From growing fresh fruits and vegetables to harvesting, packaging and selling, it’s all happening at BoereGoed and it’s how this Dutch greenhouse is keeping the food chain as short as possible. “The beauty of it is that we actually supply our own stores from our own greenhouse.”
BoereGoed is an initiative by people for people. The greenhouse is the hub of the initiative. This is where volunteers come together, people work, learn and enjoy themselves. The fresh fruit and vegetables are grown in the greenhouse, as well as provided by other local growers. The fresh and organic produce is sold in a webshop, a shop in the greenhouse, several farm shops and as part of a ‘Fruit at Work’ program, delivered to companies on request.
BoereGoed beliefs local and healthy food can connect people. That’s why everybody is welcome to work at the greenhouse or to contribute as a volunteer. “We have an excellent network of people and companies that help us maintain the greenhouse. We focus on diversity; providing attractive work and also an appealing assortment for our customers. We also have many volunteers, who each get a piece of garden. We see the number of volunteers growing constantly”, explains manager Fred Mattern.
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Although BoereGoed does most of the work internally, the greenhouse also works together with other local growers. “We offer a fair price for everyone, throughout the whole chain.” Knowing where their produce is coming from is crucial for BoereGoed. “We know the growers, we know the farmers, we know ourselves. That’s why we can offer a responsible product. We exclusively work with organic products, so we hardly need weed and pest control. When necessary, we only use bio spray agents and we use all kinds of critters for pest control, so we can keep crop protection as low as possible.”
Reducing food miles
The produce grown and sold by BoereGoed doesn’t need to travel for hundreds or thousands of miles before reaching the consumer’s plate. Lowering food miles is an important step in reducing both greenhouse gasses as well as food waste. It also encourages customers to buy seasonal products. “Just what is available right now. Seasonal and local.”
Scale up potential
BoereGoed is an inspiring example of what happens when local growers and citizens team up. Fred is optimistic that what’s done at BoereGoed can be done in many other places. “What happens here may be on a small scale, but this could happen in every community. You don’t have to get all your produce from the same greenhouse. But wherever possible, get it from your own neighborhood. It’s better for the environment, it’s more sustainable, it’s better for the human body and for the economy.”
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Header image: BoereGoed