A Herenboerderij is a sustainably managed, small-scale, cooperative business. Citizens are joint owners of the farm. They purchase or lease agricultural land and contribute to the costs involved in getting the farm up and running. The Herenboerderij is financially independent. The Herenboeren share all the costs incurred in running the business. Members of the cooperative appoint a farmer as the manager and are responsible for paying his or her wage. This guarantees the farmer access to land and its long-term use. As the farmer shares the financial burden with members of the cooperative, it is still feasible for him or her to jointly invest in the cooperative. Cultivation is the responsibility of the farmer, who also organises how the land is worked. This takes place in consultation with the board of directors, which represents the members. Together they plot the farm’s course and determine the cultivation plan. The Herenboeren collectively decide what they want to eat and how the food is produced. This facilitates demand-driven production as the entire harvest is distributed between the members.
A Herenboerderij enables consumers to opt for an alternative, more sustainable food system as joint investors. Herenboeren eat locally produced and seasonal food. They are consumers with greater knowledge of the facts. The first Herenboerderij was set up in the Wilhelminapark in Boxtel, the Netherlands. There are now eight Herenboerderijen operating in the Netherlands. However, the potential is far greater. Besides the eight pioneers there are another dozen or so cooperatives that aim to set up a Herenboerderij. The list of potential initiators and interested people is growing across the Netherlands as a whole.
cultural change, solidarity, good citizenship, financing
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photo: Herenboeren Nederland, Boxtel 2019
photo: Herenboeren Nederland, Herenboeren Groote Modderkolk, Loenen Op De Veluwe 2019
photo: Herenboeren Nederland