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A Note from the Food Autonomy Festival#2

June 20, 2018

On May 26th, the 2nd edition of the Food Autonomy Festival took place. A special mention for all the participants: speakers, collectives, workshop facilitators, cooks, veg choppers, bar folk, seed-swappers, musicians, funds (especially Alert!) and everyone else who participated in this edition of the FAF! We also want to thank people living in Bajesdorp for hosting us and making this event possible, and all volunteers for making the FAF#2 great!

The day started with a first workshop organized by Gus from Taste Before You Waste! who showed first visitors how to make their own curry. Shortly after this workshop, the volunteers of Taste Before You Waste! served a vegan lunch made of rice with a mix of rescued vegetables and a delicious soup made out with the curry prepared during the workshop.

At 13:30, the first talk of the day, ‘Food Sovereignty & Agroecology’ started in the garden of the Muiterij. Quim and Erik from Revista Soberania Alimentaria (Barcelona), Wout (local-organic farmer with a CSA project in Amsterdam-West called De Stadsgroenteboer) and Davide from Italy representing CISVTO (NGO working on food sovereignty and education based in Torino) presented their projects. This was followed by an interesting debate, during which they discussed topics such as Food Sovereignty vs. Food Autonomy, how to define what it means being a peasant and what is their role in Europe, urban farming and green gentrification. Here you can find the video of this talk!

Meanwhile, the workshop of KasKantine started, relocalized in front of the Muiterij where Menno built wooden rocket stoves. They were later used to cook the dinner in the evening, proving that they were perfectly working!

Then, the second talk of the day titled ‘Supporting Autonomous Spaces’ started in the ‘Tree house garden’, with speakers from 3 autonomous spaces. Camille and Camille from la ZAD, ‘Zone à Défendre’ in the West of France and the largest post-capitalist land occupation in Europe, Erica and Berk from ADM, a vibrant living and working community in the harbour of Amsterdam, and Alies and Trijntje from De Boterbloem, the last organic farm within the city limits of Amsterdam. During this talk, we discussed the importance of keeping free, autonomous spaces: there, people have built sustainable alternative society models based on solidarity, self-organization and the respect of nature. We talked about why we have to fight for freedom by taking back the control of the land, supporting each other in the fight and strengthening the movement against the capitalist system.

At the same time, in the permaculture garden of Bajesdorp (Bajestuin), Darren from Organiclea (Worker’s cooperative growing food on the edge of London, UK) taught a captivated audience how to grow their own mushrooms. Every participant had the chance to leave the festival with a bag of mycelium mixed with straw which, given care and love, will produce wonderful oyster mushrooms. Please send us pictures when they start growing!

The third and last talk of the day took place in the garden of the Muiterij. Titled ‘Agriculture & Climate Change’ it gathered speakers from ASEED Europe and Climate Collective from Denmark. They briefly presented their respective campaigns, Fossil Free Agriculture and Free the Soil. Then, they discussed together with the audience alternatives to the massive use of synthetic fertilizers, as well as means to address an issue relatively unknown for the general public.
Meanwhile, two workshops both organized by City Plot took place in Bajestuin. The first one on food forests was given by Ricardo, who and provided practical information on agroforestry. The second worship given by Marie was on planning an edible urban garden. She gave very detail information on how to set up a garden in urban spaces.

Throughout the day, different collectives and individuals hold stands along the main path of Bajesdorp, providing information, seeds, food, drinks… This gave a very lively atmosphere to the whole festival. Contributors were Paper Jam, de Vrije Bond, Kokke-Rellen, Sexy Seitan, Code Rood, City Plot, ASEED, Food Cycle, ADM, Healthy and Affordable, Persvrijheid, in addition to a collective seed and seedlings swap table.

The vegan dinner prepared by Guerilla Kitchen, which was a delicious asparagus risotto served with salad, avocado and tempeh gave some energy to the participants in order to get ready for the night program. The music performances then started in the garden of the Muiterij. The Finnish band Slack Bird went first on stage and matched perfectly the feeling of this sunny day ending with their acoustic folk. Captain Frank & the Cheap Ho’s played after them, warmed up the audience and finished their set in complete darkness. After some light was fixed, the Bucket Boyz entered the stage for the last performance. They started their show by ‘borrowing’ the previous band’s amazing drummer, soon joined by the official one. They closed beautifully this awesome 2nd edition of the Food Autonomy Festival, which celebrated all the previously mentioned initiatives as part of an important step in collectively reclaiming our autonomy. We must put food forward in social, economic, political, and climate justice discussions!