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Extraordinary farming agro_park_terneuzen_newspaper


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Extraordinary farming agro_park_terneuzen_newspaper

  1. 1. E This publication is not made by de Volkskrant xtraordinary farming pag 2 Green Care near Amsterdam • page 3 Cultivation under glass at Biopark Terneuzen • page 4 Recreation in the Green Wood • A few stories to whet your appetitepage 4 Industrial ecology for livestock • page 6 Paying for sustainability with snob value • page 7 Northern Frisian Woods experiment • page 8 Dutch knowledge in China C ows should be in the meadow! Farming is for family businesses! No to mega sheds! You can’t earn a living from sustainable agriculture! And so on, and so on. In the public debate on sustainable ag- riculture, leaders of farmers’ organisations, diehards of the environmental movement, civil servants and researchers keep repeat- ing the same old mantras. They have en- trenched views and if nothing changes we will just keep going round and round in cir- cles. These fixed attitudes have brought all development to a standstill and agriculture is increasingly suffering because of it. Who is brave enough to come out from their entrenched position and ask the open question: what do we really want from ag- riculture now? It would become clear that all parties want roughly the same thing: sufficient food, a cleaner environment, farm animals that do not suffer unneces- sarily before they end up on our plate and nature and landscape, to enjoy cycling and walking in. And a very important point – it has to be possible to earn a decent living from it. TransForum was set up in 2004 to help farmers and market gardeners to find new markets. The condition was that produc- tion should be more sustainable. Over the past six years, TransForum has guided 35 practical projects and launched 25 innova- tive research projects. Tomorrow Trans- Forum closes its doors. In this appendix you will find some of our conclusions. It is possible to earn a decent living from sustainable agriculture. The farmer and the city dweller need to partici- pate together more often. Researchers and civil servants need to take more account of the interests of those running businesses. But the most important conclusion of all is this: we must sincerely want to find solu- Illustratie Henk van Ruitenbeek tions. That means no unnecessary rules, no turgid legal procedures, no ill thought- out protest campaigns. Yes to buckling down together. TransForum has demonstrated that doing this takes us down new paths, with surpris- ing outcomes. Strategy: It can always be more sustainable Is an industrial site with tomatoes grown in a high-tech sustainable than another. Just as it is impossible to define greenhouse and a high-tech pig house more sustainable than happiness. What could make one person happy – five children an organic market garden with free range pigs? The question isand the position of mayor – could be torment to another. as impossible to answer as asking whether a child would be Sustainability, like happiness, is the constant pursuit of the organisation that works toward a happier becoming an architect or a baker. improvement. It is never completed, we have to keep monitor- more sustainable future for agriculture ing problems that lie in wait for us. How quickly and openly In 1992 the Advisory Council on Government Policy (WWR) con- problems are tackled when they do crop up tells us more about through innovative projects cluded that sustainability is impossible to define, as no one our chances for developing sustainably than does a vision on a image of what we are working towards is by definition more drawing board. www.transforum.nlProject manager: Franscé Verdeuzeldonk, TransForum texts: René Didde, Marianne Heselmans (final editing), Yvonne de Hilster and Broer Scholtens graPhic design: Brink & De Hoop
  2. 2. Aubergines growing on residual heat in TerneuzenFoto Landzijde go in for too much or perhaps too little ad- vertising or they may just be lacking that little bit of extra knowledge concerning care and clients.’ Jaap Hoek Spaans knows from his own ex- perience how important cooperation is. He teaches Dutch and geography and has 40 hectares of land with nursing cows and sheep. Through his contacts with a fellow lished at the site. Between them the three 18th-century Zwartenhoekse Zeesluis sea farmer, Hoek Spaans learned how to solve Over 100 hectares pioneers have cultivated some 25 hectares locks. ‘I think that this sustainable glass practical problems. According to Hoek at the Biopark and taken out an option to double the ar- horticulture area will be fully taken up in Spaans a striking number of people from Terneuzen remain ea. In order to fill the entire area of 168 five years’ time,’ Van der Hart says with farming backgrounds come to Landzijde available for hectares of glass a good many Dutch and assurance. ‘The fact that it will be possible who had first tried to re-establish them- pioneers wanting to Belgian horticulturalists still need to sign for these glasshouses to be classified as selves elsewhere. ‘They work at a bank, as set up a ‘green’ up. green label glasshouses will confer extra a teacher or as a fireman. When they come glasshouse. Uilenreef confirms that the economic crisis creditworthiness.’ to a Landzijde care farm they say “this is is doing nothing to hasten uptake. Even so There are more plans. In the near future it how I can be a farmer too”. That’s when a he is not pessimistic. ‘Unlike in traditional will be possible for vegetables to be trans- new care-farmer is born.’ areas, especially the Westland, there is ported not just by lorry but also by refrig- room for expansion in Terneuzen,’ he says. erated ship via the canal from Ghent to Residential weekends ‘And where these days can you still negoti- Terneuzen and further afield. ‘Within ten Extensive farms – often the only possibility ate a contract with a fixed energy price for years the Scheldt-Seine Canal will have in landscapes close to cities – would ap- 15 years and are the logistics and refriger- been widened and Paris will be in our pear to be particularly suitable for provid- ated storage all in place?’ sights,’ according to Van der Hart. Green ing work in the care field. Research indi- At majority shareholder Zeeland Seaports, waste from the glasshouses can be fer- cates that contact with the soil or livestock in which the municipalities of Terneuzen, mented, thereby generating energy and makes people feel at home and helps them Flushing and Borsele and the province of compost; wastewater can be recycled and Contact with livestock contributes to the empowerment of people who need extra care develop their own strengths. From children Zeeland all participate, managing director there are plans for the production of bio- spending a residential weekend on the Hans van der Hart is equally upbeat. Crises fuels. Peacefully planting parsley farm to dementing senior citizens and come and go, he says. Zeeland Seaports is Right beside aubergine grower Van Duijn’s homeless drug addicts, care-farms contrib- A heat-exchanger used to thinking in periods of at least ten glasshouse there is a smaller glasshouse. ute to their empowerment, says Jaap Hoek passes on the heat years. And sustainable plans such as these This is an information and training centre, Spaans. ‘The result is that people teach from the Yara fertiliser are the future, maintains Van der Hart. where courses are run for people wanting themselves to function more effectively. In plant to the Zeeland Seaports has set aside 50 hectares to work in energy-friendly glass horticul- The Landzijde organisation psychological or addiction problems or some cases they go onto regular jobs.’ waterpipes in Jan van at the glasshouse site for nature develop- ture. Van der Hart: ‘In the first year 50 some kind of physical disorder. The most Landzijde serves as an example for other Duijn’s glasshouse. ment, water storage, bridle paths and foot- people were trained; 30 found work in the brings together over one mobile workers are at a table cleaning regions. All the affiliated farmers have Photographs by paths. And the agropark is to restore the three glasshouses of the pioneers straight- hundred care-farmers from sprouts. On average 30 clients turn up been recognised by care institutes coming WarmCO2 cultural/historical phenomenon of the away.’ around Amsterdam together five days a week. ‘They are picked up by under the Exceptional Medical Expenses minibus all over the city,’ says Klaassen. Act (AWBZ). Depending on the degree of with municipalities, care-pro- A year and a half ago Klaassen took the care required, a day at a care-farm costs viders and research institutes. initiative to convert a derelict green- between 60 and 100 euros. 