‘Invention’ according to author Mary Shelley, ´does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos.” And right now Spain is in a state of chaos. Every day in my classroom at the University where I teach I look upon the strained faces of my students, and wonder, what hope is there of finding a comfy job, close by their families that will take them through to their retirement years (which as a point of interest is the ultimate dream of the majority). And the answer is fairly close to zero. But still they keep on plugging away with their studies, only to carry on with a Masters and then maybe a PHD in the hope that Spain and Andalucia rises like a phoenix from the ashes.
The current system has clearly failed the Spanish people. If they´re not being evicted from their homes by the banks and increasingly heavy handed police, they´re finding themselves left hung out to dry with no benefits from the state. The supermarket aisles filled with delights flown in from around the world, are no longer accessible, and every day there are more people attending the ´comedores´ (soup kitchens) run by stony faced nuns in starched habits.
For those who do have a few centimos in their pockets, more and more are realising that the crisis has sprung from the wild embrace of a system that promotes unsustainability and are looking for other ways to counter the until now unquestioned madness that has left the population dizzy with plasma TVs, flash cars and a ton of debt. Time banks, alternative currencies and social markets are popping up all round the country, and never more so in Seville, where you don´t have to be a dread locked anarchist to seek an alternative to the accepted system.
La Rendija is one such venture, that brings together local producers, fair trade products, organic goods and handicrafts. On entering it´s hard to get a handle on what exactly they have to offer, as it´s a veritable Aladin´s cave of delights. At the heart of their range is a selection of organic foodstuffs ranging from grains and legumbres, honey and jams, fair trade teas, coffees and chocolate, fresh eggs and artisan organic beers and wines. They´ve also got an impressive range of environmentally friendly, handmade beauty products and detergents presented in recycled reusable packaging.
Unlike the Puma and other social currencies, you are still dealing in Euros and centimos, but at the Rendija you need to become a member, and deposit 10 or 20 Euros a month in your account, depending on how much you spend. I just pay in cash when I remember, but probably the most sensible thing is to set up a direct debit.
Don´t expect to be able to do your weekly shopping at the Rendija, but it´s somewhere that you can come to top up on your bits and pieces bought elsewhere. You know, like the olden days, when you bought your fish at the fishmongers, your veggies at the greengrocers and there were no giant trolleys fit to burst with grapes from Israel, blueberries wrapped in plastic from Argentina and legs of lamb from New Zealand. In Seville, unlike the British high street it´s still possible to survive day to day without ever stepping into a supermarket, and for that my heart rejoices.
Since the time of writing, they have also introduced the possibility of subscribing to a weekly, organic vegetable basket.
La Rendija, c/ San Hermenegildo nº1. Plaza de San Julián
Monday – Friday: 10.30-14.30 horas y de 18.00-21.00 horas.
Saturdays: 10:30-14.30 horas