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Releasing the hedgehog for sustainable food

During our 2022 company outing we went on a tour visiting some community based farming initiatives in the west of Amsterdam. This is what we've seen and learned.

To celebrate a hard year of creating impact and guiding all kinds of heroes and leaders in their sustainable transition, it was time for a little team quality time. This year we decided to visit some urban farming initiatives in the west of Amsterdam. With increasing urbanisation, fast-pace society and increasing pressure on the food system (#stikstofcrisis) joining an urban farm can be just what you need. Putting your hands in the soil helps you de-stress and get back in touch with what you’re actually eating. On a larger scale, urban farming, and other sustainable farming initiatives, can help the way we eat and decrease the stress which our food system creates on the environment and biodiversity.

Rafael releasing hedgehog Sara in her new home.

But the best part, at least for our team: we got to work with our spirit animal, and our second-best spirit animal. Organic farming is a balanced farming method where nature offers the solutions for issues caused by nature, instead of battling nature with pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and other chemicals and practices. One of the issues while growing food are snails, and on the menu of our beloved hedgehog snails are a delicious treat. At the Boterbloem, we were lucky to be there while two of these snail eaters were released. These two hedgehogs, named Sara and Spinvis, are adopted from the animal shelter and given a new house and territory at the farming site.

Ricardo releasing hedgehog Spinvis in his new home.

Also, chicken can have useful functions if deployed in harmony with the rest of your farming system. Under fruit trees they eat weeds, bugs, fallen fruit and leaves. They even avoid you to have to spend time on the lawn mower every once in a while to cut the grass. And, in return? Nothing, you get free eggs. You would almost start wondering why we lock them up in a cage.

Henny the chicken and Joost meeting for the first time.

To be able to rely fully on sustainable farming, we as consumers need to change the way we eat, and where we get our food from. Start growing food in your garden, or check out community based farming initiatives in your area. And also, buy food as much food as possible at the farmer himself, so the farmer can actually receive the money he deserves for the produce he makes. Because in the end, the farmer is a victim of the food industry he must operate in, not just a victim of government regulations.

Read more about the impact of food: comparing the English and continental breakfast via an life cycle assessment.
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