Chestnuts In The Library (Happy New Five Year Plan III)

The cinema has a library of reference books, which has been growing slowly over the years. All the books can be borrowed by the inhabitants of the village where we’re situated. We’ve discussed how to develop the library, and have looked at for example the work of seedbanks to come up with ideas (seedbanks lend you seeds, you plant them, grow something, then bring new seeds back to the bank the next year).

Some of our books, like Restoration Agriculture by Mark Shepard and The Resilient Farm And Homestead by Ben Falk, have discussed the replacement of annual crops with chestnut trees. Their arguments sound sensible, especially as trees are longterm traps for carbon dioxide.


From The Resilient Farm And Homestead by Ben Falk

Edible chestnuts have a hard time in most of Sweden, but here in the south there are many trees to be found – next to the entrance of Malmö Konsthall for example – and they also manage to produce nuts.

We found a tree just north of Höganäs which has survived for almost a century, and which also produces nuts of an OK size (most of the other trees we looked at had chestnuts the size of seeds). We left some of these chestnuts in a plastic bag in the fridge and forgot about them until springtime. By then they had all started sprouting.


We now have around fifty plants of edible-chestnut trees, to give away to visitors of the cinema. They’re on the shelves of the library, and if you take one home and plant it, you can bring us back a chestnut in five years time. We’ll be here, probably working on a new five year plan.


DVDs In The Library

As we are now officially registered as a non-profit organization, our reference library has been able to include DVDs to be used for research and educational purposes, that is, DVDs donated or sold only to institutions. Visitors to the library can’t borrow them home, but you can watch the films on site, for research purposes.


Four DVDs were donated by the University of Bayreuth, with many thanks to professor Ute Fendler and her associates. They contain (among other things) 30 episodes of the Kuxa Kanema newsreels, made in Mozambique during the 1970’s.

Makwayela DVD

We have also managed to aquire a DVD of the film Makwayela, made by visual anthropologist Jean Rouch and cultural attaché Jaques D’Arthuys. The film was recorded outside a factory in Maputo in Mozambique in 1977. Parts of the dialogue are in Portuguese, and we are at the moment trying to get those translated into English and Swedish. Other parts of the dialogue are in Fanakalo, “a secret language, created from Zhangane, Zoulou and English passed on from generation to generation”, according to the distributors, CNRS Images. The Fanakalo we will not attempt to translate, it is probably meant to remain secret. The DVD is for institutional use only, but we have also aquired a license to screen the film in our cinema as part of the program for the coming season.

little note

Beggars And Choosers

The reference library that we’ve started up in the village of Hoja is set for a larger presentation next summer. Plans have been drawn for an unfolding structure to host the books on a shelving system, to be constructed this winter. We’ve also started to receive donations of books, from both organisations, publishers, and private persons.


A number of books come from ABF, the workers educational association, organisers of study groups all over the country, and hosts of the annual Socialist Forum in Stockholm. Above left: Pa Promenad Med Master Palm by Erik Wiklund, illustrated by Sara Granér – on how to organise public talks, debates and roundtable discussions before an audience. Above right: Sockerbetan Pa Faltet Och Pa Bruket – documenting a studygroup on sugarbeets (one of the more common crops in our region).

more books

Above right: The Secret Gardener by Elin Unnes – on smallscale self sufficiency from an allotment. Above left: Den Arbetsfria Tradgarden by Ruth Stout and Ingrid Olausson – on a workfree garden through mulching.

