In recent weeks, almost 100 initiatives have been registered from Fryslân, Drenthe and Groningen, which try to make the world we live in a little better. Once by the creators themselves, another time by an enthusiastic fan.
From small private projects to business access. At least everyone with the idea of inspiring others and / or copying the idea. A jury has selected the sustainable thirty from the entries, which go on to the public round. This week we present the lucky ones. These are nominated 13 to 18.
Since 2017, she has been toying with the idea of taking up the fight against plastic in the bathroom. Dorien Beijk started her plastic-free cosmetics brand Loofy’s in 2019, which is now available in around a hundred stores and can be ordered via the internet.
According to Beijk, the bathroom is an area where a lot of plastic is used. “And it’s not just about the plastic bottles, tubes or boxes, but also the micro and nanoplastics that are in shampoo, liquid soap and toothpaste.”
Manufacturers use these small particles as cheap fillers or for the abrasive effect in toothpaste or scrubs. “It is actually crazy that all this is allowed under Dutch and European rules. It is absorbed into our body. ”
The demand for plastic-free cosmetic products has risen sharply recently due to much publicity. “There are also several studies of its effects on the human body.”
As an alternative to liquid soap and shampoo, Loofy’s sells a block of shampoo and a soap. At 9.95 euros, such a shampoo bar seems expensive, but it lasts as long as three bottles of shampoo. There is already a lot of water in it and therefore also plastic particles. ”
Who: Dorien Beijk of Loofy’s
What: Sell plastic-free bathroom products
Measure: Remove plastic from the bathroom.
It is a green oasis in the Oostwold. You imagine yourself there, on a classic Groningen farm, in the middle of nowhere. And, says Jorik Degenkamp, you can go straight into the wilderness. At least it seems so. In fact, it is a food forest, with nut trees, fruit trees, herbs, berry bushes and edible perennials.
In fact, his father started with walnut trees fifteen years ago. And in the years that followed with apple and pear trees. The fruits of this can already be harvested. “This is our big lead”, says Degenkamp. “And we have planted a lot in the last year. A food forest is always evolving. We can already harvest, and it will only increase in the coming years. ”
A true ‘harvest’ in Oostwold is the ultimate goal. “A place for education and gastronomy. My wife and I want to realize a small restaurant in two and a half to three years. We want to process what we grow in our dishes. With this, we will show what is possible in relation to sustainable cultivation. And everything that does not grow in our area, we get from the neighborhood. ”
The couple still lives in Nijmegen, where he works as a chef at a restaurant and she as a manager in a wine bar. This summer they will move to the Nordic countries. “We have a big heart for nature and want to make a real positive impact.”
Who: Jorik Degenkamp and Bauke Kemperman, Oogstwold
What: a ‘gourmet’ food forest
Since: May 2021
Goal: to grow and cook with sustainable, local products
The Netherlands is an agricultural country par excellence with great knowledge of the sector. Still, one million people live below the poverty line and it is difficult for them to eat healthy, says Loraine Westerneng, coordinator of the Social and Vital Foundation in Nieuwehorne. A number of entrepreneurs therefore decided in early 2021 to join forces for this group of people and establish a social self-harvest garden. “Because it has no future to make money and not contribute anything to the environment. You also have a responsibility to add something to the region. ”
About a hundred families can harvest their own fruits and vegetables in the 1.5-hectare social self-harvest garden, the first in the Netherlands. The initiative also works together with Fødevarebanken Heerenveen, where two hundred families get food from the garden. “Because the food bank often does not have fresh vegetables at all, or at least not of this quality.”
Many households that use the self-harvesting garden in Nieuwehorne do not only come to harvest fruit and vegetables, says Westerneng. “The social aspect is also important. Together with their children, they come to harvest, learn how vegetables grow and make new contacts. A number of people have also become volunteers.
Several municipalities have already shown interest in the initiative. They also want to set up the concept elsewhere – in the long run. But this year, the “young but ambitious” fund first focuses on optimizing its own garden.
