Lucas Van den Abeele

By Janne Karin Brodin

Lucas Van den Abeele
Lucas Van den AbeelePhoto: Frederic Vanwalleghem

Cereal network coordinator in Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen

Education: Master in Agroecology

Can you tell us about your current job?

Five years ago we set up a group of organic farmers growing barley and wheat for a small artisanal brewery, not far from Brussels. Key in this collaboration are knowledge sharing, fair pricing, risk sharing and trust creation between the different stakeholders. The aim is to be totally self-sufficient in cereal production and to develop a long term and stable collaboration that benefits all parties. What I like most is ensuring the link between the farmers and the brewers, organising field visits and tastings, and empowering the farmers so that they become proud again of the product they produce.
Video explaining our network on the website:

What was the path like from high school to the job you have today?

The masters in Agroecology at NMBU has given me total new insights, helped me to know myself better and distinguish where I can act best. Particularly inspiring for my work was a lecture on the topic Farmer Field Schools by Mette Vaarst, guest lecture from Aarhus University, Denmark. At the end of my studies NMBU and ISARA France accepted me to do my thesis research on the early development of a farmers network. This was a very practical and hands-on experience which made it possible for me to set the basis for my later work.

What is your opinion about the student community at NMBU?

During the Agroecology masters, students were asked to take responsibility for the learning, both for ourselves as for the group. This helped us to build a creative and caring environment. The professors encouraged us to go out to the field and learn by doing. Theory, practice and reflexivity were equally important which was to me a total new way of learning.

 Do you have any advice to future students?

If you like experimenting with new and more interactive ways of learning, the Agroecology course at NMBU is definitely worth it! Through working on farms, practical group works and exchange sessions, the course gives a great opportunity to experiment in real life and understand better which added value you can bring after studies.

How do you / your job / your workplace contribute to the work of achieving the UN's sustainability goals?
Our farmers collective does contribute to the UN sustainability goals as we seek to strengthen the farmers on different point of views: economically, practically, socially and ecologically. In our Collaboration and knowledge exchange we look at a long term perspective which ensures stability for both the farmers and the brewery, but also for the environment and the soil so that we can produce our food in a sustainable way.

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