*** Please circulate widely ***
Reclaim the Fields Gathering – 13th – 18th of March – Grow Heathrow, London, U.K.
Arrive in the evening of the 13th of March
Departure in the morning of the 18th of March
Arrive earlier for preparation of the meeting, or stay longer to clean up and join P.E.D.A.L. workshops of storytelling, creative disobedience, legal, and the Occupation of Palestine – 19th and 20th of March. P.E.D.A.L. starts their 100 day cycle to the West Bank on the 21st of March from Grow Heathrow. For more info see article.
- Planning for the Summer Camp 2011
- Round of introductions. Our collectives, our projects, our struggles, our hopes
- Planning for RTF International Days of action for 17th and 18th of April
- Access to Land
- Food autonomy
- Website and Communications
- Beet the System
- Farmers network
(ideas till now, contributions welcome)
- Presentation on history and politics of RTF by ?
- Consensus workshop run by UK collective Seeds for Change (http://www.seedsforchange.org.uk/)
- Resistance eviction training (tunneling, tree houses, scaffolding towers, emotional support) by Grow Heathrow
- Seed swap
- Practicals at the collective (seed sowing, raised bed-making, structures and defence building)
- Movie evening open to public with presentation of RTF
- Collective direct action
What can you do? What to bring?
- Spread this information to food growers outside the RTF constellation- build the network!
- Prepare a workshop/input
- Bring RTF-related movies and also fun ones (like Kung Fu Panda)
- Bring your own seeds and delicious food from your regions
- Bring warm clothes, waterproofs, a cosy sleeping bag, a thermomat, and a tent!
- Some indoor sleeping space is available but nearly everyone will be sleeping in tents amongst ancient greenhouses being reclaimed by nature)
- We have indoor meeting spaces.
- Bring swimwear if you’re brave! – we have a lake nearby but will be cold in March!
- ZInes and publications for an InfoStall
Grow Heathrow is a squatted community garden in the heart of Sipson- one of the five villages surrounding Heathrow airport- which is one of the largest pieces of carbon-emitting infrastructure in the UK.
For fifty years Heathrow airport has been expanding more and more to the detriment of local people’s lives. From noise and air pollution to the plans of a third runway that would mean the destruction of 700 homes, a school, a cemetery and an ancient barn house.
One year ago a group of friends who had been living in the area, and fighting with the community to stop the third runway, swooped on an abandoned market garden that had turned into a dumping site by the owners.
Our intention was to turn it into a thriving permaculture site and community hub as part of a sustainable future for the Heathrow communities and to take a piece of land on the planned runway to defend it.
Soon after we started work on the site the UK government dropped the plans for the Third Runway. It was down to the hard fight of the local people and we all partied in the greenhouses to celebrate.
Over the year we have cleared 30 tonnes of rubbish from the site, repaired the main greenhouses, held permaculture courses and banquets, film nights, and conker championships. During the summer we had a flourishing harvest of delicious fruit and vegetables which we would put in large collective meals, and give to our friends in the community.
Our collective works by consensus to question authority in our own organizing and to create the world we want to see. We do this in the way we live on the land and want to build a beacon at Grow Heathrow of ecological living.
We have fun together- singing songs by the fire, raiding supermarket bins at night, swimming in the lake during the summer and exploring the wilderness around our site of underground war shelters, crumbling greenhouses and following wild horses!
We are inspired by the idea of Occupy, Create, Resist. To take land back that is misused for profit of the few, to create the worlds we want to see in our space, and to resist when the courts, the state, and the landlords try to take it away from us.
We have just found out that we have our next court date in November, and so we are very excited to host you as we begin our second growing season in the greenhouses- and look forward to share with the network again and make a bright star as part of the constellation.
How to reach us
There is a map on our website
With public transport from London:
from Central London: Go to Paddington Railway station (on the Circle tube line) and take a 20 minute train jounrey to West Drayton.
From West Drayton either take the 222 bus towards Hounslow and get off in Sipson Village or follow the cycle path towards Sipson. Our site is a 1 minute walk from the King William Pub which is in the middle of town.
Our address is Grow Heathrow, Vineries Close, Sipson, West Drayton, UB7 0JG
E-mail us with the direction you are coming from and we can give you detailed directions.
0044 7890751568 (Site phone)
UK Proposal to host the next RTF assembly and a UK gathering on 13th- 18th March. Grow Heathrow.
