Last weekend I went to buy some vegetables at the lone biofarm for miles. The weather was nice, not too much wind, a lovely bike ride through the fields. Far off I see tractors plowing, spraying and seeding, although I am not exactly sure what they are using. Slowly a green sheen starts to appear on the clayey surfaces. 

It is the month of Earth day (April 22), it is also the month of international day of peasant struggle (April 17). A few days apart, only one day a year. I wonder how many people think about the relationship between the focus of these days. 

Last year I was fortunate to be witness of a process of language revitalization, within a land-based knowledge system where language, cultural practice is intimately related to the surrounding land. Respect for the land is at the core of thinking and doing. 

Along my years of working in bio and biodynamic farms I have learned a thing or two about the importance of the land for us people. How taking care of the land, your natural environment, gives so much in return, much more than mere sustenance. 

Even though I have always enjoyed nature and shared that with family and friends, I realize that within the culture I was raised, northern Europe, I didn’t get educated with the same kind of respect for the land on a day to day basis. Of course, awareness is growing that we are doing our supportive environment a disservice with our current, often exploitative, behavior and we need to change. We also (begin) realize nature can heal us, and we seek nature’s therapeutic assistance. 

Cycling and walking along the roads through the fields that are dissected by narrow ditches, endless view, a land dotted with farm houses and barn, but nearly a soul in sight, I ask myself what I am doing here. Not in a so much in an existential way, although a bit, but more from a practical viewpoint. Is there something I can do. How do I nurture the kind of respect for the land that I have experienced elsewhere. I wonder how wealthy countries like the Netherlands like to ‘do good’ elsewhere, but seem to neglect their own hinterland. Respect, I start from the backyard, and contemplate the challenge ahead of me further afield. 

https://viacampesina.org/en/events/