A financing of DKK 1 million. EUR from the Triodos Regenerative Money Center enables Herenboeren Nederland to accelerate the transition to nature-inclusive agriculture. The Herenboeren wants to realize 350 farms throughout the country by 2030, each supplying approximately 200 to 270 households with locally produced food.
The Herenboeren community includes more than 10,000 households in 10 years
Herenboeren Nederland supports citizens in the development of the nature-driven cooperative Herenboerderijen. These are mixed farms of +/- 20 hectares, each supplying 200-270 households (approx. 500 mouths) with vegetables, fruit, meat and eggs. Since 2013, 14 of these mixed cooperatives Herenfarme have started all over the country.
In addition, another 35 initiative groups of citizens are busy setting up their Herenboerderij. Of these, 9 will most likely start in 2023 (see this map). Next year, the year Herenboeren Nederland turns 10, the Herenboeren community will consist of more than 10,000 households.
With its rapidly growing national network of agriculture, Herenboeren shows that the production of our daily food can be done differently, better and, above all, more sustainably. She sees great opportunities for these cooperative farms, where the members (citizens) are owners, entrepreneurs, producers and consumers. The goal is 350 Herenboerderijen or similar concepts by 2030.
Speeds up the food transition together
Herenboeren Nederland is also engaged in the agricultural and food transformation on a broad social level. Because the task we face in the Netherlands is much bigger, deeper and wider. Herenboeren Nederland is actively building an ecosystem of partner organizations to accelerate the transition to the Dutch food chain. Initiatives partly initiated by Herenboeren Nederland:
- Aardpeer foundation, for affordable access to (rental) land;
- Boerenraad and Caring Farmers, network of farmers and gardeners working together for systemic change in agriculture. NB: Last week Caring Farmers was the winner of the Trouw Sustainable Top 100;
- The places and the first physical ‘Place’ De Kleine Aarde in Boxtel: a knowledge and innovation center to give citizens and farmers tools for a (personal) transition to a regenerative food system.
Together with its partner initiatives, Herenboeren brings the Netherlands closer to sustainable food production. She initiates and conducts research, educates farmers and makes proposals for changes to laws and regulations. Through Caring Farmers and Boerenraad, Herenboeren Nederland is also actively thinking together with the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality about the sustainable restructuring of the food chain.
Triodos Regenerative Money Center (TRMC), part of Triodos Bank, supports transition accelerators by prioritizing natural and social returns, enabling cutting-edge initiatives to grow. TRMC lends to and invests in ground-breaking and ground-breaking initiatives to regenerate our communities and our planet. TRMC also donates to social initiatives, even if the result is uncertain or cannot be directly expressed in financial value. TRMC already worked in 2020 and 2021 together with Herenboeren on the establishment of the partner initiative Aardpeer.
What is a “Men’s Farm”?
A Herenboerderij in 2022 is a small, mixed and nature-driven* enterprise owned by a cooperative of 200-270 households. The shareholders are the direct purchasers of the products. The farmer is an agricultural manager. This farmer is employed by Herenboeren Nederland and is seconded to the local cooperative. Disappointing harvests are held by the cooperative, so the farmer is guaranteed a stable and reasonable income.
A Herenboerderij is a mixed farm where most of the working time is spent growing vegetables, but also growing fruit and raising livestock. The farm consists of about 20 ha, of which on average 4 ha is vegetable cultivation, 1-2 ha fruit, 40 pigs, 250 chickens and sometimes a number of cows. The 3 pillars and 7 principles of a Herenboerderij are described here.
*Manors are not affiliated with the Skal quality label, because they only produce for their own sales market of the affiliated households. They therefore do not use the term ‘organic’. Instead, they talk about a ‘nature-driven’ or ‘nature-inclusive’ working method.
A sustainable future starts at the bottom
Founder and CEO Geert van der Veer of Herenboeren Nederland: “Herenboeren wants to make it possible for all citizens of the Netherlands to connect with their food and help make farmland healthy, restore biodiversity and preserve nature for future generations. US
Herenboeren does this by establishing and supporting as many nature-run Herenboerderijen as possible. But we go further than that. The agricultural crisis is also connected to our biodiversity crisis, the challenges surrounding water in the Netherlands, environmental and climate problems and even our health crisis. We need to tackle this integrated with each other, and it starts at the bottom.”
Strong match between Herenboeren’s mission and Triodo’s Regenerative Money Center
Liesbeth Soer, director of Catalytic Investments at TRMC: “There is a strong match between Herenboeren’s and TRMC’s mission. Herenboeren’s approach and determination match the way we see the food transition. We both want to encourage responsible use of (agricultural) land and bring farmers and citizens closer together to reconnect with our food (and a healthy soil). Herenboeren’s model is more applicable in the Netherlands. Together with the large network and coalition formation with the right parties, it ensures that the Herenboeren plays an important role in the transition to a healthy food system. We are very happy to be able to support Herenboeren in this phase.”
About Triodo’s Regenerative Money Center
Triodo’s Regenerative Money Center (TRMC) supports transition accelerators through investments, loans and donations. New models that contribute to the regeneration of nature and our society, and which have the potential to change the course of an entire sector. Because these ground-breaking initiatives do not always fit into the traditional financial system, TRMC is changing the criteria. By prioritizing natural and social returns, ground-breaking initiatives are given the opportunity to grow.