On a Herenboerderij consumers invest in their own food supply. Citizens-Herenboeren join forces to collectively purchase or lease agricultural land. They recruit a farmer to run the business and together they determine what food will be grown and how. The farm is thus a business run by local residents.

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.

partners and actors
Stichting Doen
food, biodiversity
innovative aspects
cultural change, solidarity, good citizenship, financing
district, street, site

View of Herenboerderij Wilhelminapark
Herenboerderij Wilhelminapark not only grows fruit and vegetables, but also has a herd of 12 cattle to meet the demand of 175 households.

Working on biodiversity
articleWorking on biodiversity
Wageningen University & Research puts Herenboeren in the spotlight as a practice that can be effectively scaled up. Not just due to the innovative cooperation model, but to combat biodiversity loss.

Working on biodiversity

photo: WUR University, 2019

Bird's eye view of the Herenboerderij Wilhelminapark
imageBird's eye view of the Herenboerderij Wilhelminapark
The first Herenboerderij leases 20 hectares of agricultural land in the Wilhelminapark located between Boxtel, Vught and Sint-Michielsgestel.

Bird's eye view of the Herenboerderij Wilhelminapark

photo: Herenboeren Nederland, Boxtel 2019

General Assembly Herenboerderij Wilhelminapark
imageGeneral Assembly Herenboerderij Wilhelminapark
Farm becomes a business run by local residents! During the general meeting, members collectively determine the cultivation plan for Herenboerderij Groote Modderkolk once or twice a year.

General Assembly Herenboerderij Wilhelminapark

photo: Herenboeren Nederland, Herenboeren Groote Modderkolk, Loenen Op De Veluwe 2019

Mapping of herenboerderijen in execution and start-up
imageMapping of herenboerderijen in execution and start-up
Nine Herenboerderijen have already been running in the Netherlands since 2016, collectively feeding over 1,500 households. Twenty new Herenboerderijen are currently being set up!

Mapping of herenboerderijen in execution and start-up

photo: Herenboeren Nederland

articleRural pioneers
VPRO picks up the Herenboeren foundation as one of the ‘Rural Pioneers’ implementing radical change in agricultural and nature policy in light of climate change.

photo: PRO