Fa Freek van der Velden

After two generations the Van der Velden family had grown various types of vegetables since 1920, Freek van der Velden switched in the mid-seventies from growing vegetables to growing roses.  Since 1995 there they don’t grow roses anymore but pot gerbera’s.

The company has been based in Delfgauw since 2003 and has since then specialised in the cultivation of potted gerbera’s. The flowers are grown year round in many varieties and colours, for both indoor and outdoor use. In recent years, the range has been expanded in the winter to include Poinsettia’s (Christmas stars) and Helleborus (Christmas roses).

With an eye to the environment, Freek has set itself the goal of producing the plants as environmentally friendly as possible. The company is in possession of the most important certificates issued by the international certification organisation MPS, indicating that the products have been grown responsibly and with respect for people and the environment.

Sustainability

Water
Fa Freek vd Velden uses rainwater and osmosis water. Osmosis water is water purified from all accumulated contamination by reverse osmosis.

All water is first purified and then given to the plants. This is done by means of an ebb and flow system. The water is used very sparingly. The water that is not absorbed by the plants is collected again, purified and reused.

The water consumption has no influence on the drinking water supplies in the region.

 

Nature Conservation

In order to preserve nature, the grass and weeds along the ditch sides are mown or manually removed and sprayed with non-harmful agents. When mowing the ditch edges, bird breeding sites are spared. No unnatural or harmful substances are discharged into the ditches. The system is completely closed. The residual water is first cleaned before it is discharged into the sewerage system.

Employees are particularly alert to the presence of diseases and pests in the plants. Samples are taken to test the plants. If any pest is discovered, first, efforts are made to deal with the problem in a ecological way. That is to say, through the use of natural enemies. If this is not possible, only a limited amount of plant protection products will be used. These means must be easy to combine with biological means.

 

Climate

The greenhouse is equipped with a modern climate system, set up for optimal use of the recovered heat. By working with energy-efficient screens (3-double cloths) and blackout cloths, the heat remains inside and light emission is prevented. This reduces the use of fossil fuels (natural gas, oil, etc.). The climate can be regulated per department according to the needs of the plants present there.

Energy is partly generated by a CHP (co-generation). The excess energy they generate, is returned to the grid.

Waste materials such as plastic and paper are collected separately within the company and disposed of as soon as possible. In short, everything is kept as clean and natural as possible. The company collecting green waste processes it into compost, which ultimately results in a reduction of gas emissions. All this to preserve the environment.

Crop Protection Agents Kg Active Ingredient: 

Provides insight into the use of plant protection products. Red stands for substances with a high environmental impact, orange for substances with a low impact on the environment, green for substances with a low impact on the environment (Source MPS-A).

Energy (GJ):

Provides insight into the use of the amount of energy. (Source MPS-A)

Fertilizers (KG) Nitrogen and Phosphorus Consumption:

Provides insight into the use of Nitrogen and Phosphorus. (Source MPS-A)

People

There are 12 permanent employees and 20 to 40 temporary employees each year. Fa Freek vd Velden applies the statutory provisions of the Collective Labour Agreement for greenhouse horticulture with regard to employment contracts, working hours, leave etc. Every employee has income security enabling them to provide themselves with a proper place to live. There is also a safety and hygiene protocol in place to ensure safety and health during the work carried out within the company.

Many retail chains do not only pay attention to the environment, but increasingly focus on the social aspects of business operations. That is why Fa Freek vd Velden has also obtained the required certificates (MPS-SQs) in the field of employee relations.

 

All employees are treated equally. Discrimination is not tolerated.

Fa Freek vd Velden is happy to invest in the development of its staff through training courses. The prerequisite is that they show quality and ambition. For those of course, there is also the possibility to grow.

There is also one “wajong” employee (an employee who has had a disability from an early age) working for the company. In the past, special employees were assisted more often. Some have even moved on to another job.

Health

Did you know that flowers and plants have a healthy effect on people?

