Sept 2, 2016
Dear farmers in Blois and the rest of the world,
I want to let you know that I am ‘with you’ today. I am a citizen of The Hague. I am a woman,with a family and I am very much aware of the importance of your cause today. I am worried. What happened to us all to be so far out of reach of each other? How can it be possible that I, as a consumer, do no longer know where my food grew? How is it possible that I have no idea who grew my food?
One of you was the one that stood up very early to sow my grains for breakfast, and our veggies for dinner. You are the ones that took care of it for at least a half year.. You are the ones that not only takes care of my food now, but also look forward and take care of the soil, so we all are assured that there will still be food for many years and generetions…
How can it be possible then, that you, ‘our feeders’ cannot have an income that is sufficient to live a healthy life? That you feel forced to raise productivity, again and again? While it becomes clearer and clearer that it’s not about raising productivity. That only brings prices down and is a danger for the fertility of our soils, our landscapes and our personal health…
Therefore, I want to let you know that I deeply sympathise with your cause. EU-policy should make space for new possibilities. Possibilities to produce and live from the yield, instead of living from fragile subsidies. Possibilities to become independent farmers again, proud of the work you do: feeding us.
As a citizen of The Hague I do my best to change our connections from my consumer-end of the foodchain. I am a member of a local short food supply chain. We buy our vegetables from farmers in the vicinity of The Hague and pay them a fair share. I contribute to spread these ideas, I hope our group of consumers will grow very fast, so we can buy so much food from you, farmers, that it is a serious part of your income.
I know this is not all that needs to be done. Therefore I am glad you are there in Blois today, remembering us, telling us of your problems. I believe we have to work together to change the situation. The EU policy, unfortunately, is only the final piece of the New we can build together. The policy is build on national goals focused on economic gains. What we need now is a focus on foodconnections, because food feeds us, money doesn’t. I hope we will find our ways to work together in this cause, to stand up as local and global neighbours in unity, and grow new healthy arrangements to feed each other.
With this letter, I want to let you know that my heart is with you, there today in Blois. I hope we will find and encourage each other in many ways.
Food at the heart of the city
This letter is my answer to the call to mobilize on September 2 in Blois. This day the European Ministers of Agriculture were invited by Stéphane Le Foll to meet in Château de Chambord. The agricultural world is experiencing an unprecedented crisis. Concerning the dairy crisis, studies show that a collective decline in production, made possible by European regulations (WTO Article 221), would allow a significant increase in prices. Foodsouvereignity is a cause of farmers and citizens.