WUR (Wageningen University Research) is an important partner. We cooperate intensively with WUR in various domains, including the Greenhouse Horticulture Inno20 project. We are working on new business models for greenhouse horticulture, with a focus on new crops for Dutch greenhouse horticulture. But we also supervise research programmes of the WUR, such as the study into the possibilities and impossibilities of autonomous growing and Artificial Intelligence. We also cooperate with WUR for our own innovations. For example, the ID kas® was developed partly thanks to this intensive cooperation and knowledge sharing. Another cooperation resulted in our biobased packaging and the biodiversity pilot.
We see innovation as more than continuously improving and increasing the sustainability of our processes and services. We are always on a quest for new opportunities and forms of cooperation that add value. Since November 2018, we have been a shareholder of Dutch Wasabi®, the first Dutch wasabi grower. Real wasabi is very difficult to grow and therefore very expensive. The bright green, pungently spicy paste we eat with sushi and call ‘wasabi’ is in fact often a mixture of horseradish, sugar and starch. So it is high time to introduce the authentic taste of real wasabi to the Netherlands. The assortment has now been expanded to include fresh ginger, turmeric, and yuzu and is used by many Michelin-starred restaurants.
Dutch Foundation for Innovation in Greenhouse Horticulture (SIGN)
The SIGN innovation programme is an initiative of the Dutch Horticultural Growers Association. It focuses on ground-breaking system innovations that serve the sector’s interest. As a partner and board member we are closely involved with the SIGN projects in terms of both scope and operational aspects. As such, we collaborate with various parties within and outside the sector. A good example is the ‘Circular construction with residual streams from horticulture’ project (an alliance with Gispen office equipment), for which start-up Fungalogic developed an acoustic phone booth made using our tomato stems. We also explore other applications of residual streams such as biostimulants and fertilizers through the ‘Circular Horticulture’ program.
Fresh Farma is a partnership with a number of growers where we test new business models. For instance, we are experimenting with various crops, such as Bitter Gourd (Sopropo), but we also trial new cultivation systems, such as our vertical farming project in 2018 and the biodiversity pilot alongside our greenhouse.
For a number of years we have worked closely with Greenport West-Holland, a regional partnership that unites regional authorities, entrepreneurs, educational institutions and research institutes. As a board member and one of the signatories of the Greenport West-Holland innovation pact, we cooperate on maintaining and enhancing the international, leading position of the Dutch horticultural cluster. From our role in Greenport we are working on various projects, including the development of a T-shirt, made of our tomatoes and the biodiversity pilot.
Lentiz | MBO Oostland
On behalf of Duijvestijn Tomaten, Ted Duijvestijn was appointed as the first green practor– an innovator and standard bearer of a sector – in the Netherlands in October 2019. At Lentiz | MBO Oostland, for the coming years he will be part of the expertise platform: ‘Circular Greenhouse and Horticultural Innovation’. One of the tasks of this expertise platform is ensuring that key innovations in the horticultural sector are incorporated into the study programme of students following secondary vocational education.