Avainsana: farmers

Meet Jan, one of our farmers!

1. Who are you?

My name is Jan Veltman. I was born in 1986 in The Netherlands. I’ve been living in Finland since 2014. I recently moved with my partner Kirsi to Lassila Farm, to the old talkoomökki! My hobbies are: cooking, mushroom picking, gardening, cycling, camping, guitar playing and enjoying nature in all possible ways.

2. What fascinates you in Oma Maa?

Basically Everything. Most of all that we are trying to make the world a better place. That we are an alternative for the terrible (food) system that is destroying the planet. Then there’s the endless possibilities we have to make and do what we want and the huge variety of tasks, which makes every day a new adventure. The possibility to learn about almost anything you can think of. And of course the likeminded people I work with everyday.

It’s an amazing feeling to put my time and effort into something that makes me so proud that I want to tell all about it to the people around me. And to have this intrinsic motivation to work as much as I can to make this thing work!

3. Where you have been working other stuff or farming before?
I spend all my childhoods summers in my family’s house in France that is sort of like a farm. There I learned something about building, gardening and taking care of animals.

At home we had a vegetable garden too and when I was old enough to work I got my first summer job at a greenhouse picking cucumbers.

In Finland I have attended cooking school and have worked in several restaurants as a cook. I also worked for a company that builds and maintains yards and parks in the city of Helsinki. Before I found Oma Maa I spend a few months in Colombia where I volunteered at a permaculture farm.

4. How the world will change in your dreams? (Your utopia…)
I hope that what we are doing is not just staying inside of this small community, but that it will spread so that we will be able to change the world and live in a more sustainable way that is better for people and planet.

Because I believe that all people want to do good, but that the current system is making it very difficult to live your life the way you would actually want to. If for example there was more openess about the production of food and especially meat, people would make very different choices.

So in my ideal world there would be a basic income for everyone. That way we can choose how we spend our time. Everything we do would be based on our own values and beliefs in stead of on making money.

5. What is your favorite part and the hardest part in working in this co-op?
The hardest part is probably that everything is so unsure still. It’s a bit scary that I finally found something so good but that it’s totally unsure how long we’ll be able to continue doing this. Sometimes I feel like we should be doing more, but I don’t know what exactly…
Also I still have difficulties thinking in a ’co-op way’. I wasn’t familiar with the concept of a co-op before I joined Oma Maa. I’m used to traditional companies with a boss, employees, strickt rules etc… It’s great that we don’t have those now, but also confusing sometimes.
My favorite part of the co-op is the process from seed in the ground to food on the plate.
To give an example:
My favorite moment so far with Oma Maa was the dinner that we organised for guests that had attended an event at the social forum.
We cooked a 3 course meal for them entirely made of produce from the farm. The salad that was on the plate has grown from seeds that I sowed and it was me who took the parsnips from the ground the day before the dinner. Cooking with ingredients like that feels very special. But what made the whole experience truly amazing, was the applause from the guests at the end. That whole process; All the hard work on the farm, more hard work in the kitchen,  sharing our story with others and feeling genuine appreciation from them is the best feeling there is!

Have you already met Joel? >>

Meet Joel, one of our farmers!

Joel Bird!

 

Who are you?
Joel P. Bird- Farmer/Environmentalist/Musician/Family man (Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A)
What fascinates you in Oma maa?
I love that Oma Maa incorporates the growing of produce, the production of food products, and has learning possibilities for everyone that has the desire to grow themselves. Many of us have a variety of knowledge and skills that we can share with each other, making each of us a better version of ourselves. Together, we grow.
Where have you been farming before?
I have 2 years of formal Agriscience/Horticulture training from the Kent Career Technical Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where we worked in a greenhouse and an arboretum. We also designed and installed landscapes for Habitat For Humanity. I’ve always had a garden at home as well, where I mostly grew tomatoes, peppers, squash, and corn. I’ve spent many months helping farmers in northern Michigan with their gardens and farms, spending time with goats and chickens. I spent one summer helping organize a community garden in an urban area of Grand Rapids where we taught the neighborhood how to grow their own produce. I spent 6 months working at a co-op grocery store in northern Michigan called Oryana that worked closely with farmers, bringing in their produce to sell and offering them the funds to get Organic certification. After that, I volunteered at a Nature Center CSA where we grew everything that would grow in the climate. I have studied permacutlure, sustainability and natural resource management as well. I have a passion for wild-edibles as well, but have much to learn of Finland’s wild foods.
How the world will change in your dreams?
Ideally, if we could get rid of mass-production of monoculture farming and work with the land the way nature intended, we would all be better off. Also, if we could share our knowledge without the necessity of having said-knowledge be a piece of paper from a University, we would all benefit. Sharing is caring 😉
What is your favorite part and the hardest part when working in this co-op?
My favorite and the hardest part are that every day is different. I love the new challenges that we face, but it can be difficult from time to time. Though, it is all a learning experience that I wouldn’t change for the world!
Oma maassa on ollut maaliskuusta lähtien 6 työntekijää: Ruby, Jukka, Ulla, Jon, Joel ja Jan.

Oma maassa on ollut maaliskuusta lähtien 6 työntekijää: Ruby, Jukka, Ulla, Jon, Joel ja Jan.

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