"Growing with a good conscience."
Bierkreek is the only certified organic rose nursery in the Netherlands and the second in Europe. As far as we know, we have only one other colleague who is located in Germany. (Rosenschule Ruf)
At our nursery pests and diseases are prevented by ensuring optimal conditions. Resistance is the magic word. Pests are controlled by natural enemies. ... Read more about resistance!
Almost all the Bierkreek roses are grafted onto rootstocks. We prefer to use true native wild roses such as Rosa canina (The dog rose) or Rosa eglanteria . ... Read more
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own, according to the definition from the UN Brundtland Commission in 1987. To ‘measurably’ put in practice the sustainability triangle, you are permanently engaged in all three points of it; the balance of people, planet and profit. Finding this balance is an ongoing process. Because of this it is false that when you're in the middle of the triangle, you are done searching. Various processes in society constantly change circumstances. Therefore you will always need to continue to adapt, moving up within the triangle, with time as the fourth dimension.
Bierkreek is the center of a society, combining a biological approach with ecological, sustainable, landscape and economic assumptions.
Sustainability goes hand in hand with caring for people and nature around us. We like you to think we are constantly vigilant and we hope to do our bit to help. We also realize this is an ongoing process and the involvement of others will better help us reach our goals. For this reason if you have ideas and advice we would love to hear them.
The word 'people' refers to the interaction between people and the influence of the environment on humans. In today's business, this 'p' is too often interpreted as just following workplace regulations and sponsoring the local football club. What is good for your staff, their well being and a good working atmosphere, of course includes the 'P' of people. But it goes further. Think of sustainability in all human aspects. A label like Fair Trade could apply to the cycle that precedes your production process. For example, if you rooted cuttings of plants imported from Asia, you could check if the company meets the criteria for Fair Trade. You might encourage the company to achieve those criteria and apply for the label. A good example is the import of coconut from Asia. Coconut is a product that is often used for the production of compost or pots. Bierkreek in 2010 and 2011 is running a pilot program regarding the potting soil and coconut coir in the pots. We are finding it is not easy to measure the 'footprint' of coconut.
Another example are our Turtle bags. They are bags are made from Eco cotton, organically grown. Women in Sri Lanka make the bags and get a fair price for them. The remaining proceeds are used to help turtles. (See also Products and Services: Turtle Bags)
Fortunately, more and more manufacturers and importers are “awakening” and investigating this themselves. A welcome development, but together we must stay awake to encourage further progress.
We also teach this to the staff of Bierkreek. When we hire, we don’t pay attention to social background or education or cultural origins. Instead, it is important that the person is at his or her right place within Bierkreek and their tasks play to their strengths. We give the staff the opportunity to develop themselves and there's always room for trainees. Every year we have students from agricultural, or other training backgrounds, come from a very large area to get work experience. Sometimes it is ecology and/or cultivation aspects, but also economics and language. In recent years we have had interns from the Netherlands, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Great Britain, Poland and France. It is important that students come into contact with organic growing of roses and then carry some of this knowledge back to their own country. Eventually we start learning from the trainees.
It is important that customers take with them a bit of our passion. The customer may smell, touch, taste and look; plus see the staff at work. We advise our customers with care and yes, it can sometimes take longer than a few minutes to answer their questions. Ultimately, the client goes home not only with his or her roses and information like the product warranty, but also information on the rose itself, on planting and care and even about the characteristics of soil, climate and growing conditions.
Bierkreek grows roses that last longer and are thus more sustainable than the usual roses from a nursery. The choice of rootstock is a deciding factor, not organic farming. The customer may know and believe they are entitled to a product that is durable and sustainable. What they finally do with it is the responsibility of the customer, but we want to lay the foundation for them.
If you want to know more, in our chapter "Products and Services' you can read all about our opportunities to attend lectures, workshops, tours, etc.
