Farming in Flanders: Does size matter?
University Press Leuven kicked off the year with the publication of a book on the future of farming in Flanders. As all across Europe and beyond Europe’s borders, there are lively debates in Flanders on how to move towards more sustainable farming systems. The book bundles various opinions and aims at facilitating a constructive dialogue. In this sense, the co-authors of the book strive for moving against the stream of polarization in the debate on sustainable farming.
Tessa Avermaete contributed to a chapter on farm size. The key question is whether large and efficient farms are the solution or the demise for farming in Flanders. The author emphasizes the need for nuance when debating farm size, arguing that farm size is a vague concept. Moreover, the author pleas for taking the ultimate goals of our food system as a point of departure in the food and farming debate. “We want a system that produces healthy food for all – today and for future generation – and we want farmers that take care of the environment and yet, are flexible and innovative enough to deal with shocks and stresses of the system”.
The author is manager of two European projects, COCOREADO and RUSTICA, that both try to contribute to making Europe’s food system more sustainable. For both projects, farmers are key stakeholders, no matter what the size of their farm is.