Unused farm land occupied in Vienna


On Saturday, May 4th activists of the initiative „Solidarity Agriculture“, in short SoliLa!, occupied some farm land in the 21st district in Vienna, which was not cultivated or used in another way for years.

On Saturday, May 4th activists of the initiative „Solidarity Agriculture“, in short SoliLa!, occupied some farm land in the 21st district in Vienna, which is owned by the fund for housing construction and urban renewal of the City of Vienna and leased to a private person, that has not cultivated it or used it in another way for years. In the long-term the area is designated for construction purposes.

After the occupation, the leaseholder called the police but was told that an eviction was possible on Monday at the earliest. So the occupiers began to prepare the occupied land for a long-term stay, they set up a small camp and began to plant vegetables. On Monday they were given a 24 hours-ultimatum to leave by the fund, otherwise it threatens to let the police evict the occupation.

On May 6th the occupiers released a press statement, that is loosely translated in its main parts below:
" Since Sunday May 4th about 100 landless, students and activists are occupying fallow land in Donaufeld, Wien-Floridsdorf, which is belonging to the Wohnfonds Wien.

„This fertile land, which was cultivated by small market gardens for decades, is to be used as a building area. The creation of a local solidary agriculture is our alternative draft to the current urban planning.“ declares Jana, a landless gardener.

„Solidarisch Landwirtschaften!“, in short SoliLa!, the initiative founded by the occupiers is critisizing that it is absurd in times of „peak oil“ and „peak soil“ to use fertile land for building purposes. Agriculture in Vienna, as in rural areas too, is affected by two tendencies: the loss of agricultural soil, as well as the decline in the number of farmers and land concentration.

In Austria 20 hectares of agricultural land are lost every day irrecoverably to construction and traffic purposes. In Vienna this has led to the loss of 20 % of the agricultural space in the years between 1999 and 2010. The number of farms has declined from 1.200 to about 550 from 1995 to 2010. […]

Europe-wide the same trend can be observed. A recently publicized study documents that only 3 % of all farms in the EU control about 50 % of the agriculturally used area. This land concentration is promoted and pushed on by the system of agricultural subsidies, hence by public funds.

So also agriculture in Vienna is pushed to the principle of profit maximization, where only the most competitive agricultural businesses should remain as it is specified in the planning of the agricultural structure developement. […] SoliLa makes its stand against this developement and points out an alternative. […]

„The occupation is not directed against affordable housing. Quite the contrary we are asking how affordable living is possible without the loss of agricultural soil. The rising need for housing space is accompanied by vacancies of about 80.000 flats and many thousands of empty office spaces“, so Markus, a student of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) and activist in the Right To The City-movement. […]

Profit-orientated housing policy not only necessarily leads to vacancies, but also to the loss of agricultural land for building purposes. Therefore SoliLa! as a part of the The Right to the City-network demands not only the access to the land to those who (are willing to) work the land but also the access to affordable housing for all. […]

SoliLa! wants to preserve the occupied soil as agricultural soil and to establish a small-structured, sustainable food production in line with requirements. The many involved people are working together on the lasting cultivation of the soil since May 4th and invite all neighbours and interested people to participate.

For the Right to the City and food sovereignty!"

(reblogged from transition-europe.org)

Posted By

May 7 2013 15:09


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Caiman del Barrio
May 7 2013 15:38

Nice! I'm actually in Vienna next week, will pop down & visit assuming it's still live.