Press release / Reaction

Title: Booklet Farming with Awe - on growth, boundaries and prospects
Author: Wim Schippers
Release Date: November 2016 (Dutch original) / March 2021 (English version; e-book)

‘Farming with Awe’ looks at three related questions and briefly shows:

1. when did we take the wrong turning, both as farmers and society
2. which healthy boundaries were crossed in doing so
3. what are the prospects if we respect those boundaries

‘Farming with Awe’ intends to hold up a mirror. It calls for serious reflection and challenges us to take courageous decisions.

The author is convinced that the prospects for farming with awe are good. This conviction has been confirmed by his experience as a pioneer in the transformation of his family farm. Farmer and soil will be the centre of attention again and the whole of creation can catch its breath. The booklet focuses on both arable and dairy farming. Together they account for about two-thirds of land use in the Netherlands.

First and foremost, this booklet is aimed at people working in the field of agriculture. It can also be used in ‘green’ education programs. In a broader sense: not everyone is a farmer, but everyone eats. The message of this booklet challenges every reader to reflect on his or her own position and responsibility. How can we enable farmers in our neighborhood to work within healthy boundaries?

In November 2016, the booklet was offered to some 20.000 readers of the main agricultural magazine of the Netherland. Afterwards several thousand copies have been ordered by farmers, food and environmental organizations, schools, political parties, churches and theologians. By popular request the English version is now available, as an e-book. Although written in the Dutch context, the basic principles presented in this booklet are universal. As in the biblical parable on the sower and the seed, the author expects the message to fall ‘in good soil’, hopefully in many places around the world.

Comments from farmers:

My sincere compliments! The booklet is inspiring from start to finish. It not only gets to the heart of the matter, but also offers directions for solutions. That you brought it to my attention now, is very special to me. It comes at exactly the right time to help me further develop the farm with confidence.

I am glad you have written the booklet. It clearly shows that admitting our ‘not knowing’ is the basis for healthy farming. It also makes clear that there can be no freedom without responsibility.

Fascinating to read and beautifully portrayed! The booklet ‘Farming with awe’ is certainly a valuable contribution to encourage farmers. Courage and trust are things that I personally also see as crucial for change.