He goes to Orio’s market every week. Just like every Tuesday afternoon, he unloads baskets with plenty of vegetables and eggs, as well as milk and cheese produced in a farm close to his own. He is a 33 year old Agricultural Technical Engineer. His allotment in Aia produces vegetables for 35 customers. He has promised to deliver fresh seasonal products throughout the year. He has no greenhouse.
This small farmer has been selling directly to the consumer for two years, now. He has regular clients, as he says this is the only way to organise the production and to rely on agriculture for a living. He meets with his clients two or three times a year to explain how the allotment is going and to know which products are the most demanded. Direct selling to the consumer is the only way to earn a living. Direct selling is becoming more popular because of the current economic situation and the necessity of a more sustainable society.
Iñaki places his products on a table at the market not knowing that with this gesture he is representing a breath of fresh air, compared to other productive models, like the industrial one.
The Nobel prize for Agroecology, Mr. Henk Hobbeling, has it clear: “small farmers will refresh the planet”. In an interview with “La vanguardia”, the Dutch Agronomist confirms that 30% of the fertile land of the world which belongs to small farmers, produce 65% of the food. The founder of Grain, a NGO dedicated to food sovereignty and agroecology believes that we need government help for small farmers so they don’t have to leave the countryside.
With reference again to the previous farmer from Orio, Iñaki, who used to work in a farmer’s union before dedicating his life to the farm life, he is aware that living from an orchard is difficult but at the same time advantageous. Especially for reconciling family life and be in contact with nature.
Iñaki knows that depending on the type of product, direct selling is more difficult. For example “eggs”. He knows that it is necessary comply with hygiene rules and food safety, but he believes that some of these rules are more favorable for industrial producers. “We cannot apply the same rules for the production of 20.000 eggs as for 200 eggs”. But, the Sanitary Authorities care about the traceability of the product and must detect any possible irregularity along the food chain.
Biolur is the association for the support of the ecological agriculture in Gipuzkoa. It has created consumption groups in order to create a direct relationship between farmers and consumers.
Direct selling of ecological products it is not only a healthier and more sustainable philosophy of life, but also an alternative way of eating where the consumer values the quality of the product, and its origin, more than its price; and they don’t always have to be the most expensive!