Ardo & organic farming: interview with organic farmer
Did you know that Ardo is strongly committed to organic farming? Through close cooperation, we guide our farmers and their organic farming and support the follow-up of organic crops.
We will also continue to promote organic farming in the future. Ardo is also constantly proactively looking for ever more sustainable agricultural production methods, also for non-organic crops. We have translated our ambitions into our MIMOSA+ programme, which stands for Minimum Impact & Maximum Output Sustainable Agriculture.
Mutual respect is essential. This is certainly on show at Ardo.
«I’m an organic farmer for Ardo in the Moeskroen area. Our company is just under fifty hectares and located in the loam area, making it a good land for agriculture. Whereas we used to run a mixed farm of animals and arable crops, we decided to focus on cultivating vegetables only in 1999, and later shift to organic farming. We now grow organic celery, celeriac, leeks and beans for Ardo. What’s more, we also grow grains and cereals, as well as grass-clover to give our fields a break and improve the fertility of the soil.»
«I’m a member of the Vegras grower’s association and also sit on the grower’s committee. We grow vegetables that are primarily used in Ardo’s frozen vegetables. We started working with Ardo in 1999, delivering common (or non-organic) leeks, and started supplying organic vegetables in 2009. The partnership with Ardo is going well. We hold regular meetings to discuss prices, volumes and expectations. Mutual respect is essential in these negotiations, and that’s certainly on show. Communication is particularly important in such turbulent times. We’ve reached a great compromise together.
«We’re also in regular contact with Ardo’s cultivation supervisors. We’re still learning from each other day in, day out: they learn more about organic farming while we learn more about the quality requirements of our vegetables and how to meet these requirements. When it comes to organic farming, you have to be able to respond quickly. The cultivation supervisors provide us with specific advice in this area.»
«The climate remains a major challenge, as recent years have been very dry. As a result, we’re currently taking a close look at what we can do with our land. Sustainable water consumption is hugely important in organic farming. When hoeing, we make sure the top layer of soil is loosened, which forms a barrier for groundwater evaporation, as it were. In this way the water is available for the crops. Hoeing once is equivalent to irrigating twice. Impressive, isn’t it?»
«Hoeing means we make huge savings on our water consumption. In fact, today we see conventional farmers are also beginning to add hoeing to their process to help the water remain in the ground for as long as possible, and to reduce the use of herbicides. As organic farmers we try out new techniques, after which conventional farmers start adopting them, too. That’s how we learn from each other.”