My family have been farmers for all known generations. My older brother continues my parents’ organic farm. I started my own, on an abandoned old farm, with my teacher-wife and 3 children. We milk 100 goats, breed small-scale pigs (10 females), grow 0.5 ha vegetables and 0.2ha strawberries. We sell to local restaurants, organic sellers and in our own shop in Brugge.
In our shop we sell the products of 30 local farmers, which means we can sell all year-round. A big group of farmers is a supermarket on its own.
Challenges include the weather, access to water and missing hands to help on our farms. I’d like the possibility to rent ground, a smart-water vision which keeps water close to our fields and a fair sharing of financial support. Farming should be an appreciated job with a basic income. There should be support rather than control policy on manure, animal welfare and management.
I hope the future prioritises fields before machines. Young farmers can make sustainable farms and field-practices, learning how to diversify instead of growing and specialisation. We can make farms without walls, open to the local community.