In a snow covered Freiburg, 50-60 people from across Europe gather to share stories, learn from one-another and plan the future of Reclaim the Fields, a network of “people and collective projects willing to go back to the land and reassume the control over food production” . Those involved share a rejection of capitalist organisation in favour of small scale, needs oriented production. Present are farmers – or peasants (a term used to indicate the small scale and local nature of the agricultural projects people are involved in), gardeners, nomads, and other activists. Under the banner of Reclaim the Fields, these groups and individuals come together to share experiences and support one another, host camps, and carryout actions in the fight for land.
The conference works on the basis of consensus decision making, with proposals brought before the assembly for deliberation. Bla Collective provide a system of translation involving short-wave radio headsets and a transmitter link up to the microphones; all discussions are available in English, French and German, translated simultaneously by members of the group. Meals are eaten together with a rota for cooking and cleaning, food has been provided by the participants on donation and purchased with RtF funds; meals are vegan, with the option of some locally produced butter and cheese.
A great effort is made to ensure that everyone’s needs are met during the week, taking into account considerations of gender, privacy and preference. Accommodation is split between the KTS Autonom Centrum – a once-squatted social centre where the meetings are held – local housing projects and a wagonplatz (trailer park).
After several days of discussion regarding the internal structure of RtF the meeting moved to the fields. Tours are organised at three projects in Freiburg, a self-organised bakery, a horticultural CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and a CSA farm producing dairy products and growing vegetables. After the tours its back to the KTS to discuss ideas for the next RtF camp and learn about growing mushrooms.
The final day is given over to feedback, reflection and final decision making. An action group is assembled to plan the next annual meeting, a job that involves finding a suitable location and dealing with all the logistics and communication. The day ends with a presentation about the Warsaw 3, a group of jailed anarchists connected to a squatted garden project in Warsaw, that is now experiencing severe state repression. In the evening, KTS and RtF host a solidarity party to raise money for the organisation and to have some fun after a long week!
You can find out more about Reclaim the Fields by visiting the link below: – http://reclaimthefields.org/about