Growing interest for trees and shrubs in Dutch agriculture

Lex Roeleveld: "I became aware of the increasing interest in the Netherlands for the role of trees and shrubs in food production when assisting in the organisation of two conferences. The first one in November 2015, Mark Shepard was our special guest, was attended by over 300 people and had the conference room been bigger, by many more. The conference gave birth to our foundation van Akker naar Bos (from Field to Forest).  The second conference in December 2016 entitled Nature shows agriculture the way  was again overbooked. In actual practise the strong interest in woody food species is demonstrated as well. Over the last 6 years I have been coordinating a tree planting programme sponsored by the French Foundation Yves Rocher in order to enhance biodiversity. Whereas the first few years most of the annual quota of 50.000 plants was requested to plant hedges or were used for ornamental purposes in farm yards, school yards and on homesteads, in recent years there is a clear change. Most of the plants are now used to establish ecological gardens, food forests, permaculture, ‘edible hedges’ and  fodder hedges. Largely these plants are ordered by small, private initiatives and small young farmers. But more and more also larger farmers start asking for advice to change their modes of production.  There is change in the air. Change for ecologically sound forms of food production in which shrubs and trees play an important role."

 


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