents and the environment certainly isn’t new. Communities like Totnes have been working to make the notion and concept a feasible approach to modern life for some time, and finding ways we can all harness the power of change that is sweeping the planet during this present era.
Yet, in Southern Spain where the economic growth has crashed after the eye-wateringly fast growth since democracy, it’s so refreshing to see so many local people getting involved, from local crafts people to small scale farmers.
The economic crisis hit Andalucía before the rest of Spain. The property bubble was already close to bursting in 2005/6 long before anyone could have imagined the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 and subsequent present banking crisis and global downturn. So many people are disillusioned with as economic model based on greed and inequality, and there is a growing desire to create sustainable communities. This can go beyond food and into housing, transport and business.
In fact, Coín may seem an unlikely place for this, but it really is at the heart of a thriving alternative economy; and magazines such as La Chispa (Phil Spiers) have been supporting this for years.