Warmonderhof_2023_HPV9214-1

"One of the main benefits of Warmonderhof is that you gain a lot of practical experience. And you’re in an inspiring environment where everyone is busy developing a new vision for agriculture."

"I want to help expand the amount of organic farming in the Netherlands"

Joukje Boeder (27) is in the first year of BBL (part-time) training at the time of this interview. She is choosing to major in horticulture.
"I took a bit of a diversion before choosing this profession, but looking back I can see that I’d felt this desire to become a farmer from a very early age. That was partly the result of my home background; my father is in the floral business and my mother is a garden and landscape architect. I also spent many summers on farms abroad via the Wwoof organisation. That’s where my love for the work and the outdoors intensified. And, looking at the current situation in terms of both agriculture and the climate, I also feel the social importance of more biodynamic and nature-inclusive agriculture. I want to devote myself to that for the rest of my life. Now that I'm at Warmonderhof, I come to Dronten one day a week and spend two days in an internship at Stadstuinderij NoordOogst in Amsterdam.

Social and biodynamic

"In addition to training, I work three days a week as co-director at The Present, a foundation that promotes social entrepreneurship by matching entrepreneurs with social initiatives. Examples include hotels opening their doors to economically homeless people, construction companies refurbishing asylum seekers' centres, and IT companies providing workplaces for status holders. For me, work in the social entrepreneurship sector is logically compatible with biodynamic agriculture; the values of farmers and the way they treat their land and customers is very much in line with what I see and how I feel in my current work.

Inspiring fellow-students and teachers

"The great thing about Warmonderhof is that the type of student on the BBL (part-time) course here is in the same phase as me: they come from a completely different field and want to be retrained as a farmer. I initially signed up for the course because it’s the only organic farming course in the Netherlands, and I’m gradually learning more about biodynamic agriculture. In particular, the fact that the biodynamic farmer goes one step further in animal welfare really appeals to me, for example. In addition, it’s nice to be in school with a group of like-minded people. Everyone’s so enthusiastic and, although at school it sometimes feels like everyone in the Netherlands is involved in biodynamic or organic agriculture, we really are still a group of pioneers. It’s so inspiring being among the students and teachers. It also encourages me to continue.

Fruit and vegetable garden with a side job

"In the future, I would like to set up my own business with two or three others. Apart from the fact that it’s more fun to do it together, it’s also a really tough business to run on your own. On top of that, in the current market, it’s difficult to earn a full salary immediately; so it’s nice when you can have another job alongside it for one or two days a week. I would love to help expand the amount of land devoted to organic farming in the Netherlands. As far as I'm concerned, it will be in the form of a fruit and vegetable farm with direct sales and CSA subscriptions. Of course, everything will depend on the location we find. So if anyone can give us the ultimate tip...!"

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