  • Plants provide air purification..
    People breathe in air, take out oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. In the case of plants it is the other way around. During photosynthesis, plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and convert it back into oxygen. The amount of oxygen in the air is increased by the presence of plants, which makes breathing easier.
    Air-purifying plants can absorb harmful substances from the air through their leaves. These harmful substances are then stored and broken down in the plant’s roots. These plants can also break down dirty odours, so they are actually natural air fresheners.
    For the sake of clarity, every (indoor) plant produces oxygen, but not every plant also purifies the air. Air-purifying plants are e.g. the Spathiphyllum, Calathea, Hedera helix (ivy), Areca palm and the Ficus. For many plants we do not yet know to what extent they have an air purifying effect since they have not yet been tested.
  • Plants ensure a better concentration and a reduction of stress.
    Plants create a relaxed and better atmosphere, also at work.. Plants make the workplace a more pleasant place to work.
    Apparently there is even a relationship between the presence of plants and the productivity of employees.
    Moreover, the presence of plants has a positive effect on the creativity and concentration of people.
  • Plants reduce the dryness of the air
    The dust content and humidity in the house are strongly related with each other. The dryer the air, the more dust. This can cause symptoms such as a tickling cough, dry skin, headaches and irritated eyes. By watering plants, it finally evaporates again through the stomata in the leaves. Plants can thus increase the humidity of the air, which therefore benefits the air quality.
  • Plants provide a pleasant and warm feeling
    Research has shown that plants are good for people in various (subtle) ways. They play an essential role in creating a pleasant, natural and quiet environment in which to move, work and/or relax.
  • Did you know that flowers too have a healthy effect on people?
    Flowers can brighten up any room in a magical way. They give meaning to our emotions such as love, joy, comfort, compassion and sorrow. Flowers provide a relaxing effect on our constitution. They provide positive energy in the home and a warm feeling. In short, everyone is just very happy about that!

Care

Innovation

The Dutch greenhouse horticulture sector is worldwide renowned for its innovative power. In order to be one step ahead of the competition from other parts of the world, people are constantly looking for better efficiency in the use of raw materials and space. This, of course, without compromising the (top) quality of the Dutch product.

The glasshouse horticulture sector in the Netherlands can cope with this rapid pace of innovation thanks to a strong relationship between research and practice. In addition, a great deal of knowledge is exchanged between the entrepreneurs in order to make progress together. The flower auctions are a good example of this as one of the largest cooperatives in the world.
Below we describe a few examples of this innovative power.

 

Biological control and integrated pest management
In order to minimise the use of pesticides and to find a better balance between parasites and their natural enemies, natural enemies of the parasites are used in the greenhouses. Thanks to the intensive exchange of knowledge between the growers and their suppliers, growers are increasingly able to produce a top quality product with organic solutions.

 

Combined heat and power (CHP)
Combined heat and power (CHP) is a large engine, originating from the shipping industry. Only it has been converted to run on natural gas. The efficiency of this motor is higher than traditional gas boilers. These engines drive a generator that generates electricity. This electricity is used in the company’s own nursery or is supplied back to the public electricity grid. The ‘residual heat’ produced by the engine is used to heat the greenhouses. After cleaning, the exhaust gases can be used to provide the plants with CO2. All in all, these motors provide an efficiency that can be up to 20% higher than the traditional method of heating (gas boilers).

 

Geothermal energy
Geothermal energy is used for this type of energy. A drilling tower is used to drill a well to a depth of 2-3 km. At this depth, water of more than 80 degrees can be ‘collected’. This heat is used to heat the greenhouses and then the cooled water is returned to the soil via a second source. It is expected that these sources will be able to continue to produce sufficient heat, even longer than the life of a greenhouse.

Drilling the well is an enormously expensive investment. In addition, there is a great risk that the drilling will ‘fail’. By working together with each other and with governments, in the Netherlands we are able to gain experience with this way of heating greenhouses sustainably.

 

Water purification
Plants need water and nutrients to grow. More and more nurseries are making use of the reuse of drainage water. This is water that is collected before it disappears into the subsoil. This ‘drainage water’ still contains many nutrients that can be used by the plants.
By reusing this water and mixing it with clean water, less fertilizer is used.
However, the drainage water also contains some ‘wrong substances’. The content of these wrong substances determines how much water can be reused. The application of new techniques creates opportunities to filter these ‘wrong substances’ out of the water.

 

Diffuse glass
In new constructions, more and more growers are opting to cover their greenhouses with diffuse glass. Diffuse glass ensures that light is distributed much more evenly across the crop without any shade or light spots. This leads to a more even greenhouse climate.
Temperature and humidity can thus be controlled more accurately, which means, for example, that the opening of the air windows can be limited, which leads to lower CO2 emissions.

 

LED lighting in greenhouse horticulture
A new innovation in horticulture is the use of LED lighting. This lighting is not comparable with LED lighting used in consumer use. In the horticultural sector, the lighting is produced by ‘power LEDs’ and therefore much higher. The major advantage of these ‘power LEDs’ is related to sustainable business practices: energy savings compared to high-pressure sodium lamps (orange-coloured lighting). This saves more than half of the energy.
Another major advantage is that when using LEDs, crops can be better controlled using the different colours in the light. This is in favour of a better growth and a higher quality of the product.

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