The Future Farmers Movement is a mainly volunteer driven grassroots initiative: for future farmers by future farmers. It is furthermore supported by engaged students, citizens, researchers and activists. These people are currently active in the movement:
My first contact with animal husbandry was the goat I got as a birthday present on my first anniversary. After high school I continued my interest for animals by studying Animal Science at the Wageningen University. I did learn and do many things those six years in Wageningen, except working with animals. It felt sudden when I graduated and I had to start to think about the future. I wanted to be a farmer, but I did not learn how to do that. I then broadened my view and thoughts about the world and how people treat our planet as if it is something to take from without giving back. At this moment, my life is taking a route of which I’m very content about. As coordinator of Foundation Farmers Group, I organize excursion to farms and lecture/debates about agriculture for mainly students whereby I wish to stimulate the exchange of knowledge and ideas amongst farmers, students and other stakeholders and stimulate them to develop a critical attitude towards their ideas on (current) agriculture and food. Besides this, I am studying biodynamic agriculture at Warmonderhof as I would finally like to learn how to work with animals and to understand agriculture and sustainability, before starting my own farm.
I started my M.Sc. Biology at the Wageningen University because of my love for nature. There, I became interested in the ‘how to feed the world’ debate and so I decided to complement my study with a social M.Sc. Rural Development. Ever since, it became my passion to link natural science with social science, theory from the university with the reality of the farmers, as well as diving into underlying political strategies related to ‘food power': the use of agriculture as a means of political control. I put my knowledge into practice during my year in Asia, where I have worked with farmers and NGOs towards sustainable local food production. Back in the Netherlands, I co-organised the Farm Experience Internship, started working in an organic garden and took a permaculture course to gain more knowledge for my future farm where I’d like to work part-time, with a group of people and my dog You can make me happy with Bossa Nova, long walks through the forest, camp fires and potluck dinners.
Joris van der Kamp
I studied soil science and sustainable land use at Wageningen University. I developed my love for farming in the vegetable garden and while volunteering on an organic dairy farm. Going into the field in the early morning, accompanied by the dogs, to collect the cows for milking, I loved it! In the year 2012, I co-founded the initiative Future Farmers in the Spotlight – a film initiative which aims to inform and inspire the next generation of sustainable farmers across Europe. In my future farm – where I hope to farm part-time – I would like to build a diverse agro-forestry system (with nuts) and keep several types of animals underneath the trees. I furthermore have a passion for restoring soil health and for composting. I am founding member of the Future Farmers Movement. If you want to make me happy, you should bring me a piece of good goat cheese!
“Why did we send you studying?” My grandmother asked when I told her for the first time that I want to become a farmer. I studied Geography and Environmental Sciences in Berlin and Wageningen (NL). After my studies I worked for a couple of years in the field of Life-Cycle-Assessment, when I realised that a life in front of the computer writing reports was not what I desired to do. I did a part-time training in biodynamic farming at the Warmonderhof (NL) and worked on a range of of bio-dynamic and organic farms. I am one of the initiators of Future Farmers in the Spotlight: a film project which aims to inspire the next generation of young farmers across Europe. Currently I am busy finding land to realise my dream to finally FARM!
Farming never crossed my mind: high school brought me to university, where I was trained to talk about things and work on computers on ideas. The only real product I learned to make was a powerpoint presentation. I wanted to make something real, to create. For me, this was also the best argument when discussing the future of agriculture: “If I believe agriculture should look a certain way, I might as well create it myself!” I dream of farming in different places at the same time, being flexible and resilient just as my crops and animals. “Managing a movable fence with chickens, part time milking cows, growing pick-your-own organic vegetables, doing some land preparation work (by horse? by solar power?) for others, I love it….”
Leonardo van den Berg
I am the son of Dutch and Brazilian parents, proud father of a three year old and a newborn boy and husband to a beautiful lady farmer. After growing up in Brazil and later in Mozambique, I sought meaning in a wide range of studies and ended up graduating in Organic Agriculture and later in Development Sociology at the Wageningen University. Real meaning, however, I only found by working on farms and in the months spent with family farmers in South Africa, Brazil and Europe. With these experiences at heart and a bag of theory in mind I began to work for a few NGO’s and in research, where I’m engaged with the continuous challenge and quest of connecting the realities of agroecological family farmers to that of social movements, policy and science. With future farmers I hope to be able to contribute to creating inspiration and solidarity with future farmers.
Since an early age I got fascinated by nature and the environment. By getting more aware of environmental issues, it made no sense to me that agriculture, while offering life to people (through nourishment – food) was at the same time threatening the life of the planet itself. This made it clear for me that a new agricultural paradigm is needed in order that sustainability is achieved. Thus, I decided after my B.Sc. in Crop Science to continue my studies with a M.Sc. in Organic Agriculture and Agroecology. I have realized internships in different farms; spending time in the field and feeling the soil in my hands is what makes me happy. My lifelong dream is to have my own organic farm where I will be able to grow the food that I eat and share it with others through a C.S.A. scheme. I envision a world where farmers are viewed not only as producers, but also as stewards of the environment and nature, and where agriculture is viewed as a life sustaining practice rather than a production industry. I look forward that future farmers can make this a reality.
When studying agricultural sciences in the south west of France, I realised that mainstream ‘conventional’ practices didn’t make sense to me. I also learnt that there were alternatives. For a few years, I advised farmers on agri-environment schemes in the north of Scotland. It was an opportunity to help improve land management to support biodiversity. The downside was spending too much time in the office. So I went WWOOFing, to share the lives of organic farmers living their dreams and try activities like growing strawberries in the Arctic and shepherding goats in Italy. I really enjoyed being physically active, the contact with plants and animals, working with enthusiastic people, and eating real food. Then last year I went back to university in Wales to learn about agroforestry, looking for a way to reconnect agriculture to the environment. My long-term dream is to be able to produce my own food, sustainably.
My name is Vincent Garin, I am 29 years old I come from Geneva Switzerland and I am actually doing a PhD in statistical genetics at Wageningen University. Until I was 25 I have not been particularly interested in agriculture. However, one summer I had the opportunity to participate to Bergeinsatz. This project aimed at providing help to mountain farmers who experience some problems. During three weeks I discovered the difficulties of this work but also many amazing things like strong human relationships, solidarity, and the beauty of an activity seeking for the right equilibrium between human and nature. Since there, it is always a great pleasure to go back to the beautiful Swiss mountains to support very nice and humble people during summer holidays. Working actually on a more technical side of agriculture (the goal of my PhD is to develop applications for plant breeding), I have the opportunity to understand the influence of science, technique and machines on agricultural processes. In my opinion, the way we can manage this influence to preserve a “human size” agriculture is probably one of the biggest challenge addressed to this field.