Meet the Dutch farmers

Meet the Dutch Farmers Meet Henk, Djûke and Boy. Three Dutch farmers who will travel to Terra Madre - We Feed The Planet. They all joined in the Youth Food Movement Academy, a program of six months in which participants dive into the world of food, production and consumption. They work with the different food products: meat, milk and fruit, but every one of them stresses the importance of the production process and of sharing their knowledge in Milan.

Let's present our first delegate: Henk Huijge. Henk works on his parents’ farm called the ‘Eemlandhoeve’, where they take care of 50 cattle. This farm is not just a ‘meat factory’. Also, they have special activities to bridge the gap between consumers and farmers. During the YFM Academy (in which he joined in 2014) and during following-ups with Slow Food, Henk was surprised to see people with so enthusiasm talking, working and discussing about good and fair food. Henk: “From my agricultural studies I was used to talk with farmers who didn’t look any further than their own meadow, and who almost never thought about doing something else with their products than they normally do. That’s why I will go to Milan. The Slow Food community brings together people with new ideas. There I can meet new people and exchange my knowledge of farming and programming with others.”

Djûke van der Maat is our second delegate and she is also working in the agriculture sector. She owns a fruit trading company, and, in 2015, one year after Henk, she participated in the YFM Academy as well. The knowledge she gained in this educational program, she now uses in her presentations and workshops about sustainable agriculture. What she wants to get out of Terra Madre Giovani – We Feed the Planet? She hopes to get answers to the questions ‘How can we feed 9 billion people in 2050?' and 'How can we make the food system more sustainable?’ Her own answer to the question ‘What do you want to achieve in the near future?’ is relating to these questions as well: “I hope that people, especially non-farmers, from my region will visit our farm and will get a more realistic view on food production. I think that this is too much distorted at the moment, because of ignorance and untruths being told.”

Also Boy Griffioen, a dairy farmer, cheese maker and sound engineer, is one of the Dutch delegates. His father had a traditional dairy farm, which Boy continued but turned into an ecological one. Also, he set up a cheese factory and shop. Why going to Milan is important for him? “In the food industry people talk a lot about how to produce food, but in such a conversation often the people, who really produce the food, are not involved, or people do not speak about it openly. Farmers are essential in such discussions as well. They are the ones who give meaning to the products and who love to work in agriculture, but this is sometimes easily forgotten by the people who come up with new plans to produce even more food.” Boy is looking for a better coherence between city, nature and the farmer. “I am researching if we can use the waste, that otherwise ends up as trash, can be re-used. I think that closing the gap between the production and consumption is one of the great challenges for feeding people in the future.”

See you in Milan!

Hidde, Youth Food Movement Nederland