Social and Vital Foundation
Who: Social and Vital Foundation
What: Social self-harvest garden for vulnerable families from Heerenveen municipality
Objective: To support families living on a minimal budget with a varied selection of fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs.
To put it bluntly, Sandra Ronde says she runs a webshop. One that makes it as easy as possible to get your weekly groceries from local farmers. Super fresh, sustainably produced and at a fair price.
“In this way, you make it better for yourself, your immediate environment and ultimately the entire planet,” says Ronde. She founded De Streekboer in 2015. De Streekboer gets pretty much everything for the warehouse or fridge from fifty suppliers from Groningen, Fryslân and Norddrenthe: from vegetables, fruit and dairy products to bread, meat, fish, cakes, wine and beer. Customers can pick up their orders nearby or have them delivered home.
It costs a little more than in the ‘normal’ supermarket. New customers do not always understand it. “Then we explain how we work,” says Ronde. “We ask the farmer what his or her cost price is and we pay a little extra on top of that.” It gives the farmer another chance to make his business more sustainable.
De Streekboer now has about three thousand customers. Ronde would like the whole of North Holland to order groceries directly from the farmer. ,, I think it’s really rich every time you get such a box filled with fresh things. Much better than walking through the supermarket with your sour head after work. ”
The local farmer
Who: The local farmer
What: An online supermarket where you can order groceries from farmers in northern Holland
Objective: To encourage people to eat locally and sustainably and to raise awareness of the price of food
Kootstertille and Eastermar
Biodiversity is declining rapidly. They believe that it is not possible to do anything at Ynnatura, the foundation for companies committed to preserving and developing the Frisian landscape. A world can be won, especially in industrial areas where concrete and asphalt prevail. “There you can really make a difference”, says project manager Theun Wiersma. ,, But yes, how do you approach it as a company. Knowledge and manpower are often lacking. ”
Entrepreneurs do. That is not the case, says Wiersma. Ynnatura, together with an organic agency, has developed a format with which companies can make a ‘biodiversity sketch’. “The format can be used anywhere, regardless of the size of the site,” says Wiersma. Everything is possible: from placing fruit trees and nest boxes, to creating a pond or planting shrubs. “Good for insects, good for the Frisian nature.”
An experiment is underway in industrial areas near Kootstertille and Eastermar, which involve nine companies and the municipalities of Achtkarspelen and Tytsjerksteradiel. The greenery is already visible, says Wiersma. Municipalities can also use the format in the public space. “It can be used quickly.”
His wish? “That in a while, all companies will be working on biodiversity.” The plan or format can be downloaded for free from Ynnatura’s website.
Who: Ynnatura Foundation, project manager Theun Wiersma
What: a format for businesses that they can go green with
Where: Kootstertille and Eastermar (but applies everywhere)
Since: the end of 2020
Goal: more biodiversity in business parks
The concept for Coöperatie GOED from Groningen is simple. Solar panels are placed on empty roofs or on meadows, and the profits are used to give people a helping hand. “Many households could not become more sustainable and install solar panels on their roofs,” says Musetta Blaauw of GOED. “Because their roof is in the shade, they may not make a decision about their rental home or have no money for it.”
By filling large empty roofs and producing sustainable electricity, the cooperative helps to reduce the social disadvantage for people. “The knife cuts both ways.” In addition, the organization also encourages households to become more sustainable themselves with small steps.
For a while, it was hard to tell our story, Blaauw explains. The cooperative gives the profit away for free to people who need it. “People would always ask, ‘What is the catch?’ But that catch is not there. A commercial party can also give profits away. It’s a choice. ”
The first solar cell roof will be connected to the grid in April 2022, and a handful of projects will follow in the coming months. All but one are located in northern Holland. In addition, there is another initiative in Assen to build a solar meadow. GOED hopes to be able to pay out the first money for the winter. “We will sit down with the Food Bank of Humanitas to get the money for people who need it most.”
Who: Cooperative GOOD
What: Development of sustainable electricity projects
Goal: Generate green energy throughout the Netherlands and share the benefits between households and social organizations that can use it.