Jan Dirk and Irene decided one day to just stop: no more antibiotics in their dairy farm. A decision very, very few have dared to take. It created a bucket-load of problems and cost them a lot of money. Because in doing away with antibiotics, they came to see how everything, literally everything on their farm had completely lost the capability of maintaining a natural balance. In the first years, a third to half of their calves wouldn't make it past a couple of weeks. But instead of resorting to standard vaccination measures, they asked themselves: "What's really happening here? Why don't these calfs just get up and live? Where are we out of balance?"
Thanks to gritty determination, and with the help of a herbal specialist ("The German"), they now run a farm where calfs live, where cows are allowed to keep their horns and where the soil teems with life. What pulled them through is a stark belief in a wisdom far greater than any antibiotic: nature.
Last night I attended a small screening of Dancing with Horned Ladies, a film that documents Jan Dirk and Irene's journey towards total independency from antibiotics. Apart from a greatly told story, the film's a brilliant testament to following your intuition. Jan Dirk and Irene defied conventional 'wisdom', procedures and regulations, and stuck with what they knew was right. They kept their feet firmly in the ground through all the hardships, and used whatever they ran into as a mirror.
And coming through, they show no signs of losing a natural farmer's common sense. A brilliant Q&A with their son Peter taught us that they have no interest in making their products certified organic: "That's just another label, and it doesn't really say anything. Come to know our products and our farm and decide for yourself." Makes me think of John Nese's Soda Pop Stop wisdom:-).
Thanks Marieke & Tuaca for organizing the screening!