Some companies go even further in offering transparency to the market and society. The Van der Starre company, with locations in Waddinxveen, Boskoop, Nieuwekerk aan de IJssel and Ridderkerk, is MPS-GAP certified in addition to MPS-ABC and a participant in MPS-ProductProof. “In this way we show the customer that we produce our climbing plants with care for the environment”, says Joost van der Starre, manager of the location in Waddinxveen.
MPS-ProductProof demonstrates at product level that certain active substances do not occur and have not been used in cultivation. A grower records the crop protection agents and independent sampling demonstrates that certain substances have not been used. “I think it is important to be transparent towards the customer. In addition, my clients also ask for the certificates. We also make our own labels and include information about the plant. In this way we can immediately show the consumer what makes our plant so special. ”
Learning from each other
Growing all kinds of climbing plants is what Van der Starre is good at. Crop protection agents are rarely used for this. “We use integrated cultivation (IPM) by natural enemies and fungi and we scout every Monday. This way we can counteract locally when necessary. We do this in the evening so that our employees are not bothered by this. We also regularly get together to learn from each other how we can do even better. Our goal is to eventually grow our plants without using pesticides”, says the manager.
Good stewardship for the surroundings and the environment has long been in Van der Starre’s DNA. As early as 1994, they won the horticultural environment prize “de Zilveren Wesp” (Silver Wasp) for circulating water and ensuring that no substances entered the surface water. The company still does that, by the way. Van der Starre: “We believe a sustainable society is important. We try to contribute to this as good as we can. Of course there are always things that could be improved. ”
I always aim for a 10, why settle for a 9?
The company is self-sufficient in starting material; it takes the starting material from the mother plant. To get the strongest possible plant, the cuttings in the base are carefully selected. “This way we grow a strong plant and we avoid keeping plants alive that need more attention or that later disappear. It also means that we ultimately need to use fewer resources, because the plant is more resilient”, says Van der Starre. A cat sits among the employees at the exit of the nursery. “This also ensures that we don’t have to throw away any plants. The cat keeps out the mice that otherwise gnaw the roots of our climbing plants.”
An auditor from MPS-ECAS recently paid a visit. The company is MPS-A certified, the second highest qualification within MPS-ABC. Van der Starre: “The auditors often grew up in horticulture, which gives confidence and peace of mind during the audit.” Nevertheless, Van der Starre is disappointed that it does not yet have an A + qualification. “This is because we use a relatively large amount of fertilisers. We grow very intensively, which should be included more in the assessment. I always aim for a 10, why settle for a 9? MPS-ABC therefore drives us to be even more economical with the use of resources.”
This article was originally published in Dutch on the website of Nieuwe Oogst.