By Zachary Daly – exchange student at Wageningen University from Guelp University, Canada.
It’s always nice to be able to actually go out and see real-world examples of what you are studying and reading about in class. During the course Globalisation and Sustainability of Food Production and Consumption we had the opportunity to visit some farms. As such it was very interesting to see and talk to two organic farmers that are involved in alternative food provisioning networks, but work in a quite different way. The first farmer, Gerrit Marsman, has a mixed farm called De Eerste with a cheese factory and home delivery service, employing about 10 persons. He was ideologically very dedicated to what he was doing, talking about the madness of the global trade in feed and food, the health problems that the use of chemicals in agriculture cause, and the problem of a short-term and money-oriented economy leading to financial crisis. The second farmer, Rene de Lange, appeared to be less ideological motivated and more pragmatic. His family owns has a brand new farm with milking sheep in national park De Weerribben, a protected landscape of high cultural and natural value. A high milk production per sheep is important to him and his wife, as well as a hygiene-proof processing unit to make cheese, yoghurt, and ‘feta’. They market their products under the label of Weerribben Schapenzuivel (sheep dairy), through a wholesaler, to organic food shops all over The Netherlands, and even for export.