Last year I combined my life loves, travel, agriculture and photography. I quit my job and embarked on a journey through Europe and Asia visiting with farmers and volunteering on farms. In just under 10 months I covered 13 countries, over 29,000 miles and met with more than 145 food producers.
I spent the first 3 months in Europe and the UK, in Ireland, England, France and The Netherlands. During that time I visited farms large and small, cooperatives, incubator programs, glass house production farms and community gardens; and met with farmers raising meat, poultry, vegetables, oysters, snails, dairy and eggs. I then flew from Amsterdam to Asia and over the course of the next 7 months I visited Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh and India. I spent time with Ethnic tribal groups, subsistence farmers, universities, large growers and NGOs. I worked with farms raising vegetables, fruit, insects, fish, meat and eggs, and using a variety of methods including aquaculture, aquaponics, hydroponics and soil based growing. During those months I visited farms in the mountains, on the ocean and on top of shopping malls, in some of the most remote and some of the most population dense areas of the region.
I learned so many new and traditional techniques over the past year, methods of organic agriculture that I had no idea existed. But beyond the technical, I got to know and love so many people. Their stories have inspired me and I hope that they will inspire others as well. In my career as a farmer I have come across many truly incredible individuals. On the road I met even more, they have opened up their lives and homes to me and I couldn’t be more grateful. Farmers have an overpowering passion for what they do, that passion is infectious and it has the potential to change the world.
I believe that better food distribution and the empowerment of small farmers are the keys to feeding our growing population. How we chose to produce food in the coming decades has the power to change both local and global communities, as well as having huge implications for environmental and health concerns. We are currently in the middle of the largest global population boom, as well as the largest migration in human history as people leave their small farms and move to the cities. I want explore sustainable methods of food production and distribution on an international scale. I hope to inspire change through highlighting models of successful sustainability, not only sustainable in terms of the environment but also in terms of the lifestyles these enterprises generate for themselves and their communities.
Our personal health is larger than ourselves, it is dependent on the health of the people and the land that surrounds us
I hope that this trip was a pilot for a larger project and I want to use the knowledge gained during this experience, future experiences and my background as a farmer to help established and aspiring farmers both at home and abroad to farm better. I want to openly share farmer’s personal stories, business models and techniques. I want to contribute stories of food safety, food distribution and labor welfare to the global community in an attempt to raise awareness around the issues facing our international food community. Finally, I would like to connect small farmers around the world to unite them in both cause and action towards a better food system.