Collaboration with our colleagues is essential. We learn from each other and together we are stronger. Therefore Bierkreek are part of Organizations such as the sustainable tree growing group of the Southern Agricultural and Horticultural Organization (ZLTO), the Dutch Association of Nurseries (NBvB) and the Agricultural School in Den Bosch. Additionally Bierkreek are members of several organizations dedicated to organic and sustainable growing. We like to be the unifying factor between organic and conventional farms.
Bierkreek is one of two organic farms in the rose world and we are committed to the highest environmental standards. Biodiversity is at a high level on our nursery. But we like to think of it as “focused biodiversity” in that it is an interactive part of our sustainable cultivation of roses.
Organic farming means in the first place no chemicals are used. But additionally Bierkreek is ecological and the company is CO2 neutral.
Since nature helps us grow roses organically, we also believe in the importance of biodiversity. We cannot do without it and we need more growers to realize this.
You can read all about it in the chapter organic/eco look at the area called current natural observations. On the website "Here! Is Climate Neutral” has an English text, you can read all about Climate or CO2 neutral.
To make sure the natural landscape in the growing fields is regularly monitored and gets the attention it deserves, there is a Business “Nature Plan" written by Marianne. This shows what the landscape is on the farm, for whom it is for (which birds or insects for example) and why and how it should be maintained.
Of course it is also important how our partners and suppliers are dealing with these issues. We can do our utmost to grow as environmentally friendly as possible, but if our suppliers of, for instance compost, works with products that are not environmentally friendly it makes little sense. We prefer to use recycled plastic pots instead of the coir pots that were responsible for environmental damage on the other side of the world.
Soil and water
Because we don’t use chemicals at Bierkreek the environment is not being contaminated with hazardous materials. But there are other forms of pollution that are equal to chemicals. Through a sophisticated fertilization plan we prevent the surplus from manure in the form of phosphates or nitrates from entering the soil or surface water. Additionally we almost exclusively use rainwater for the irrigation of our container roses. That is why our water basin in combination with our container area is a closed water system. You can read more about it in the category biological/eco under the heading “Healthy Water”
The roses in our fields are seldom watered. Firstly because the land on which we grow has good water retention and secondly because organically grown plants are just better when left alone.
Of course we try at Bierkreek to earn our bread, but preferably with cheese on it too! Ultimately, it is very simple: if we can make a good living with roses, we can also manage a lot of square meters and nature on the farm. That means more space for greenery, animals and nature, which directly translates into a healthier crop. Ultimately it is both for us and for nature.
Through both sales to individuals and companies without intermediaries, Bierkreek supplies roses for a price comparable to those in conventional cultivation. And through the various options, selling directly at the farm, via the Internet and the many fairs and festivals, it is easy for customers to purchase our roses. In also having a large selection of roses, Bierkreek nursery is the most diverse rose nursery in Europe. We export to almost all EU countries and even Canada, America and Japan.
Pests are controlled by natural enemies. At our nursery you will find our rose fields embedded in a natural environment with wide burgeoning windbreaks and hedges, flowering wild grass verges, drinking wells, pollarded trees and wood piles. Environments to encourage life. Piles of wood for the polecat and hedgehog, drinking wells for toads and salamanders, grass verges for shrews, woods for the Wagtails and Tits who eat their weight in insects every year. Even a bunker for the bats. Flowering borders with herbs ensure that enough pollen and nectar are present for hoverflies and parasite wasp’s larvae that subsequently drink aphids. It all goes together and each part is inseparable from the other. These allies made sure from the beginning we’ve never had to intervene in something like, for example, an aphid infestation. Not even with organic agents that are allowed! We are proud of this and we’d like to tell you how you can achieve this at home. Zoek hiervoor onder het kopje excursie of lezing. Find this under the heading tour or lecture. And even read our leaflet Eat or Be Eaten" .
The Dog Rose and Egelantier (Rosa egelanteria?) are wild roses, which occur naturally in northwest Europe. The use of these roses as rootstock for our grafted roses thereby creates a strong and hardy product. Therefore you can grow our roses without problems in regions with harsh winters, such as Scandinavia and the Alps.