More than 55 % of European farmers is over the age of 55 and wants to retire within the coming ten years. Most of them did not secure a successor yet. Currently only 7 percent of all farmers in Europe is under the age of 35 years*. However, the interest of young educated people to get involved in sustainable farming activities rises. Many of them do not descent from a farmers family and face problems to get access to land, capital and (juridical and social) assistance.
Future Farmers in the Spotlight is a film project about successful young farmers that - despite the many difficulties - have managed to set-up or to take over a sustainable farming business. Most of the farmers within the project have adopted innovative concepts to market their produce, explore niche markets, diversify economic activities, start “new” relations with consumers and make use of innovative ways to get access to land and capital (e.g. Community Supported Agriculture, Crowdfunding, etc). The short films give insight in the diversity of farming concepts developed by young people in Europe and inspire the next generation of farmers with examples of how to set up a sustainable and viable farming business that is fit for the future.
One of the young innovative farmers is the Dutch arable farmer Krispijn van den Dries (28) (picture). He is slowly taking over the 70 hectare family farm from his father. He works towards more transparency in the food chain by (re)connecting the farmer and the consumer. Together with 8 other farmers in his region he set up a postorder company where people can order fresh potatoes and vegetables over the internet.
Krispijn: “In this way I can sell my produce for reasonable price, but also the consumer saves on the price compared to what they would pay in the supermarket.” “Currently I only sell a few percent of my produce through the webshop, but in the future I hope to sell all my produce directly to the consumer.” Watch the film about Krispijn here!
Another example from the Future farmers in the Spotlight series is that of Ask Rasmussen (27) in Denmark. His farm delivers to about 25 Michelin star restaurants, including Noma - for a couple of years the worlds’ best restaurant - in Copenhagen. Next to that he also runs a vegetable box scheme where he directly supplies vegetables to the consumer. Ask: “The restaurants are particularly interested in special size vegetables, which I cannot sell through the boxscheme. I deliver for example baby cabbage leaves, small leaks, small celery but they are also very keen on the flowers of zucchini and even buy small leaves of specific weeds”. Watch the film about Ask Rasmussen here!
So far Future Farmers in the Spotlight includes inspiring stories from Ireland, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands and Norway which can be watched online. For summer and autumn 2013 film shootings are planned in Southern and Eastern European countries.
More information about Future farmers in the Spotlight:
*DG Agri 2010: Email communication, DG Agriculture and Rural Development, February 2013