Small-scale producers are feeding the future

Small farmers' demo outside DEFRA offices

Yesterday (April 17th) 100 farmers and growers from the Landworkers’ Alliance travelled to London from around the country to protest outside the head offices of DEFRA and the National Farmers Union.

Under the leadership of Owen Patterson over the past two years DEFRA has strengthened its support of large-scale industrial agriculture and marginalized smaller producers, while the NFU has consistently lobbied for the interests of agribusiness and ignored the views of smaller farmers.

The land workers’ Alliance want to see small-scale producers put at the heart of decision making in agricultural policy.

“DEFRA needs to recognise the role of small-scale producers in contributing to the national food economy, as well as the environmental and social services provided by these producers,” says Ed Hamer from the LWA.  “As a matter of urgency we demand that DEFRA create policies conducive to a sustainable food future for all.”

The demonstration took place in solidarity with the April 17th – The International Day of Peasant Struggles. A global day of action called by La Via Campesina, the international union of peasant farmers which has over 200 million members worldwide.

Small farmers' demo outside DEFRA offices

(Above) The Landworkers’ Alliance catch Owen Patterson in bed with agribusiness.

Callout: Grow Heathrow is under threat of eviction

Resistance is fertile.

Over the last three years, more than 2000 people have travelled to our squatted off-grid community garden. We took direct action to squat land blocking Heathrow’s third runway because it has now become necessary to break the law to prevent climate crimes like airport expansion, fracking and George Osborne’s dash for gas. We were described as “the heart of the village” by the BBC, “inspirational” by the local MP and “a deterrent for crime” by local police. The Guardian got a bit carried away when it called us “squat-topia”. That’s a bit over-eager. Calm down; it’s just a thriving example of food autonomy. A little local slice of Brazil’s Landless Peasants’ Movement (MST).

Amid chilling threats of a third and fourth runway, Grow Heathrow is under threat of eviction, possibly in summer or autumn 2013. Although we continue to offer to buy the land, the landowner seems to prefer bailiffs to dialogue. We’re asking for bold spirits to occupy Grow Heathrow during these busy summer months. We urgently need help to quickly make a safer space.

We have 11 guest beds, 13 sofas, floor space and enough camping ground for 500 people. When you’re living here, you’ll be skipping, cooking and taking part in our non-hierarchical decisions, as well as taking part in the reasons we’re here – growing food, sharing skills freely, and welcoming newcomers to off-grid living and direct action. Cycle, hitch to J4 M4 or get the train to West Drayton or Hounslow West and then the 222 bus to Harmondsworth Lane. transitionheathrow.com/directions

Get down here to Grow Heathrow, Vineries Close, Sipson, London UB7 0JH

Tell your friends, forward to your networks, and if you have any questions we’re here for you on 07890751568 or info@transitionheathrow.com

We can’t wait to see you here – come soon.

transitionheathrow.com | @transheathrow | Facebook | info@transitionheathrow.com | 07890751568

Grow Heathrow - eviction callout