On Thursday 20 of June, the Circular Farming Platform had its second episode of the series “Together towards circular farming”, with as guest speaker small-scale dairy farmer Roel van Buuren, from the farm Landlust. Roel told us about his diversified farm and his perspective on the problems of our current food system, and his own vision of circular farming and what it should be, and the future of farming.
Roel runs a dairy farm in Maasland (near Rotterdam), with 50 Jersey cows, 150 chickens and 58 432 234 worms in the soil. He has a low-input system (using no synthetic fertilizer), relying almost entirely on his diversified pastures (grass, clover, dandelion and plantain among others) to feed his cows, thanks to a high level of understanding of grass growth management. His horned cows do rotational grazing, and as their manure fall on the grass, the chickens nearby with their mobile coop eat the fly larvae and scatter the manure around. He also cares for biodiversity: Roel has a solar-fed pump that brings water from the ditch on the field, to provide a suitable habitat for meadow birds.
The audience was invited to interact by giving their opinion on a series of strong statements via the app Mentis.com. Statements such as: “Dutch agriculture has to continue increasing production to feed the world”, “To go circular we need to focus on high tech solutions” and “Consumers have to pay more for food because of ecosystem services provided by the farmer” were presented to them. The statements sparked a lively debate, during which Roel van Buuren also gave his opinion.
This event closed off the platform’s activities for this academic year. In October, the platform will hold an annualforum about assessing the work in progress in the Netherlands towards circular farming (many speakers to be announced!).
PS: The Circular Farming Platform is pleased to count a new organization as participant of the platform! Agriforum Wageningen, founded by a group of students-farmers from Biosystems Engineering and Plant Sciences studies, are looking to bring more awareness to the students about the current Dutch agriculture.