In case you haven’t been following our current campaign and involvement in Free the Soil here is a very brief introduction to what it is:
Free the Soil is a campaign being organized by several collectives from around mostly northern Europe which aims to educate folks and raise awareness about the links between climate chaos and industrial agriculture. The campaign is currently focused on naming and shaming the largest producer of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, and Europe’s largest buyer of commercial fossil gas, YARA. The camp and action will also focus on blocking production at it’s second largest production site in Europe.
YARA is a multinational corporation with earnings of almost 12 billion euro’s in 2018, facilities on 6 continents and sales to over 150 countries. This puts them in a position of enormous power, especially in terms of lobbying. YARA is an important member in the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture. Despite it’s deceptive name this lobbying group does it’s best to frustrate policies which would protect and empower farmers and keep us on the path of climate collapse. Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer is an incredibly resource intensive product, using fossil gas as an ingredient as well as the fuel for the process, the Haber-Bosch process, itself. Besides being so resource intensive it also creates a vicious cycle of addiction, killing soil health and reducing the ability of the soil to sequester carbon from the air.
If you want to learn more about YARA you can check freethesoil.org , keep following our webpage for more upcoming articles about YARA and their involvement in climate chaos, or join us for our next open campaign meeting, July 16th at the Plantage Dokhuis in Amsterdam at 19:00, where we will discuss how we will focus the campaign on the Free the Soil camp and action in the coming few months.
Updates from the fourth Free the Soil plenary-
During the weekend 14-16 of June several members of ASEED traveled to the fourth plenary for Free the Soil, which took place in Luneburg Germany. There we worked on plans for the Agriculture and Climate Justice Camp and Mass Action. This location was chosen because it is relatively close to Brunsbuttel, where the camp and action will take place September 19-25, 2019.
It was made clear during this plenary that many folks involved in organizing will be travelling around to different climate camps and other summer activities to mobilize for Free the Soil. Currently it seems that there will be at least 300 people at the camp! This is the first time that Free the Soil camp and action takes place, and 300 folks seems like a pretty good start! However, of course the more the merrier, so if you haven’t been in touch with organizers in your area then do so. If you’re planning to join from the Netherlands please contact ASEED at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot on the bus. It was also decided during the plenary that a page will go up on the website which will include which groups are organizing buses from which areas. Additionally, we realized that from Hamburg it’s relatively easy to reach the area of the camp by public transportation! So in case you don’t get a spot on the bus it’s possible to head to Hamburg and then reach the camp by public transport.
Over the course of the weekend there was also work done by the outreach and mobilization working group on a video for mobilization. It involved interviewing different people from different groups about Free the Soil. This included questions from “What is Free the Soil?” to “Why Free the Soil?” to “What do climate and agricultural justice mean to you?”. The video will be released shortly, so make sure to follow the website and facebook page of either Free the Soil or ASEED.
Another bit of work that was talked through and agreed upon at the plenary in Luneburg was an awareness proposal for the camp and a proposal for timeline’s during the camp for workshops and training. This work was done by the camp program group, and they did an excellent job at it. The camp will be a place that has a focus on educating ourselves and building social networks as well as preparing for the action itself. While there will be concerts and nice moments to have fun and chill it will not be a party environment. We also hope that folks will be able to bring their children, and so we are still searching for people who would like to get involved with helping with the kids program. You can contact email@example.com to get the right contact for helping with this.
During the weekend we also got an update about the status of our crowd funding campaign through Firefund. With two more weeks to go we have about 80% of our goal reached. So if you want to help fund the camp and action please feel free to give what you can, before July 7th, and make sure that we are able to keep all the money we’ve raised so far.
The next international plenary, which will be the last before the camp and action itself, is set for August 16-18, also in Luneburg. This final plenary will have considerably less group discussions and will give priority to dedicated working group time to ensure that everything is prepared on time for the camp in September. The process working group proposed that Friday will be a day to come together, check in about what has been done and what needs to be done, and catch up with each other a bit. It is then planned that Saturday will be used as a full day for working group time, and perhaps a relevant movie screening or chill hang out moment Saturday night. Then we will have meetings again Sunday morning and early afternoon for the working groups to check in with each other and feedback to the larger group. In this way we hope that people who live far away from each other, or the area where the YARA facility is, will have enough time to make some good final plans and get some work done while in the same place!
These weekend plenary meeting are always a nice space for getting to know each other better and getting work done with folks that live far away from each other. We’ve had some small discussions about what we think Free the Soil will be after the camp, and the goal is that we can create a movement targeting Industrial Agriculture and making sure that names of those profiting off the destruction of the planet, like YARA, cannot continue to get away with it.
So use the resources from the freethesoil.org, educate yourself and say YARA as often as you can. Then join us for the camp and action and help to Shut Down YARA and Free the Soil!