After leading SAI platform for 10 years, Peter-Erik Ywema decided to leave and look for a new challenge in the field of agriculture-food-sustainability. The global association of food companies, traders and retailers had grown from 14 to almost 100 members, the secretariat from 3 to 10 and I had served 6 presidents. Peter-Erik feels proud that the experimental collaborative effort had grown to a well-recognised professional player with a mission to help its members to source more sustainably and beyond.
They developed 3 types of tools. Questionnaires with a focus on good practices (FSA), agreed measurable farm indicators (SPA) and guidance on how to engage with farmers. The first two inspired his (intellectual) head, the last one his (compassionate) heart. In his 10 years he has become more and more interested in ‘what facilitates behavioural change and intrinsic motivation?’. Quite often, He had enjoyed the path to design good, relevant, understandable questions about good farm practices and the best, easiest, most efficient ways to measure progress and impact, but at the same time a weak voice in my head whispered ‘What if all this would be applied to me? What if I were the farmer who had to ‘comply’ with all of this? Would that convince me if I weren’t convinced? Would that allow me to show my sincere safety/sustainability intentions and actions if I were a ‘believer’? Who is the best farmer: the one who practices the best soil management with poor administration or the one who simply fills in the best answers?’
Peter-Erik Ywema wanted to figure this out and decided to take time off for a personal research of western European farming and try to deeply understand it. He decided to bike from farmer to farmer from his home village to the south of Spain where SAI Platform organised an important farmer engagement project with (straw)berry growers. He spoke with 35 farmers about their lives, their issues, theirs believes and their worries and he wrote a blog about it on www.connectingfarmers.eu
Peter Erik’s presentation will be interactive. After a brief introduction on his background and bike trip, the audience will determine about which farmers or blogs on www.connectingfarmers.eu he will talk. Check it out and participate!