Tulip grower Carlo van Schagen:

"In the coming fifteen years, I want to grow sustainably"

Carlo van Schagen (50) is running a tulip bulb company in Egmond-Binnen, the Netherlands, with the poetical name of Garden of Egmond. He also exports his bulbs to a company in Algarve, Portugal, where they flower just a little earlier than in the Netherlands. "What do I want for the coming fifteen years? Growing sustainably."

Carlo comes from a family of flower growers. With a broad smile, he is showing his company at the end of November. It has finally settled down after a period of running. He will soon board the plane to Portugal, together with his wife, to the company in Algarve to see how the tulips are doing.

Reorganizing the company
Carlo has been a bulb grower for thirty years, which made him think about how he wanted to run his company in the coming years. Sustainable only became interesting because the demands from the market became stricter. Carlo also thinks it's important to think how he can organize his company differently, given the changing demands. "What do I want for the coming fifteen years? Growing sustainably at least!"

Keep each other sharp
In 2012, Carlo founded the study club 'Growing naturally', together with a number of other tulip growers, to jointly focus on sustainability. This was the basis for a cooperation of growers with the name NHG Holland. "We try to keep each other sharp and informed about the changing demands of sustainable cultivation. In the beginning, some were a bit skeptical, but the awareness of something has to change quickly sinks in. And you have to begin on time, because you cannot change your company overnight. It takes years. The market is requiring it. Our certificates have to show we can grow sustainable. That will only become more important, and the countries we export to require this of us."

Look forward and keep being in charge
"You have to be very well-rounded to keep up as a grower nowadays. Just growing is not sufficient, you have to follow all laws and regulations. I am also dabbling in nursing in the company. Looking forward and keep being in charge is really important. And, discard tasks you are not good at. So, my wife keeps the books." Carlo has three children, of which two sons. He does not know if they want to follow in his footsteps, but feels they should make their own choice in this.

Large because of versatility
What makes him proud? "That we are growing a product that blossoms, and looks great. It is being used at various events, such as weddings, but which can also be admired on the Millionaire's Fair. They can also be found in the bouquets of Bloomon. Isn't that cool? We have become large through versatility."

Source: Royal FloraHolland

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