Understood how cool farmers are

If I hadn’t come to Aarhus I would have never been drawn into the organic farming debate. I hadn’t thought about the production reality behind the food with an organic label and those without one. The organic sector represents barely 10 per cent of the total food production in Denmark which is globally a relatively high proportion. Should it be higher? Who cares if it is higher or not?

Gustaf Hojris Bock works at the Knowledge centre for Agriculture in Aarhus and he says the consumer is responsible for driving change. “The question is if the consumer will pay a higher price for a better environment, and they don’t at the moment.”

But there are some farmers who think the consumers are getting on board. Ida Holst Kristensen and her husband has just set up their own organic flour and oatmeal brand. She says: “This is the right time to do this. More and more consumers are thinking about this; that everything needs to be connected. We want something that is healthy, not filled with artificial things, and is of respect of nature.”

Even though the organic entrepreneurs are optimistic about the future, their environmentally conscious farming method has punished them in the past. Not using artificial fertilisers or pesticides is a riskier, more delicate operation. Three years ago they lost two thirds of their crops, about 90 hectares because of diseases. Marten Osten Kristensen says: “We had nothing, absolutely nothing at all. We nearly died financially.”

Video: An evaluation of Organic Farming, filmed on Samso in Denmark: an environmentally cutting edge Island.

Features: Baby cows, barking dogs, cool caps and tractor action.

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