Interview with Lars Veraart, member of Ecoruralis (ECVC’s Romanian member). Lars will take part in the “We are fed up” mobilisation in Berlin this Saturday.
From where and since when do you come to Berlin to the “We are fed up” demonstration?
I am coming from Transylvania, Romania. This is my first time attending.
Can you briefly present your farm? What do you particularly like about your farm and your profession?
Our farm is a traditional smallholding from this region. We live in a village where every house has its own barn to keep animals and enough land to have a small orchard and kitchen garden. Every house has pieces of land in the agricultural zone surrounding the village. The mountains where the animals go to pasture is just beyond. The villagers still manage their own common lands. We bought a farm here because we could have very little land and still keep animals through the system of shepherding that still exists in the village. I like that we are food sovereign and grow enough food for our family and guests. My wife and I founded a school for self sufficient living on our farm, which could also be seen as an agroecological training center, you can find information about it on www.provisiontransylvania.com.
What are you fed up with? Or: What motivates you to go to the “We are fed up” demonstration?
What particularly motivates me to attend this demonstration is that I want to do everything that I can to work on a future where agroecological peasant farming has a recognized and rewarded and leading place in the production of quality and healthy food for all while taking great care of our Natural environment. Romania is lucky to still have so many peasants and peasant systems still running and countless opportunities for new peasants to settle. I hope to help these systems to survive into the future as I believe that they are truly good for people and planet.
What needs to be changed so that we can have peasant agriculture instead of destroying it?
What needs to be changed are the European legislations which favor only larger farms and ignore the contributions of small, agroecological farms and peasants. Peasants are still feeding Romania and they get no help with saving their own seeds, producing good food, with markets or with keeping their land safe from being stolen.
What is your message to the political decision-makers? Which signals should the demonstration send in particular in the year of the national elections in Germany?
My message to the political decision makers would be more a question: why is there a minimum farm-size that a farm need to have in order to receive support and yet there is no limit to the size on the other end? In other words: “Why is there no cap on the growth of a farm when there is clear evidence that when “farms” get bigger and bigger, the problems they create also get bigger and bigger? “Can you explain to me why small farms seem to get punished when the larger agribusinesses are encouraged to create more and more problems by getting bigger?”
Where do you see our movement for peasant farms instead of agricultural industry in 25 years?
My hope is that people and peasants have taken matters more into their own hands, that we have stopped trying to get the policy-makers to listen and that we can raise awareness enough that people realize that poisoned food is making them sick and that either become food sovereign themselves or, when that is not possible, that they are motivated as consumers to know where their food is coming from and choose wisely. People and Planet would already be doing a lot better if the agribusinesses would have significantly less clients.
Photo credit: Nyeleni Europe