The sport and play between the large and small growers - that is what makes our marketplace so strong. That is also what drives me as a new member of the Members' Council. Ensuring that the marketplace remains that strong. For all entrepreneurs. Because we need each other very much, writes Jelle, who is co-owner of Gebroeders Van der Kroft, Ornamental Shrubs and Malus, in Wassenaar, Netherlands on the website of Royal Floraholland.
Our shared passion
My brother and I set up our company ten years ago driven by passion. I studied plant sciences at the university in Wageningen. I was asked: why become a grower? After all, blood is thicker than water. We breathed new life into my grandfather's land, who used to grow bulbs. You don't get passion out of it just like that. Thank goodness for that!
Recently, I attended a Royal FloraHolland members' session. What I saw there was beautiful. Sometimes we passionately disagree with each other. But when it comes to growing flowers and plants - our shared passion - that gap suddenly becomes much smaller.
Together we can achieve a diverse shelve
Small growers often focus on niche products, which are later picked up more widely in the market. My brother and I do the same from our smaller nursery. We grow crabapples. But the oxypetalum is also a good example.
Smaller entrepreneurs and bigger guys complement each other nicely in this way. The smaller ones are able to experiment. They bend flexibly to trends and wishes from the market. If it turns out to be a success, larger nurseries join in. They are able to make such a new product available on a larger scale. This is how we keep our market diverse and interesting for buyers in the Netherlands, Europe and the rest of the world.
In other words: the diversity of large and small growers in our cooperative is of great market value. Even though the smaller growers may not earn as much in euros on the bottom line. They do ensure the development of the product range, the experience, the extra that just about completes the market. My appeal to the cooperative and the organization is therefore: ensure that the clock remains accessible to everyone. Rules are necessary, but keep those rules the same for everyone. Making certification compulsory led to growers pulling out. There must be another way.
Let your voice be heard and listen to each other
For me, this story is the reason why I put myself forward as a candidate for the Council of Members. I am very proud that I can represent our grassroots since January. Because I believe that if something is bothering you, you should speak up. Not just complaining afterwards, but making your voice heard now.
Participation in the Member Sessions and other meetings is important. But meet each other on other fronts too. Go and have a coffee together. Take an interest in other people's businesses and working methods. Listen to each other and learn from each other. If you do that, you will see that you understand each other better and better. And then you'll also understand why certain choices are made. And that you can talk about it. We need each other very much. On the shelf, but also in the cooperative.
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