At Klipfontein, Frans van der Westhuizen presents us his organic rooibos cultivation. He was unable to come to the gathering at Stellenbosch, so we went to visit him.
He is very surprised to see an organic farmer coming from so far away to ask him how, and above all why, he chose to work this way with this unique crop. He speaks at length with Maurice, who tells him about what he cultivates in France.
Witnessing the bond that forms between these two farmers, whose fields are so distant from each other, I realize that they are neighbors in their way of approaching their work, constantly trying to understand more in order to be closer to what is good for Man and for the Earth.
I also realize that only a farmer like Maurice can enter into such a relationship so quickly; everything the other person says takes on meaning. Once the technical choices for production, all resulting from long efforts of reflection, are thoroughly discussed, they begin focusing on the meaning of this work.
Yes, for Frans this is indeed the goal, to be able to continue producing something good for as long as possible. Good at as many levels as possible: from the environment to the consumers’ health. I then realize that this man, with his wife and son, has been cultivating this goal every day for years and years, and that this is what permits him to succeed in his life. Such a simple idea, and so many efforts…
When Maurice asks Frans what he thinks of this idea of travelling around the world to meet farmers, Frans’s face lights up.
At this moment, I begin understanding a little better what can be created between all these farmers of the world, these mediators between Man and the Earth.
Bernard, la Terre et les Hommes, 1er mars 2011