Friday 26 January 2018

Do you know the difference between your dacha and your croft?

I have been asked to give a talk to the "Acharacle Winter Group" and have been given the title, Do you know the difference between your croft and your dacha?  

If you want to give it a more serious title it might be, The social, cultural and economic role of the Russian dacha, sounds a bit pompous, but never mind.

So,..... how to do this? well I have some really nice images of dachas and I have some personal experience of them after nearly four years living in Russia but I decided to get an authentic Russian voice to comment.I asked my friend and one time colleague Tatiana Petrovna, "what does your dacha mean to you Tanya? "this was her response;

My dacha is important to me as it feeds us nearly the whole year
It pleases my eye as I have beautiful flowers and dwarf conifers
It keeps me in good physical shape with digging which is sometimes very hard
I like to sunbathe on a bright summer day.

The dacha is a place to meet friends, to relax, talk, listen to music, drink tea and wine.
When it is raining it is a pleasure to sit by the fire among people dear to you.
Or just to sit in silence with my own thoughts.
Much depends on my mood

Tanya on her dacha

The dacha as you can see is close to the heart of Russians as it has been since Tsarist times when they were largely the prerogative of the upper middle classes. During the Soviet era people were allowed small plots for recreation and  food production. Since then, after the middle of May each year there is a mass exodus from the towns and cities on Friday to the dacha in the countryside.

You can see from the figures above what an important contribution dachas make to Russian food production. The gardening is largely organic, highly sustainable and provides food security, something we no longer have in the UK.,

1 comment:

Michael said...

Talk sounds interesting. It would make an interest blog post also - is a typical Russian dacha way more productive than a west coast croft? All down to the climate , soil etc?