Food Chain Traveler Newsletter #9
Working in food during a pandemic

In this newsletter: What have I been doing these past few weeks? //  Interview w/ Koen van Seijen about regenerative agriculture// Book tip - Sitopia// Loads of stuff to read, watch & do// Musical outro.

Hello fellow travelers!

These past two weeks I've spent working on a biodynamic farm in Zuid-Holland, picking the weeds out of the dry earth, trying to give space to slowly growing shallots and radishes.

I'm doing this out of a project I started with some friends a little over two months ago, called De Seizoenarbeiders, which translates to 'the seasonal workers. In the first weeks of the pandemic we saw people who usually work in events & festivals now unemployed due to restrictions on big events. We also saw farmers struggle to find enough seasonal workers because their usual crew is hesitant to travel from their countries of origin, like Poland, Bulgaria and Romania. With @DeSeizoenarbeiders, we aim to combine these two problems into one solution.

In you're interested to learn more about this project, please have a look at our website. If you want to know more about my personal experience, I'm posting pictures and experiences on my own instagram (see here, here and here).

This pandemic has had a tendency of bringing already existing crises to the surface. How vulnerable different social groups are in our societies. How reliant we make ourselves of tomorrow's innovations to duct tape the environmental problems of today. How poorly we value and reward work that we deem essential for our shared existence.

Farmers and farm workers share that last category with teachers, health workers and many others. With De Seizoenarbeiders, we hope to create not just part of a solution for this current crisis, but also a place where we can help build lasting connections between those who consume and those who produce food. 

If you can, follow us and help build this tiny agricultural revolution!

Stay safe, eat well, and have a great weekend,


PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR SOIL IS - INTERVIEW//  Koen van Seijen is the founder and host of the podcast Investing in Regenerative Agriculture. In this podcast, he has been interviewing pioneers in regenerative agriculture since 2016. To date, 90+ interviews have been online, including Volkert Engelsman (Eosta), Isabella Tree (Knepp Wildlife Estate, Wilding) and Geert van der Veer (Herenboeren). If you want to learn more about how we can use money to restore soil, people, local communities and ecosystems, this is THE podcast to have in your list.

I interviewed Koen for Slow Food Nederland. Read the full interview here.
BOOK TIP - SITOPIA //  Last year I had the priviledge of meeting Carolyn Steel, author of Hungry City which is an absolute classic in the world of food. Two weeks ago I spoke to Carolyn again for a Slow Food Youth Network Masterclass on Instagram, about her new book Sitopia. As in previous times, speaking to her was both insightful and hilarious. The central question of her new book is: "What would the world be like if we actually appreciated food again?". It forces the reader to rethink how utopian we may be when we think about the future of the world. And the time to do that thinking is now.

Read my short review of the book here, watch an online lecture (26min) by Carolyn on the website of the Food Hub, and order the book at your local book store.
THINGS TO READ, WATCH & DO// Read or watch interesting things online about food, labour and Covid19, like this piece in the Guardian on European tensions over migrant labour// Read some of the good food books I'm collecting and reviewing on Goodreads. Like The Grapes of Wrath, the obvious classic by John Steinbeck centred on the experience of agricultural workers during the great depression.// Listen to some of the podcasts on Food & Covid19 I'm hoarding on Castbox, like this one by NPR on US farmworkers and the corona virus// Support local food producers, now and after this crisis// Food professionals, sign up to Wayne Roberts' newsletter to receive tips on how to communicate food advocacy// Follow a farmer online, like Ben Theo Andrews in the UK, or Jaring Brunia in Friesland.
Go visit a farm. If it feels unsafe, do so online for now.
Be a part, however small, of the next agricultural revolution.
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De Seizoensarbeider · Hoofdweg 229-2 · Amsterdam, Netherlands, Noord Holland 1057CV · Netherlands

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