In the UK we have told our stories from the beautiful trip to Austria – of the network, the strategies and skills, the new friends, the constellation, botanjo, and the future actions we take together. There is a lot of good energy in the UK for Reclaim the Fields – people are excited – and in Scotland there have also been RTF meetings happening.
We would like to propose to host the next RTF gathering in March- in the UK at Grow Heathrow- 20 minutes train journey out of London.
Originally we discussed it in November and decided not to propose to host the gathering- and then after the Hungarian collective sent word that they are unlikely to be able to host- we have re-discussed it and a lot of people think it’s an excellent idea and want to help organize it.
Here are some the reasons why and ideas how:
Why a UK assembly?
- In the UK there are many autonomous growing spaces sprouting all the time. RTF would be a great network to build here, something that can link the projects in the UK to each other and across borders with similar people from around the world. We think RTF UK has the potential to be a strong, resilient and creative part of the movement- feeding into and from the skills and experience of various land based counted culture projects growing in the UK at the moment.
- After a cold winter Grow Heathrow turns to its second growing season. We have big plans after our first run last year- and the project would definitely benefit from the skills, knowledge and energy of the network coming to stay in Heathrow, and preparing for the new growing season.
- The court case is still active and we are still fighting the possibility of eviction. We have some months left and for RTF to come to our garden it would really boost our campaign and benefit the community we work with. We want to show the bigger picture of what we do in Heathrow- and show it is happening in all kinds of places! Bringing people from across Europe will be a great way to do that.
- The P.E.D.A.L. bike ride, a 100 day cycle trip from the UK to Palestine, is leaving Grow Heathrow on March 21st. P.E.D.A.L. is a living, breathing, cycling tool-kit visiting communities of resistance to share stories, skills and strategies on it’s 100 day journey from the UK to Palestine. It will be supporting the call-out from Palestine civil society for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, and working in solidarity with popular resistance movements in Palestine and Israel, focusing on Environmental Justice issues such as access to land, water and seeds. The journey will join the dots of counter-cultures from the UK to Palestine, building a map of resistance communities as a resource for the popular Palestinian and Israeli resistance movements, and the wider global justice movement. Some Grow Heathrow folk will be going on the ride and working with permaculture projects and farmers in Palestine when they arrive in the West Bank. PEDAL will be visiting collective farms along the way and we think it will be a great opportunity to send messages of solidarity, stories of hope and ideas for networking with groups through Europe to the Middle East. There will be a seed bank being carried on the ride to share seeds across the communities PEDAL visits and what better way to start that at the RTF gathering!
How a UK assembly
To launch the UK RTF we would host a UK food growers gathering for two days before the RTF assembly began. This would be aimed at introducing the network to the many people who do not know RTF and may not know each other. After our experience in Austria we think this would be a great way for people in the UK to learn and understand, and also meet people from the network. We think it would inspire the UK network to be launched high into space and create a new strong star in the constellation. After those two days of network building we would go into the assembly proper with the working groups meeting to discuss and progress. RTF people would be welcome at the UK food growers gathering but could choose to come for the assembly only if they wanted to do so.
When a UK assembly
We propose the dates of the 13th of March to the 18th of March- with people arriving on the evening of the 13th and with discussions and workshops finishing for the party on the 17th, so people can leave on the 18th if they want- or stay for the weekend workshops for PEDAL: storytelling, popular education, creative disobedience, Israeli and Palestinian speakers.
RTF are invited to bring bikes and start the cycle with PEDAL too! PEDAL will be leaving on the 21st of March.
With UK RTF, Europe-wide RTF and P.E.D.A.L. we think it will create a very interesting space to build new
affinities, share ideas and find shared space to work together.
We have large spaces to host big meetings at Grow Heathrow- and also the option of the community hall if we need more room. There are two cabins to sleep in (although not as beautiful as Wieserhoisl!) but most people would have to bring tents and sleep in the huge areas of wilderness around the site. A chance to dream amongst ancient greenhouses being reclaimed by nature.
We have a large dining room to accommodate many people and we often cook for large numbers. We can arrange marquees and large tents for additional meeting space.
We can organise a great party.
Grow Heathrow is 20 minutes on a train from Paddington station in London- so the journey is not so hard if you can get to the Capital city.
Much love to mainland Europe from our winter island
The UK constellation