Farmers are at the heart of many, essential societal challenges. They not only produce our food, feed, fuel and fibers with an historically small number of people (from 70-80% a few ages ago to 30 % around the 1950ies to less than 5 % now). The challenges are huge and range from social issues like a liveability of rural areas and succession, to economic risks and poor revenues, to climate, soil, water and biodiversity related issues.
At SAI Platform we have tried to understand and help address these challenges, well intended but often from an outside-in perspective. Although some people may think differently, it's not easy to do it otherwise from the perspective of a big buying company.
But what do we need to do to rethink our food system? A system that can last and is good for the ones who work in it. In the first place it needs the farmers'view. Their stories need to be heard, shared and understood to find the practical feasible answers to a challenge in the foodsystem that affects us all. I am going out to listen....
The Dutch Agro Newspaper 'De Boerderij' published the above on Jan 5.
How?: I am travelling through Western Europe, from the Netherlands to the South of Spain to visit all kinds of farmers. And all that on my bicycle.
In January, I started a journey from farmer to farmer. I ask to stay for one night and have a conversation about the way they work, live and see their lives change. How has their farm changed and what will it look like in the future, in 5 or 20 years? What do they need to keep producing, not only their farm products, but so much more... landscapes, biodiversity, 'carbon-sinks', employment? How do we develop an agriculture that supports farmers to do all this?
The Belgium Farmers website VILT published the artikel below (Jan 17)
and (Feb 2)
A 3000 km bike ride from farmer to farmer,
from my home in the Netherland to the South of Spain.
Start of the trip: 5 January 2018
End of the trip: 11 March 2018
Number of farmers that I have visited: >35 farmers
Below you find my most recent day trip!
The whole 3000 km depends on the hospitality of farmers and willingness to share their stories. And of course on my legs and language.