The activities of Dutch Farm Experience are based on the following experience:
Throughout my career I have been engaged in training extension workers and livestock specialists – combined with working directly with farmers – based on a wide array of participatory methodologies.
It is my passion to build bridges between local knowledge and external (‘modern’) knowledge. After 12 years of work in Latin America, this has resulted in the manual Gracias a los Animales to be used in (spanish speaking) agricultural schools and NGO’s. Together with Heifer International I have developed a clear guide with numerous practical ways to support smallholder livestock keeping in a book Livestock Management for Poverty Alleviation and Foodsecurity, which was published by CAB International publishers, 2012.
In this book a training tool, called the Wheels of Animal Production and Wellbeing, is presented. This tool can be used during the training of veterinarians and extension workers, as well as farmers, in order to really acknowledge and build on farmers’ knowledge and experience.
Work with Dutch (dairy) farmers
Between 2007 and 2011 I have worked with dairy farmers in the Netherlands, in the Duurzaam Boer Blijven program. During this period I experienced the possibilities for joint learning between sustainable livestock keeping experts (including farmers!) in the Netherlands and developing countries. and built up extensive network of truly sustainable farmers. (article The Dairy Development Trap, 2012)
Livestock and climate change
Throughout the past years I have been engaged in various workshops and meetings on Livestock and Climate Change, with the focus that there are various ways to reduce mitigation and adaptation to climate change (see article Livestock Friend or Foe?, 2010)
Reduce use of antibiotics through medicinal plants
I have become an expert in Ethnoveterinary medicine, in which medicinal plants – together with appropriate animal management – are used to reduce the use of anitbiotics, and improve quality of milk. Ethnoveterinary medicine stands at the basis of this knowledge, and has been re-valued especially in India. Medicinal plants are also increasingly used in the Netherlands, also to reduce the use of anti-biotics in livestock keeping.
Endogenous Livestock Development (ELD)
Endogenous livestock development aims to support livestock keepers ‘from within’ – based on their own resources and innovations. ELD provides the central focus for my training activities in livestock development – see Endogenous Livestock Development network, ELD info booklet and ELD in Cameroon booklet + video. Since 2005 I am co-facilitator of the Endogenous livestock Development network and it is possible to become a member of the ELDev mailing list, with some 350 livestock experts.
Endogenous Development international network
Between 1998 and 2007 my activities were focused on endogenous development for food security, health, environmental sustainability within the Compas network. COMPAS (COMPAring and Supporting endogenous development) is a capacity building programme to develop and mainstream endogenous development methodologies for strengthening biocultural diversity. Various books on ways to support endogenous development have been published by Compas, such as Learning Endogenous Development – building on bio-cultural diversity (2006), Endogenous Development in Practice, Use of Animal Products in Traditional Agriculture (2009) and numerous other publications.
- Together with local partners various videos/films were published, such as ELD in Cameroon in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
- Another film is titled Op Eigen Kracht – Sustainable Dairy Farming based on the Cycle Approach (in Dutch), 2008.
- During the Livestock Futures Conference in Bonn (september 2011), a film was made of the presentation Lessons Learnt in Dutch Dairy Farming
Enneagram personal coaching
Establishing Enneagram personality type at the basis of personal coaching is a great tool to enhance insights in one’s own behaviour. Katrien van’t Hooft has graduated as an enneagram personal coach in 2011 and offers this service especially for young people interested in sustainable agriculture with career questions.