Stuttgart has been the breadbasket of Rheinland since 100 years after settlement. Over time, its farmers formed a powerful union, named the WVS. The organization successfully lobbied the Rheinland government to subsidize Stuttgart agriculture for hundreds of years. With the end of the 80-Years War in 680 AS, however, the subsidies were no longer tenable.
In a secret deal during the war, the Rheinland government borrowed huge sums from Liberty. Facing default on their loans, they were forced to offer something to House Liberty. Synth Foods wanted complete access to Stuttgart, which Rheinland granted in exchange for renegotiated debt repayment terms. Immediately the Liberty Food giant moved in, buying out huge numbers of nearly bankrupt Stuttgart farmers. Much of Stuttgart was converted into vast expanses of the bio-engineered mono-crops of Synth Foods.
The government backed the foreign company wholeheartedly and looked the other way as Synth Foods used unscrupulous business practices to further consolidate its control over Stuttgart. Remaining independent farmers were forced to buy all of their Fertilizers and seeds from Synth Foods and sell all of their production to them at low fixed rates -- prices that were designed to squeeze the maximum out of the farmer and shift all risk away from Synth Foods.
The once proud Stuttgart farmers were reduced to indentured servants. Inexorably, Synth Foods assimilated the bulk of the planet’s arable land, dutifully paying its Rheinland federal taxes and feeding the bribe machine in New Berlin. The WVS tried to fight back legally in the courts but soon discovered that their influence had been sold to a higher bidder. Finally, in what some called an act of desperation, the more radical elements of the WVS left Stuttgart and founded the Landwirtrechtbewegung -- farmers rights movement -- simply referred to as the LWB.
LWB built a small depot called Darmstadt within the Ostnebel. This serves as a base for operations targeted at Synth Foods convoys within Rheinland space. The Red Hessians also use it as way station along their route to Omega-11. The “war” has been going on for 25 years now, and both sides claim to be winning -- although Synth Foods now controls 90 percent of the planet’s agriculture vs. 60 percent just three decades ago.