80% goes to house that had belonged to a bankrupt the care-farm, 12% is for intake, the care The greenhouses and gardens rose-grower into a care farm. Nowadays plan and evaluation, and 8% for Landzijde provide the clients with mean- it is a learning and care farm. The fresh overheads. At the Biopark Terneuzen glasshouse horti- gines is that they grow on the residual ernment subsidies, while 25 million have vegetables are sold to restaurants and Care budgets are being squeezed. Hoek heat from the Yara fertiliser plant two kilo- been borrowed from a low interest green ingful daytime activities, shops in and around Amsterdam. ‘The Spaans considers however that care-farm- culturalists draw residual heat and CO2 from metres away in Sluiskil. The plant – ac- fund. helping them to re-engage Michelin-starred restaurant De Bokkend- ing is here to stay in the care-sector. ‘Mu- the Yara fertiliser plant. There are also plans counting just by itself for three percent of with life. oorns in Overveen and the Kas in Am- nicipalities will place people with an indi- for the centralised production of biofuels from the natural gas consumption in the Neth- Waterpipes sterdam are among our customers,’ says cation on care-farms, if only because erlands – releases huge quantities of low- The residual heat from the fertiliser plant Klaassen proudly. farmers offer relatively cheap care.’ green waste. And: ‘It will soon be possible for grade residual heat. goes to the glasshouse complex in the form ‘That’s Simon working over there,’ says Je- The Kwekerij is one of more than a hun- At care-insurer Agis, Anouk Mateijsen has the vegetables to be sent to Paris by refriger- And the plant also generates CO2 – a waste of water at a temperature of 95 degrees. At roen Klaassen of the Kwekerij in Amster- dred care farms that are flourishing in just concluded a contract with Landzijde product that costs it more and more mon- the complex a heat-exchanger distributes dam, pointing to a man potting up parsley the greater Amsterdam area. It is a kind for a third year. ‘Clients see a horticultural ated ship.’ ey on account of the climate problem and the heat to the glasshouse water pipes. with infinite patience. ‘Simon had an alco- of pilot business run by Landzijde, an or- enterprise or farm as a meaningful form of emission rights. For horticulturalists CO2 is Water at a temperature of 40 degrees is re- H hol problem, but here in the greenhouse ganisation forming the link between the daytime activity,’ she says. ‘And if the orticulturalist Jan van Duijn, who a vital fertiliser that bring aubergines, to- turned to the fertiliser plant, where it is he’s back into the rhythm of work and per- affiliated farmers and the care institutes, farmers and Landzijde are able to guaran- hails from the Westland, has been matoes and sweet peppers on more quick- heated up again. The pure CO2 from Yara is forming meaningful tasks. He’s so good at care offices and municipalities that pur- tee quality, we can only applaud care ini- pioneering at a brand-new ag- ly. ‘Until recently all the heat and CO2 went mixed with compressed air and injected in- his work that we are thinking about taking chase organised daytime activities on tiatives of this kind.’ ropark near Terneuzen since last year. In into the canal or the air,’ says Jan Uilen- to the glasshouses. him on permanently. ‘ the farm. In this regard Landzijde is col- Landzijde has all sorts of other plans as November 2009 he started with seedlings; reef, managing director of WarmCO2. ‘Now According to Uilenreef this far-reaching It’s just nine o’clock in the morning and laborating in the TransForum knowledge well. Shops on farms. Language lessons for in January he harvested the first auber- the horticulturalists in Terneuzen are cut- form of recycling on such scale is unique in apart from Simon there are already 30 project Greencare with Wageningen UR pupils at an Agricultural Training Centre gines. He gathered in the final harvest with ting down on their fossil fuel consumption the world. ‘Experiments are being conduct- Photo’s WarmCO2 people – most of the men – busily at work and VU University Amsterdam. ‘Cooper- (AOC) who need to catch up and are seek- hydraulic, extendable electro wagons, he by 90%.’ ed only in Germany.’ Horticulturalist Jan in the greenhouse on the western edge of ation is necessary,’ says Jaap Hoek ing a job on a care-farm. At the end of the relates in his five-hectare glasshouse. ‘The The WarmCO2 company, together with its van Duijn now pays as much for his energy Amsterdam. They are potting up parsley Spaans (56), managing director of Lan- morning Klaassen and Hoek Spaans pro- plants were four metres high.’ Twice a week shareholders Zeeland Seaports and Yara, as in a conventional gas-heated (combined and letters, picking tomatoes and cour- dzijde, ‘for no matter how inventive farm- vide a guided tour of the greenhouse for his employees do the rounds to gather au- has invested 80 million euros in an indus- heat and power) glasshouse. gettes with yellow flowers and sorting au- ers are in offering care, on their own they the latter target group. Simon is still there bergines from the 70,000 plants. trial heat grid. Approximately twelve mil- A tomato grower from Belgium and a bergines and cucumbers. They suffer from often come up against the limits. They potting up parsley plants. What’s special about Van Duijn’s auber- lion have been paid out in the form of gov- sweet pepper grower are already estab- Open Letter Dear Minister, The combination of Economic Affairs, Agriculture & Innovation in the one ministry creates a tremendous opportunity. This ministry will be able to invest so as to ensure we can continue living in a prosperous and beautiful country. metropolitan agriculture can have many faces: Agroparks with pigs a sensitive issue agroparks, green care organised at region- The Netherlands may be proud of its internationally renowned agricultural sector. This strong Various agroparks are on the drawing terhouse on site – also means less trans- competition position is attributable to 150 years of effective innovation. board in the Netherlands, but when pigs portation of the animals and feed. al level, local production, urban farms..... come into the frame matters become sen- On behalf of the Innovation Network, ar- But innovation can no longer continue along the same lines as in the last century. Innovations sitive. Three years ago, for example, inves- chitect Winy Maas and designers from The now need to take account of the requirements of members of the public and consumers. This calls tors had almost been found for an ‘Agro- Why Factory (TU Delft) recently designed a for the steering of demand and active participation by all parties concerned. It was in order to We may need some time to get used to understanding that for a real leap forward centrum Westpoort’ in the Amsterdam glass, organic pig tower for The Hague. The share experience in this area that TransForum was set up in 2005. the idea, but the division between town docklands. Under the design produced by designers of this City Pig have calculated to be made here, rural businesses will Wageningen UR, this would involve three that The Hague annually consumes some (not for farmers) and country (for farmers) have to organise with each other and with Now, six years later, we know how to tackle this process. We have seen how things can go well and low pig ‘flats’ covering four hectares: the 300,000 pigs, and that 0.6 square kilome- how they can go wrong. By concentrating at this point on innovation in the agrosector, the no longer makes much sense in our ‘urban’ parties that they used to have lower floors for mushrooms, two further tres would be required to provide organic Netherlands can set itself apart with a clean, low energy, environment-friendly and efficient crowded country. This is clear from the little to do with, such as care service floors for housing some 114,000 pigs, and quarters for them, at least if the pig pens system of production. This will leave us with an export product of world class. rising tension between farmers who want providers, supermarkets, universities, then vegetable glasshouses on the roofs. were not stacked. to expand and the general public who tourist information offices and societal The site would also contain a slaughter- The New Mixed Farm in Grubbenhorst in Together we possess the knowledge, possibilities and energy to realise this ambition. We have want peace and quiet, nature and a groups. house and a manure- and compost- the province of Limburg is a planned however also come to realise that innovative entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector are unable to beautiful landscape. Better that we get processing plant producing biogas, clean agropark with sheds for over one million do this on their own: expensive investments constitute an undue financial risk for them. water and fertiliser pellets. There turned chickens and 35,000 pigs, a chicken used to metropolitan agriculture – farming There is no other way. Urbanisation has Conclusion: the market is failing here. Your ministry is able to bring all the stakeholders together out, however, to be too much public oppo- slaughterhouse and a biogas plant that is through an intermediary that takes initiatives. in urban areas. led to urban norms and values (nature, sition to these ‘pig flats’. now waiting on an environmental permit high animal welfare, beautiful landscape) The opponents do not want any intensive (see page 6). The initiative-takers hope Illustration architectenbureau MVRDV By spurring others on you hold the key in your hands. You are able to show how things should be The characteristic of metropolitan also becoming dominant in the country- livestock farming in the Netherlands (or in that the nearby California glasshouse area done and to challenge others to follow suit. That innovation is possible in this way has been agriculture is that farmers produce side, in so far as the countryside still their backyard). The advocates of agro- will link up with the New Mixed Farm. The