Interview with a Boerengroep board member: Maarten de Graaff

What is your name?

Maarten de Graaff

Where are you from?

I’m from the Netherlands.

Do you have a farming background?

Not at all. I come from the Randstad.

What do you study?

I have a bachelor’s in biology and a master’s in Organic Agriculture.

Who found who first? You or the Boerengroep? (How did it happen? How long have you been active in BG?)

Boerengroep found me because my girlfriend was the coordinator, and even before she was my girlfriend, I was helping out with all the events. She found Boerengroep and through her Boerengroep found me.

And how long have you been active in the Boerengroep?

Seriously active, the last 2,5 years. Before that sporadically.

What are you doing in Boerengroep? (your function) Is it something on the agenda? Can you give something secret away?

I was the chair. As the chair, you really get to see everything that is going on in the organization, and you are really involved in everything. The nicest thing is that you are really connected to the real world out there, just as Boerengroep preaches.

When you are asked what you do on Thursday nights, what do you say? (friends, family)

A Boerengroep meeting or Break and then something else.

If you be any kind of farmer/animal/crop/garden tool/machine, what would you be?

A pig, because I would like to be a free pig that could go outside and get fat and old. Or a food forest.

What kind of food would you feed our board members during the meetings?

Tasty food. Non-Dutch food unless it is very cool. I like to give people an experience, and even though my skills aren’t always like this I like to get the “whoah!”.

What is the most inspiring thing you have done with the Boerengroep? (event, meeting, lecture, excursion…)

I guess the Farm Experience Internship. One of the things that really stuck with is how much the Farm Experience Internship really stuck to people, because I took for granted how much I know about agriculture, and when there’s people that do this course and don’t know anything about it then you really open up not one door but many.

If you had a private meeting with the Minister of Agriculture of your country, what would you ask/tell him/her? (Carola Schouten, Angela Merkel, Phil Hogan…etc)

How do we connect farmers and citizens?

Who is your farming hero? And why? (like a favorite product?)

Bastiaan Roduijn. He is one of the pioneers of food forests in the Netherlands. He’s a guy that does something that I really like. His energy is always positive, he’s like an overflowing kettle. He makes you want to join right now and do everything.

On a scale of monoculture to polyculture, where would you place yourself?