Students prefer to eat frozen pizza, cheese pastries and fries? Not Jonas, Leslie and Barbara, who have local, organic vegetables delivered to Campus Fryslân every week.
Every week, around 30 students and a few lecturers pick up a box of fresh vegetables on campus. The vegetables are in season and sustainably grown on a farm in Friesland.
The initiative for the deliveries came from Jonas Brenninkmeijer (21). The global responsibility and leadership student wants to start an organic farm one day: ‘Growing food in a sustainable way with an eye for issues like climate change, water use and biodiversity. That idea gives me a lot of energy’, he says.
He also thinks it is important to bridge the gap between consumers and agriculture. ‘Nowadays, we know very little about how our food is produced; where it is grown.’
But until that farm becomes a reality, he would at least like to eat from a farm that works according to the same principles. That proved more difficult than expected, and so Jonas decided to take action himself.
Online, he came across Yn’e Sinne Farm’s website. ‘That’s a sustainable farm in Friesland, which works without pesticides, and uses responsible farming methods’, says Jonas. ‘They have weekly vegetable boxes, but it was quite far to pick them up and otherwise you had to pay delivery charges. Then I thought, if I manage to enlist other people, maybe we can arrange something. Then we could all benefit from it.’
Jonas polled the faculty to see if more people were interested. He got enthusiastic responses and when it turned out that more people wanted to sign up, he was able to actually set up the delivery to Campus Fryslân.
Now Kim de Jager of Yn’e Sinne Farm delivers the vegetables to campus every Monday afternoon during the lunch break. ‘We were pleasantly surprised that students approached us’, she says. ‘We like to involve more young people in our organisation, as the average age is otherwise quite high.’
Leslie (21) from Hamburg is delighted with the weekly vegetable parcels. ‘I like supporting a small-scale farm that is also local and sustainable. And what’s more, I live in a house with different nationalities, and housemates sometimes come up with dishes I had never thought of. Something their mother used to make for them, for example.’
Barbara Thurnay (19) from Frankfurt is also a fan: ‘The different types of vegetables give me inspiration to cook something new. They often include things you can’t get in the supermarket, such as forgotten vegetables. The initiative is also good for biodiversity, which I think is important.’
If it is up to Jonas, students can continue to enjoy the vegetables for a long time to come. ‘I’m not going to be at university much longer, but because the initiative is linked to the student association, it can continue without me.’