This Throwback Thursday: The Biggest Little Farm screening & panel with Wij.land, MOMA and Klooker
How a new food system incorporates local value chains and regenerative agriculture
By Impact Hub Member Olívia d’Orsi Junqueira and Reena Tops, Growth Creatives.
On 11 June 2019, an inspiring evening took place at Impact Hub Amsterdam enjoyed by Impact Hub members, Klooker members, SDG house residents and other members of Impact Hub Amsterdam’s food ecosystem. The evening started with a screening of an educational and entertaining documentary, The Biggest Little Farm, pushing a positive environmental advocacy agenda. The film follows two Americans in their journey of switching their Los Angeles city life for 200 acres of barren farmland and their path to uncover a biodiverse design for living. With that, the film aims to provide hope and a way forward in the midst of environmental distress.
“The Biggest Little Farm is dedicated to the mission of creating a well-balanced ecosystem and rich soils that produce nutrient-dense foods while treating the environment and the animals with respect.”
Impact Hub Amsterdam invited the founders of Wij.land, MOMA and Klooker to dive into the Dutch context around the film’s theme to share their insights.
KLOOKER | Practical help to make life more sustainable, step by step
With Klooker, you can receive tips to make your life more sustainable and easily check which products are okay to use. It provides you with inspiration and direct access to the brands and shops.
Dennis Kamst, Founder at Klooker, unpacked the Dutch production & consumer relationship. “If you want to have a sustainable business model you also need to act in a sustainable way — ecosystems reinforce each other. Beyond that, there is a change of perspective. The Biggest Little Farm made a courageous step to start living in a different way and produce food in coexistence with nature. We have to be mindful of our consumption behaviour as well as how we grow and produce food. It’s a process of little steps to make a big difference, such as renting clothing or consuming less meat.
Over 60% of the Dutch population has a positive attitude toward sustainability. People want to trust brands, need easy access to products, and they need to be inspired. Often times, sustainable alternatives are too expensive for consumers, that’s why we, at Klooker, provide introduction discounts so people get to know the brands. We are all wearing clothes, eating and using body care products, and we can become mindful of which brands we purchase from. It’s our belief that if we work together, we can open up the power of the community and boost our efforts.”
MOMA | More Than Milk Amsterdam
MOMA is a modern-day milkman that serves as a link between farmer and consumer, working towards preserving the landscape, biodiversity and pleasure in working as a farmer. Marten Verdenius, Founder of MOMA, says the Biggest Little Farm, based in the US, cannot be fully compared to the agricultural sector in the Netherlands. “We have a different climate and soil type. While their mantra is to diversify, diversify, diversify, the market here has been telling farmers for decades, if not centuries, to specialise. For instance: the surroundings of Amsterdam are specialised in dairy.” Martin is a doer kind of entrepreneur. “I was working on a farm and I was just amazed by the passion that these farmers bring into their beautiful products.” Disappointed with the watery milk people in the city drink, he bought a pasteuriser and started producing milk. “I drove through the city, ringing my bell to sell milk.” He realised that, in the end, true impact requires scaling a business. “And I cannot do that in my car”. The Impact Hub’s Food Chain Accelerator Programme gives him the tools to scale MOMA.
Wij.land | The new landscape
Wij.land collaborates with farmers, nature organisations and others to create concepts that contribute to four values: inspiration, financial equity, natural equity and social equity.
Matthijs Boeschoten, Project & Business Developer at Wij.Land, shares that Wij.Land is Commonland’s Dutch implementation partner and was founded to restore natural systems while simultaneously providing financial and social inspiration. “There’s no manual on how to do this, it’s a learning journey. We started scouting the landscape and selected the Western meadows for its specific landscape where dairy farming is the main practice. We drain peat so that the grass can grow. There are seven million people living in this landscape so the market opportunities are immense.”
Three years later, Wij.land’s network of farmers helped them answer questions such as: How does the soil look like? How can you treat it? How can you involve animals? How can you improve the diversity of the grass by implementing herb species? How can you implement holistic cultivating strategies? “This movie confirms the notion that farmers have to be extremely diverse in their skills. From operating machines, treating animals, running a business and loads more. As a society, we ask too much from farmers. At Wij.land we collaborate with entrepreneurs that help improve farming practices that also contributes to more recognition for the farmer.”
Growth Creatives co-founder Olívia was present at the event, and together with co-founder Reena, they thought this was such a rich and insightful discussion about the shifts in Dutch production and consumption that they decided to harvest this piece for the Impact Hub to publish.
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Join Impact Hub’s Food Ecosystem
The Netherlands is the second largest exporter of agro-food products worldwide. What if we used this position to make a real impact across the food chain and accelerate the transition to a more sustainable food system? Through our ecosystem approach, we bring together and strengthen relationships between consumers, entrepreneurs, investors, government, corporates, and other organisations. Together we boost innovation and create the resources for positive change in the food sector.
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