The breeding museum ‘Sow to Grow’ receives help from the province of North Holland

Not many people know it, but the Netherlands is a world player in plant breeding and seed distribution. The province of North Holland recently opened a new museum that focuses on this with exhibitions and educational programs: Sow to grow.

A grant from the province of Noord-Holland is being used to strengthen marketing and communication and increase visitor numbers.

Sow to Grow is located in the beautiful, historic building of the former orphanage in the heart of Enkhuizen, as the successor to the Saet en Cruyt Museum in Andijk. “In the old framework, the focus was primarily on history,” says board member Tom Venneman. “With the new museum, we also look emphatically at the present and the future.”

Important, says member of the Education Committee and fundraiser Jan Timmerman. After all, plant breeding is about the (further) development of plants and crops so that they meet people’s wishes and needs as closely as possible. “In this age of increasing population growth and climate change, the role of plants is becoming increasingly important. Plant breeding improves the quality and quantity of food for humans and animals, but also improves the quality of life on our planet.”

There is pride in both gentlemen. They are now retired, but before that they were active in plant breeding for many years. “We think it is special that the Netherlands is a major player in this field and therefore makes an important contribution to the world’s food supply.”

Experience, experience and experience
A visit to Sow to Grow is a real experience. With digital tools, visitors can discover, experience and experience the world of plant breeding and seeds for themselves. In addition to the general public and professionals, the target group consists of students. Every week, students from grade 7 in the primary school walk through the museum. “We hope to be able to inspire and interest them in this subject. The sector can use many people. Not only for breeding itself, but also in technology, HR, finance and other domains.”

Because the sector is relatively reserved and does little public communication, Sow to Grow takes on this role. Various companies from the industry now sponsor the museum.

Project ahead
At the beginning of 2022, a marketing and communication plan saw the light. “People always walk out the door enthusiastically,” explains project manager Jan van Berkel. “The visitor numbers are, however, somewhat behind. With the plan, we have therefore come up with ideas to do something about it.”

The grant, which Sow to Grow successfully applied for and now receives monthly in installments, allows the museum to carry out the plan. “It covers 80% of the costs, which is significant. We have received commitments from the municipality and Rabobank for the remaining 20 per cent. The future project, as we call it, is financially complete.”

Sow to Grow will first have the message thoroughly thought through, and will then present itself in all possible ways and address new visitor groups. “We are thinking, among other things, about more and better use of social media. We can now hire expertise for that. With this support, we hope to reach more high school students, for example, and more potential visitors from outside the region.”

How important is the grant to So to Grow? Timmerman: “It is important to be able to implement the ideas from our marketing and communication plan in the short term. But by extension, it is about more than that. Our daily operations are supported by sponsors. They would like to know from us how the situation is with the number of visitors. If we attract more visitors with our plans, we are more likely to retain the support of our sponsors. So the grant also helps us to ensure Sow to Grow’s continued existence in the long term.”

Venneman recalls the dark days of corona lockdowns, when museums had to close their doors and lost their income. “There was support for museums, but as a small museum we did not meet the criteria that applied here. For a long time we have not received anything from the state, province or municipality. Fortunately, the municipality took a step later, and we now also get this subsidy from the province. It gives the citizen courage again!”

Source: Province of North Holland

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