I’m a ‘new peasant’ farmer and member of ‘Eco Ruralis’. My partner and I produce vegetables and fruit for restaurants, food hubs and private customers, part-time. I aim to open a CSA in 2021. We work 0.5 ha (we own 0.2 ha) in an agroecological way. We built our home from straw-bales produced in the village and are interested in appropriate technology methods for farming and living. I envision more small farmers coming to the market as direct sales, shortening chains, and using local seed varieties that are well adapted to draughts and climate change.

Challenges include access to land, access to relevant training on farm, climate issues, low food prices, income gap and increased poverty, little labour availability (low incomes in agriculture), EU-funds leaked to non-food-producers (landowners, not active farmers), lack of processing capacity catered to smaller farmers, bureaucratic burden, unfair competition from industrial agriculture and retail sector.

I’d like to see cooperation within sectors for better bargaining power. It needs to be gender-balanced and inter-generational – so young farmers can benefit from the knowledge and experience of others. Policy changes need to stimulate young farmers to enter agroecological production over industrial and incentivise farm-transfer.