Youth and agriculture: Part of a positive trend by Klarien Klingen

Klarien Klingen at the farm/Photo: Farming Matters

Klarien Klingen at the farm/Photo: Farming Matters

While I was studying at university and working at an NGO I started to develop a vision about sustainable farming. Then I realised that having an opinion about it is nice, but how about actually doing it? I decided I wanted to learn to farm.

At the Warmonderhof organic farming school in the Netherlands, where I am currently doing a two-year course, I have met many people with the same dream. Young people, men and women (about half of the students are female), people switching careers, people who also have another job, and people who already farm. All of them want to practise sustainable agriculture. Meeting them and hearing about their passion for farming is encouraging, as it often seems as if the rest of the world thinks you are crazy if you want to become a farmer.

Gaining practical knowledge on sustainable farming inspires me and my fellow students. We learn to integrate crop rotation, livestock keeping, green manuring, agrobiodiversity, horticulture and arable farming. We also learn to think about the position of the farmer, as we need to be able to sustain our lives as a farmer. We are part of a movement of farmers and consumers who can do things differently. When combining the super-sophisticated functions of nature with clever human solutions and creativity, the possibilities are endless. Think about it: invisible micro-organisms transform dead plant material into fertile soil. If only you provide them with what they like most (a well balanced mix of air, water, and plant materials) they will even do it faster for you!

And also: only water, sunlight, and soil is needed to make plants grow. Nature will just “give” us fruit, vegetables, fibre, fodder, shelter, clean water and biodiversity… All we have to do is take care of her! It is no longer a matter of calculating inputs and outputs and exploiting the natural resources; it is about inventing new connections between consumers and producers, and about working creatively with nature to enjoy the fruits of these processes.

In the global context of scale enlargement, pollution, zoonotic diseases, and the bankruptcy of conventional farming, this alternative approach can make agriculture viable and attractive again for a new generation of farmers. A total of seven farmers stop farming every day in the Netherlands. At the same time, the number of Warmonderhof students doubles each year. It feels great to be a part of that shift. I am so curious to see what our future farms will look like!

Full Story as it appeared on Farming matters

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About kalusam

I am a graduate of Agriculture with options in Soil Science and Meteorology from Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike- Nigeria. I am the lead Agribusiness consultant at Agritechnovate Solutions Entreprises. I have underwent several trainings, conferences and studies in Agriculture and entrepreneurship with University of Maryland, U.S.A , IHAV Foundation Conference, Association of Africa Business School (AABS) Agric business Launch to mention but a few. As a young farmer and entreprenuer with a passion for research and writing, I use this blog to share my experiences as well as inform Youths of the opportunities available in Agriculture and Entrepreneurship. Follow me on twitter: @kalusamanya Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kalusam Skype: kalusam WHatsapp: +2347036931636
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2 Responses to Youth and agriculture: Part of a positive trend by Klarien Klingen

  1. Israel Myeni says:

    Great work. I quit my job in a large sugar plantation, partly because I felt I wanted to practice “more meaningful” agriculture, i.e., adding value to my personal life and of others in a rather more direct manner. Did it work – yes and no. I am still a developing farmer after 13 years, no stable income and struggling, less than originally envisaged value add, but I now know one thing just as good as all farmers know we can make it work.

    • kalusam says:

      Yes, we can make it work with proper planning, effective feasibility studies and efficient management practices and also go into an Agribusiness venture that is sustainable!

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