Assembly of ‘Reclaim the Fields’: Connecting movements across Europe
Earlier this year an activist connected to the Free the Soil campaign attended the European conference of Reclaim the Fields near Florence, Italy.
took a trip to Italy in the beginning of February to attend the
of Reclaim the Fields.
Reclaim the fields is a network of peasants, landless and prospective peasants, as well as people who are taking back control over food production and activists involved in agricultural or land defense struggles. They are active all over Europe, but are especially strong in France.
The network strives to support and encourage people to stay on the land and go back to the countryside, promoting food sovereignty (as defined in the Nyéléni declaration) and peasant agriculture, as well as alternative ways of life. Their aim is to create alternatives to capitalism through cooperative, collective, autonomous, real-needs-oriented, small-scale production and initiatives, linking local practical action with global political struggles.
The network meets yearly, at an assembly every winter, where different projects and organisations (so called stars) meet and present themselves, have discussions about various topics and organize the necessary work to keep the organisation running. The event is also open to anybody interested to get to know the network.
This year, the meeting was held close to Florence, Italy, at the Mondeggi Bene Comune farm, which is located on public land and was squatted 4 years ago, after having been abandoned for many years.
Now it is run by people living on the farm and others living in the nearby towns or in Florence, who collectively take care of the thousands of olive trees, along with other farming activities, like growing cereals and vegetables, baking bread, brewing beer.
The story of Mondeggi Farm shows how recent development in agriculture leads to the abandonment of farms, that actually have high potential in giving food and work to many people. The restarting of the Mondeggi farm as a farming-collective now shows a powerful example of living the alternative.
The movement and action camp of Free The Soil was presented during the assembly as well as at an event taking place in Florence. Many people were interested and will hopefully start mobilizing where they are based. Also the idea came up to have a Reclaim the fields Barrio at the Free the Soil camp. (If you are interested, mail firstname.lastname@example.org)
While I was there, there was also a demonstration and a banner-drop in solidarity with Mondeggi and other squats under threat of eviction or recently evicted, Asilo Ocupato in Turin, L‘amassada in France and Factory ROD in Poland.