Earthcare Fieldcast – a fieldcast about struggles for ecology and care

by Manuela Zechner and Bue Rübner Hansen

As we are sliding from crises of social reproduction into crises of planetary ecology, this podcast looks at our collective struggles for existence and care. From agroecology, feminist strikes and climate justice to care commons and movement infrastructures — this fieldcast tunes into ways of building autonomy and interdependence at the same time.

We listen in to the life-sustaining backwaters that produce our food, reproduce our bodies and fight to defend our common worlds and singular territories. Those are the real-but-invisible frontlines of our struggles for a desirable world — one that can hold us all and one we can hold dear. A world that allows us to mind our interdependencies and look after one another, as well as to build forms of collective power.

In this fieldcast, we learn about world-making from those who care for territories and ecosystems, look after bodies and communities, build movement infrastructures, and blockade, occupy and strike for earth and care.. We listen into tactics and strategies in the struggle against the destruction of social and natural ecologies, and learn about infrastructures and networks that enable movements to learn, care and resist.

Episode 1: What is Earthcare?

In this first episode, we present the twin concepts of earthcare and fieldcasting in two short conversations with environmental justice scholar Stefania Barca and cooperative farmworker Tobias at Ochsenherz, Austria.

We speak with Stefania Barca about the concept of “earthcare labour” which she explores in her recent book The Forces of Reproduction, and we discuss definitions and avenues for thinking about social reproduction and environmental struggles. What is earthcare labour? Who are its subjects and workers? And what perspectives for organizing and alliances does it open — both transversally and translocally?

For our second conversation we’re joined by Tobias, a worker of the Ochsenherz solidarity farm outside Vienna in Austria. Recorded in the farm’s vegetable fields, it explores community supported agriculture and its perspectives on transformation and social reproduction.

This first episode sets us up nicely for what’s coming up next in our future shows: reports and reflections on agroecology and La Via Campesina in Europe, feminist campesina pedagogies, feminist & climate strikes, as well as analyses and fieldcasts from the frontlines of climate struggle and infrastructural blockades.

Episode 2: Peasant Farmers Organization and Land in Romania: Ecoruralis

In this episode we speak to Attila Szocs of Ecoruralis, a 14,000 member-strong peasant farmer organization in Romania that is part of La Via Campesina Europe. The first part of this episode explores the work of Ecoruralis at the community level: their seed house, peasant-to-peasant knowledge exchanges, local production and distribution networks, Ecoruralis’ approach to agroecology and organization, and the horizon for strengthening rural feminism.

The second part of this episode is dedicated to the broader dynamics of land grabs and how they affect peasants, triggering dynamics of displacement and migration as well as campaigns against the financialization of land and for the defense of agricultural land. We learn of Ecoruralis’ ways of slowly building collective power and amplifying the voice of peasants, in the complex historical and social context of Romania, rich in peasant knowledge and practice.

Episode 3: Feminist Organizing across Migrant Agricultural and Care Work

This episode features conversations with the Austrian Sezonieri and Swiss Widerstand am Tellerrand campaigns for the rights of seasonal agricultural workers. How to organize with the migrant workers who do life-sustaining labors on temporary regimes? How can unions be pushed to take this seriously?

This is the first episode in a two-part series that focuses on the connections between migrant labor struggles in agriculture and care: working conditions, strategies and networks of organizing and struggle and the kinds of feminist pedagogies that make this organizing so powerful. Care and agriculture have been deemed “essential” work and much applauded during the pandemic, yet continue to be part of highly exploitative, alienated and toxic labor and production regimes.

In this episode, we trace the strengths, alliances and feminist underpinnings of two campaigns that struggle for better conditions in industrial agriculture, building synergies with agroecology and feminism.

Episode links

Episode 4: Jornaleras en lucha: antiracist & feminist social syndicalism

In this episode we hear about the antiracist and feminist self-organization and grassroots-union-building of the Jornaleras de Huelva en Lucha (“Huelva women day labourers in struggle”). They are women working in industrial berry production in southern Spain who push for better conditions, social rights and ecological transition. They build vital mutual aid, solidarity and alliances with other struggles, in the face of unions who don’t recognize them, and bosses who exploit them as workers, women and migrants. How can we imagine and push for ecosocial transition that develops a different relation to land, labour and community? Why and how are labour struggles in industrial agriculture important for our imaginatires of agroecological futures? Why can’t we do without alliances between anticacism, feminism and ecology? Anna and Nahat from the Jornaleras en Lucha have a lot to report. We translated their interview from Spanish into English for this episode.

Episode Links:

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Illustration: Many thanks to Amanda Priebe (copyright)