demonstrated by the TransForum programme. products and provide services for towns- exists. Farmers have to ‘earn’ their right to parks with pigs, including TransForum, are result would be the first effectively operat- people and townspeople come to the however continuing to stress the advan- ing sustainable agropark in the Nether- exist again by taking this into account. Now that this opportunity is so clearly at hand we are relying on you to make full use of it. tages: pigs produce valuable heat and lands. farmer. In itself that’s not new, of course. And many town and city dwellers do not carbon dioxide and they eat fruit, vegeta- Herman de Boon One-in-nine farmers already earn income want their food to come from hundreds of ble and garden waste that would otherwise he film ‘City Pig’ by the ‘public and ecolog- Chairman, Stichting TransForum Agro&Groen from multifunctional agriculture (camp kilometres away, because then it is not have to be incinerated or composted. ical pig farm’ for The Hague may be seen Prof.dr. Rudy Rabbinge sites, care farms and farm shops, for fresh and has to be transported excessive Housing pigs near the city – with a slaugh- on Chairman, Supervisory Board instance). What is new, however, is the distances unnecessarily.
  3. 3. ExpErimEnt KoELandErij ‘The newest filter was Dairy farmers Bouke Durk and Berend Jan Wilms of Schoonebeek in the province of Drenthe want to expand from 220 to 1200 cows. Not, however, by not on the list, of course’ Photo Ineke Key adding further cramped cubicles with concrete floors where cows can pick up hoof and claw disor- ders. With the aid of organisations such as Wageningen UR, they want to set up a ‘KoeLanderij’ or Bovine Estate. The plan is innovative: on their plot of 20 hectares herds of 60 cows get their own space under ‘fly- ing’ roofs (see picture of the design) with natural litter consisting for example of cow manure, a mixture of dried reed, clay dredgings and sand, or wood chipping and sawdust floors with which Wageningen UR is currently experimenting. Each cow now has an area of 20 square metres in the stalls instead of the usual five or six. The brothers want wherever possible to substitute cereals grown in Drenthe for imported concentrated feed (soya). They also want to sell the used litter con- taining manure to Drentse horticulturalists for soil improvement. Just what the KoeLanderij will look like the Wilms brothers don’t yet know. ‘We are going to submit various designs to the local community,’ says Berend Jan. ‘Do the local residents want foot- paths? May the stalls be visible? Local residents will also be designing a Bovine Estate in work- shops themselves.’ If so desired the brothers will be able to supply a meadow with cows. But a maximum of 40 cows Henk van Latesteijn, general manager of TransForum, believes can be run on their 20 hectares, so that most of the animals will have to spend all their time in the that we need to give farmers more scope to experiment with stalls. The Animal Protection Foundation contin- more sustainable greenhouses and housing for livestock. ‘If we ues to take the view that each cow should be able to go outside, says staff member Bert van den begin now in Brabant with five experimental pig farms, then Berg. But spending the whole year round in an there’s bound to be one that is good.’ open-plan cowshed is not a problem for the cow, P assures Bouke Durk Wilms. ‘Natural stall litter is ermits that are refused, local gov- are temporarily exempted from the current equally as comfortable as lying in a meadow. And ernment departments with their regulations. That does not mean they are in a shed it never gets too hot or too cold.’ On an own agendas or distrust in the free to do what they like. In the experimen- excursion in Israel the Wilmsen saw for them- chain: innovative projects can be forced to tal space they make agreements about the selves how satisfied cows were in an open-plan sail against a strong wind, TransForum has land, the duration and the ultimate objec- shed of this kind. observed. If it were up to general manager tives. For example, to have five new higher The Drenthe dairy farmers are seeking a special Henk van Latesteijn, the solution to these animal welfare and more environmentally- building permit. This will probably be required, as impasses would be sought in a special ‘ex- friendly pig farms in Brabant within four the present open-plan sheds do not as yet comply perimental space’ for sustainable agricul- years. Then there’s bound to be one that with all the statutory environmental require- ture. ‘In that experimental space there are really is good, and new regulations can be ments. The obligatory ammonia scrubbers have four active parties,’ he explains. ‘Knowl- based on that. If one of the farmers decides no point in open-plan stalls, while in conventional edge institutions, governmental bodies, to go back to business-as-usual during the cowsheds nitrogen-containing gases such as am- societal organisations and businesses. All experimental phase - something that cam- monia and nitrous oxide can be kept under control four must suspend their normal good sense paign groups often fear - then that farm much better. The Wageningen researchers are to allow the experimental space to function.’ comes back under the current regulations.’ These cows are in the integrated sustainable cowshed of ‘De Klaverhof’, in Moerdijk, run by Marc and Ingrid Havermans. It allows the however trying to design open-plan cowsheds cows plenty of space to move around. combined with an advanced litter system and ventilation. That this is possible has however still Van Latesteijn has been general manager of TransForum for six years. Before that he What demands would that place on the par- ticipating parties? What do we stand to gain from this? The new style of cowshed (known as an IDV-stal in Dutch) has a soft comfortable floor of sustainable dried manure, and the building itself is ‘The government would have to be able to Photo Marc Havermans to be demonstrated. worked for the Advisory Council on Govern- spacious, light and well-ventilated. There is more than twice the space per cow than in ‘traditional’ cubicle stalls. These cowsheds provide a very high standard of animal health and On account of all these uncertainties the brothers ment Policy (the WWR) and the Ministry of suspend the rules temporarily subject to cer- are not ruling out the possibility of a new cubicle Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. Be- tain conditions. Societal organisations would welfare, so cows can again exhibit their natural herd behaviour. cowshed. Berend Jan: ‘But I’m assuming we’ll get fore the formation of TransForum, in 2004, have to convert their objections into design approval for an open-plan shed.’ he says people had been talking about sus- requirements and above all else say what tainable agriculture for 20 years. A number they do want. Researchers would have to of prominent figures in science, industry collaborate more with the farmers; only thenVaried cycling in the Groene Woud and government felt at that time that would they find out what knowledge is real- ‘round thE tabLE with mEmbErs of thE pubLiC’ something needed to be done. ‘They were saying: we need to stop talking and do ly essential to innovation. But for that to happen the universities would have to mod- Farmers and the general public are current- er how such an agricultural sector can fit something. It’s by doing that you find out ernise their research assessment exercise ly on opposing sides in the debate about into our densely populated environment.’ what really works.’ and stop judging researchers purely on the intensive livestock farming. According to number of papers they publish.’ Gerard van Oosten, director of ZLTO, an or- Van Oosten approves of the plea for room Where is the evidence for this lack of room‘W ee are trying to create an at- strawberries to a multi-day cycling event ganisation representing agricultural and to experiment. ‘With that space we can to experiment And the farmers? Photo Gijs Ooms tractive area in which the cy- and a day of canoeing with French fries. horticultural businesses in the south of the gain inspiration and try out sustainable ‘At Grubbenvorst near Venlo, for example, ‘They should be rewarded for their pioneer- clist sees something different The farms are only awarded a Groene Netherlands, this is because the relation- projects. Otherwise we won’t achieve any two pig farmers and a chicken farmer have ing efforts. Most agricultural businesses areat each turn: cows in the meadow, pollard- Woud licence if they do something for the ship between members of the public and breakthroughs. been working with an installation compa- small and medium-sized enterprises. If theyed willows, a profusion of flowers on the landscape. The regional promotion fund or farmers and growers has broken down. He ny for a number of years to try to get the stick their necks out to innovate and it fails,edge of a field.’ This is the vision of straw- Streekfonds – set up with the aid of the acknowledges some blame for this himself. ‘New Mixed Farm’ agropark off the ground they go out of business. If they succeed,berry grower Frans van Beerendonk from Rabobank – is already receiving enough ‘For a long time the agricultural sector was The RDM Campus, in Rotterdam, is a fine example of a site where students (see also p.3, Ed.). The farmers failed to get then others will copy their success within aBest and the initiator behind the ‘Groene money to provide annual support for proj- mainly interested in technological im- and companies collaborate in an open environment in developing new permits for units incorporating more effec- year. That excessive risk should not rest onWoud’. The Groene Woud or Green Forest ects totalling 200,000 euros. provements. And the public do not really economic activities in the Building, Moving & Powering markets: tive air cleaning filters because these filters the shoulders of the farmers alone.’is the name for the countryside between ‘I have always maintained that nature, the know the value of agricultural production.’ sustainable and innovative solutions in construction, mobility and energy. were not on the permitted list. That wasTilburg, Den Bosch and Eindhoven. Some economy and culture go hand-in-hand,’ hardly surprising, because they were new. Who should finance these innovative busi-ten years ago Van Beerendonk – also a Van Beerendonk explains the success. ‘And A farmer needs to have a ‘name’ and a A planned underground pipeline to take nesses then?board member of the Dutch Organization also that we need to listen to one another ‘face’ again. Through an open day, for in- away the manure was not permitted ei- ‘We need a fund for these experiments thatfor Agriculture and Horticulture LTO – and that we all in fact have the same goal, stance. ‘I was recently talking to a poultry ther, because it was not covered by the industry, banks and the government allrealised that most farmers in his region namely finding markets as entrepreneurs. A farmer who had expanded his business current regulations, as under the regula- contribute to. If an innovation is success-were no longer able to expand: something number of farmers in our region manage to without many problems. He had held an tions in this country manure has to be tak- ful, then they get part of their money back.which the Alterra Institute of Wageningen produce for the world market, but most open day before construction started, and en away in tankers. And there were more So the government can participate insteadhad also demonstrated rigorously. Urban have to make a choice between moving another one when it was finished. In all, obstacles. Campaign groups gathered sig- of giving subsidies.’dwellers don’t welcome maize fields or pig- elsewhere or finding new markets. I have al- 350 people turned up.’ natures on petitions against mega sheds,sties. They want a varied landscape. Beer- so always emphasised that city-dwellers while the size of a farm tells us nothing What makes an experiment a success?endonk did not want to leave this inevita- must get the idea that their environs are ‘We need to get around the table with about its sustainability. But people dug ‘When businesses come on board and theble new configuration of the landscape to their back-garden – a well-maintained hin- members of the public to talk about the im- their heels in.’ innovation becomes standard practice. Wepoliticians and policymakers: together terland for which we are jointly responsible.’ portance of a healthy agricultural sector had to work hard for four years on thewith other entrepreneurs, he took the area The Groene Woud provides a model for sim- for the environment, the landscape and bi- What would be your idea of an experimental Rondeel system for keeping hens. It took adevelopment into his own hands. ilar initiatives in the Netherlands, such as odiversity. Then the sector can set to work space? lot of perseverance by all parties and atAlong with Cork in Ireland, the Eifel and MijnBoer and the Northern Friesian Woods. to deliver those values. If people really ‘Businesses, researchers, governmental first we could not find anywhere to buildTuscany, the Groene Woud is now among Representatives from the EU Commission think that welfare, production conditions bodies and societal organisations working the new type of hen house. But one hasthe leading examples in Europe of ‘region also come and look. But Van Beerendonk and our carbon footprint are important, we together devise several types of glasshouses, been built now, a second one is under con-branding’. Some 80 Brabant farms now does not think that much can be copied. will have to produce our food in north-west livestock housing or chains and try them struction, and numbers three, four and fivesell products and events to Groene Woud, ‘Each region has its own characteristics.’ Europe, and we will have to decide togeth- out to see what works. The farms are given are coming. The next step is to export the Foto Pieter Magielsen © NFP Photograpyranging from regional milk, bread and a ‘special status’ which means that they complete system.’