The world collectively enters the seventh month of the pandemic since COVID-19 was first discovered in Wuhan, China. Nations and their economies are facing various stages of recession, with some far worse off than others. Millions of people out of work, millions of businesses closed and even bankrupt and with fears of a second COVID-19 wave always lingering.
As The World Bank reports that “The baseline forecast envisions a 5.2 per cent contraction in global GDP in 2020”, many individuals and businesses are fearful of how they will practically manage. Most strategies to prepare and survive a recession are a trickle-down approach and government action and policy are unquestionably required in such circumstances. However, there may also be some beneficial actions that can be taken at a grassroots level that can soften the blow of economic decline.
Community gardening can address the issue of food insecurity in some communities during times of crisis. A successful community garden can provide access to fresh, healthy foods at a reasonable price. It can increase social cohesion and solidarity during uncertain times. It can also be a means for people to learn new skills if they have not gardened before. This initiative, though, requires active societal participation through intrinsic and extrinsic resources and experiences.
Many might think that secondary school-age youth are too young to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. One can observe, however, that youth are technologically proficient, motivated and creative. Many exceptional and beneficial inventions have been created by young people. The school environment can be a good opportunity to expand their education to include training in entrepreneurship, self-employment and innovation. This is if the school administration is willing, the teachers are competent themselves on such topics and the resources are available.
Such types of monetary alternatives require a high level of trust and cooperation among and between community members. If that can be reached the benefits can also be high for everyone involved. When the majority of people in a community lack hard currency such alternatives can allow people, at least for the short term, to meet their basic needs and sustain a certain level of economic activity within the community.