When we arranged a screening last month on the invitation of an urban gardening project in Stockholm, we asked the organiser artist Malin Lobell for a reading list, which we’ve then tried to follow when buying up books for the library. The list looks like this:

Books on Urban Gardening:

Gatsmart odling by Ulrika Flodin Furås

The secret gardener by Elin Unnes

Konsten att odla staden by Sara Danielsson

Any book by Lena Israelsson

Books on Art and Gardening:

Victory gardens by Amy Franceschini

The edible front lawn by Fritz Haeg

Books on Forrest Gardening:

Creating a forrest garden by Martin Crawford

How to make a forrest garden by Patrick Whitefield

How to grow perennial vegetables by Martin Crawford

Books on Self Sufficiency:

Self sufficiency by John Seymor

The secret gardener by Elin Unnes

Självhushållning på Djupadal by Mandelmanns Trädgårdar

Books on Mulching:

Jord by Håkan Wallander

Some of these have been easy to find, others more difficult. Victory Gardens, which documents an art project by an old friend of ours, Amy Franceschini from San Francisco, seemed to be rare and, if available at all, prohibitively expensive.


But when arranging a talk last week, for the Living Archives project in Malmo, we were presented with this book as a donation to our library, from producer Veronica Wiman.

A heartfelt thank you goes out to organisations, publishers, and private persons who’ve provided both tips on essential reading and donated books for the library.


Climate Control

Our studygroup has read through a number of books in preparation for the upcoming Climate Film Festival in Stockholm. Some of the books have also found their way into our Library Of Enlightenment. Overall, it’s been an extremely depressing reading session.


books 1


Six Degrees by Mark Lynas seems to be very well-researched, and paints a dark picture of what to expect the consequences upon our natural environment to be at a medium-temperature rise of one degree, of two degrees, of three degrees etc., up until a rise of six degrees. Since a rise of two degrees, as far as we understand it, is already unavoidable due to various slef-enhancing effects, even if we were to cease all emissions today, the first two chapters of the book are already a reality. So, apart from trying to find ways to reduce and stop emissions, we should also be looking for ways in which to live with chaotic climate conditions – ways in which to organise society, ways in which to deal with psychological consequences, cultural consequences, ethical and moral consequences.

Prosperity Without Growth by Tim Jackson goes into the economics and the politics of a sustainable society. He writes about a green version of the New Deal, and a return to Keynesian economics. It basically means that public investments can be politically directed towards environmentally beneficial projects, like for example clean energy. Chapter 10, which deals with what the political system can do to curtail unfettered expansion and growth is interesting for all the things it leaves out – what form of government would be suited to organise society in a chaotic climate? Jackson speaks of the schizoid condition for governments of today, as they are on the one hand bound to the idea of constant growth, and on the other hand bound to the defense of the public good.


books 2


We’re trying to include as many practical handbooks as  we can in our library, and were excited by the title of Brian Cleggs The Global Warming Survival Kit. But here’s a book which deals mostly with how to equip your home or house to withstand harsh weather conditions and power cuts, while skipping the societal level. Here’s tips on how to be one of the first people at the gas station when there’s a fuel shortage coming up, and never mind those who arrive late. Here’s tips on how to defend yourself and your family against looters, and never mind arranging for equal distribution of necessities.

Recipes For Disaster, An Anarchist Cookbook wins our hearts in this category, though the practical tips in this book might not be able to save us from catastrophic climate in any other way than through preserving our dignity. Instructions, or recipes, for Classroom Takeovers, Antifascist Action, Coalition Building, and Independent Media, coupled with chapters on How To Turn Your Bicycle Into A Record Player, this is all about the ecology of the mind of the protester.




A beautiful book about surviving disasters with your head held high. A Paradise Built In Hell by Rebecca Solnit discusses various natural and man-made disasters throughout the last 100 years, and how extraordinary circumstances bring out the very best in people. As it is filled with documented examples and witness accounts, we will not disregard it as optimistic fantasy. Although governments have reacted according to the idea that all people serve only their self-interest, protecting property above human lives, Rebecca Solnit have collected stories of how people, the victims of the disasters, actually abandon self-interest for the good of the community. Working together to relieve disaster they experience life as more full of meaning. As property is shared voluntarily, life is experienced as more rich. So there’s that to look forward to in the years ahead.

“This utopia matters, because almost everyone has experienced some version of it and because it is not the result of a partisan agenda but rather a broad, unplanned effort to salvage society and take care of the neighbors amid the wreckage.”