– Blossoms around the city –
From the wonderful day we spent at Utrecht, some of us made their way by train, others by bike through the dutch countryside to the city of Wageningen, where volunteers and organizers had set up workshops all throughout the city. One workshop location was more beautiful then the next.
While people where biking from Utrecht to Wageningen and voluteers where installing the two locations, some participants already started the day with a treasure hunt to meet different local food producers. There were also a bunch of small workshops on the fascinating processes going on in soils.
Some amazing volunteers prepared burgers, guacamole and salad after skipping food for a whole week! Lunch was served in the creative garden, a place where food sovereignty and circularity become a lived experience. Not only is it home to bees, a large variety of flowers and vegetables, it is also home to one of the most impressive and cosy compost toilets you will ever have the pleasure to poop in!In the creative garden there was space to rest, but also to join an inspiring and very informative storytelling workshop about African rice. Later, participants could also take part in the discussion about activism in the dutch agricultural system organised by XR Landbouw and reflect on the campaign they are leading against rabobank and their investment in industrial agriculture.
At the same time, workshops were given in the squatted ecovillage Ppauw. The program at Ppauw started with a little tour of the terrain with an explanation of its history and spirit. Ppauw is home to around 11 permanent residents, many wagons and tents, little greenhouses, compost toilets, a wonderful glass house, beautiful oak trees, dogs, swings and a large fire pit. For this day it was also a base for a panel discussion on the role of education in changing the food systems. They also welcomed a workshop about how to design a food forest. Parallel to these two locations, some excursions were organized and we could bike around Wageningen to visit all these places. People could get to know the Ommuurde Tuin, a beautiful garden with a rich biodiversity, and De Nieuwe Ronde a self pick up CSA. We also had some workshops organized in the student farm in which we made seed bombs and learned about different ways of composting.
While participants got to enjoy a full program of workshops, visits and talks, some volunteers cleaned up the space at the creative garden and others prepared dinner at THUIS with the help from volunteers of foodsharing. People also went to pick up the wonderful food and beer from a local brewery.
While food the dinner was going on continuously, participants got the chance to gather under oak trees to share and listen to poetry. We created a collective space with poems of many languages, expressing love, appreciation, wonder, humor, sadness and much much more. The evening was rounded off with a large campfire, music by Luuk Lenders and a fire show. We didn’t want to get to bed too late, because the next morning, preparations started early to really get active against the big agricultural industry we had been discussing throughout all these days!
The University of Wageningen (WUR) works closely together with many unsustainable actors from the private sector. It has recently opened a huge research center of Unilever on its campus and continues to get research funded by them, as well as from Friesland Campina and Upfield. Louise Fresco, the director of the executive board also holds a position in the board of Syngenta. We wanted to denounce the impact of these companies on the education and research at WUR. These oligarchs of the agricultural and food production sector continue to profit from the exploitation of people and the commodification of nature. They do not have peoples’ interests at heart, and we cannot and should not expect genuine sustainable advancements from well-established multinationals. No socially sustainable and equitable solutions can be built on this foundation. The need for transparency is not fulfilled, as many professors do not declare their side jobs, the procedure for Louise Fresco’s position at the board of Syngenta is just as unclear as the decision making process of allowing companies on campus.
After violent arrests during the last protest at the WUR, we also wanted to denounce the police violence that was inflicted to the protesters and the silence of the board on what happened.
We started off the day by preparing flags with different messages against big agriculture. We then made our way with around 50 people around WUR’s Campus to spread the resistance with drums, songs, speeches and our flags to conclude many weeks of hard work, and two weekends of learning, sharing and growing together.
A big thanks to all the people who helped us in the weeks leading up to, during, and after the FAF in Wageningen and all other cities! Thanks to all those who contributed with a workshop, talk, care or otherwise, those who cooked and performed and also all of you who came to attend the festival. This would not have been possible without all your energy & enthusiasm!
Find the report about the Amsterdam FAF here.
Find the report about the Utrecht FAF here.
If you are interested to read more about the workshops that were given throughout both weekends, click here.
A huge thank you to ALERT youth fund for supporting us financially! You can support their important work here.
Thank you also to LUSH for their financial support!