New shops bring regional products to the center of Leiden

The collection point for Rechtstreex in Galerie Café de Leidse Lente (Photo: Rechtstreex)

There are several farms and producers in the Leiden region, but the residents of Leiden do not always know where to find their local products. Two new stores are opening their doors in Leiden this month and will bring these local products to the center of Leiden. With the aim of working on a sustainable, local and transparent food chain.

By bringing regional products to the city, the new Rechtstreex and Oogst stores aim to make sustainable shopping opportunities available to Leiden consumers. By keeping the supply chain short, customers can easily get information about how the food is grown. It is not only good for the customers but also for the farmer. With more sales, they get the opportunity and space to become more sustainable in a profitable way.

The purpose of the new stores is the same, the store form is different. At the Rechtstreex district you can order your groceries online. District chef Hugo makes sure that the groceries are ready for you on Wednesday afternoon in Galerie Café Leidse Lente. Oogst is an unmanned store on Maresingel, where you can do your shopping every day. The store fills up with fresh items three times a week. You open the store door with your app. When you are ready, enter in the app what you have put in the basket and pay. A camera checks if it is correct.

Short chain
The short chain between manufacturer and customers is very important for both stores. “The short chain allows our customers to make a conscious choice,” says Hugo van der Haak. He has been managing the District Point of Rechtstreex for two weeks, in addition to his other activities for this company. “If you look at our website, you can see who makes the products and how they do it. For example, some customers want to order organic, others use low packaging. We offer customers the freedom to choose in this regard. ”

Hugo van der Haak in the Rechtstreex district. (Photo: Rechtstreex)

Rechtstreex started a few years ago in Rotterdam and has neighborhood points throughout South Holland. The producers are located within a radius of 50 kilometers around the distribution centers in Rotterdam and The Hague: transport costs are therefore low. Cost transparency is very important for Rechtstreex. “The farmer or producer determines the price at which he or she can continue his or her business in an economically sustainable way. In addition, Rechtstreex has a standard margin to cover logistics costs. On the website you can see exactly what part of the price goes to the farmer. ”

Regenerative agriculture
Oogst opens its first store in Leiden this week: The official opening is on Sunday. That Leiden is the site of the first store is due to the fact that the founders Fennie Landsbergen and Joost van Schie found each other in their quest to make regenerative agriculture profitable. This is a sustainable way of farming, where the health of the earth is central, by letting nature do its work and not use poison.

Fennie had become interested in this kind of agriculture during her previous work in Africa and wanted to see if she could also contribute to this in the Netherlands. She discovered that the lack of an income model was an important bottleneck for farmers: Nature-inclusive agriculture costs more time and money, after all. With Oogst, she is trying to create a revenue model.

Joost van Schie is a farmer on the farm De Eenzaam, located in the Zwanburgerpolder in the middle of Kagerplassen. Joost is just figuring out how the family business can produce milk and cheese in a regenerative way. In addition, he is now working with Fennie to establish the first harvest store: Joost will run the first store and stock it with products from various producers in the region.

Fennie Lansbergen in front of the new Høstbutik. (Photo: Maurice Hettfleisch)

The harvest shop should take work and worries out of the hands of the farmer. “A lot of farmers are already trying to sell a lot locally, but it obviously takes a lot of time,” Fennie says. “Farmers often have to take care of the local supplies themselves. Because we collect the products on the farm, we take that concern away from them. ” Various regional products will be available in the Harvest Shop. Products from the country, such as dairy, vegetables and fruit, but also bread, ice cream and Pronck beer.

No competitors
Despite the fact that Rechtstreex and Oogst both offer the same products, they do not see each other as competitors. “The initiators of Oogst are more like colleagues,” says Hugo. “We are working towards the same goal.” Fennie completely agrees: “I think it’s important that more ‘short-chain initiatives’ emerge, because it’s just fun to buy close by, and it was not very easy to do that yet.”

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