Live blogging from Eemland Conference

About live blogging

Here are some notes from the European Eemland Conference. The usual disclaimers for life blogging apply: these are just some notes of one individual, not a representation of “The Thruth”. If others will share with us their notes, a mosaical, multi-perspective “social report” will grow. This “stream of impressions” is nice for those who are not with us, to get an idiea of what has been going on, as well as a shared “product” which we co-create from the conference. Anyone can join, just tag blogposts, photos, with “guusnet” or ask for a login in for this Guus’ blog and become an author.

Wednesday, afternoon session

Interactive forum discussion with different speakers on the four pillars of the Versatile Countryside concept
show master: Eelke Wielinga

first pillar:

What are the symbols of your enterprise that you have brought?

Alfredo Cunhal: the symbol i have in mind is “a home”, i want my farm to be the home for manykind people, for animals, for biodiversity

Hillar Pulk: for me the symbol of my farm is “enjoyment”, meaningful enjoyment. It is never a single thing alone which people like, the complex interplay of the many facets of the farm, which turn it into a real experience, is what people enjoy.

Bram Prins: (showing elastical “spider” with hooks, used for tying things, eg. to the back of your bike) This is what I think of as a symbol for my farm: a spider in the web of my surroundings, links, networker, ties to others.

But when we think of entrepreneurial spirit, we do not usually think of ties, of considerations with the surroundings. Usually we think more of a free spirit. Are you a special kind of entrepreneurs? What makes you an entrepreneur? Why do you feel responsible not only for your own income, but for societal values at large?

It is a matter of seeing opportunities, and of course it is very important to look at the values people feel are important.

Can you make money, earn an income: is there a business case?

It is not always easy, but I have survived so far. There are so many components to my farm.

In the times when my father farmed it was simply a matter of producing as much milk as possible. Now it is more complex.
We need to “earn” a license to exist, we need to earn a license to produce. We have to justify what we are doing.
For all types of farms it is needed to link to the surroundings and take into account what others deem important.

What is the entrepreneurial part in it?

We are an SME, a small or medium enterprise, we need to play a role, innovator role to regional innovation.

What do you expect from this conference?

Well, we are people too, we look for inspiration, new ideas, motivation.  Contacts with other people.

Maybe we can establish a collaboration

Possibly cooperate with universities.

Splitting up “farmers” in groups as if they where separate is the stupidiest thing to do. Look, Jan Huijgen is a very different farmer than me. but all of us have to work in the triangle of PPP; People Planet and Profit. Each of us has to decide on a good mix of these P’s. I am often associated with working for a profit, but also large, production-oriented farms have to realise that nowadays they need a license to exist, that they need to take planet and people into account. And i sometimes need to remind Jan that he has to make a profit for a living!

So today our conference motto is ploughing, breaking ground. It is also symbolic for breaking structures, so that new things can develop. What are the things to do according to you?

Changing the mindset of farmers, to make them aware of what is happening around them.

To think of ethics, ethical values.


Photo report in English

our portuguese guests at Eemland Conference

our portuguese guests at Eemland Conference

For English speaking readers, have a look at our slide show of first impressions of European Eemland Conference, with English comments!