BUFFER+ partners in Groeningen explore the possibilities of wet crops in peat meadow areas

Paludiculture is something many partners within BUFFER+ are actively involved in. Paludiculture is an agricultural practice where crops are grown on wet soils, such as peatlands, with the goal of promoting both agricultural production and environmental conservation. Although the term is relatively new, crops have been grown on wet soil for centuries, such as rice cultivation in Asia.

Learning Together About Wet Crops

In the Groeningen area of Groningen, efforts have been combined. Many partners needed additional information and ideas about paludiculture. Therefore, a session was organized with Jasper van Belle from Veenkennis. He has experience with wet cultivation projects in other regions of the Netherlands and could provide the Groeningen partners with valuable information. How does it work? How do you set up such a paludiculture trial farm? The vision is clear: the peat landscape of the future must consist of six functional building blocks: dairy farming, fiber cultivation, recreation, nature, peat growth, and sustainable energy. All six forms are wet and nature-inclusive.

Source: Jasper van Belle, Veenkennis

Groeningen Explores

The Groeningen partners, including the Municipality of Midden-Groningen, Municipality of Westerkwartier, Bioclear Earth, Hanze University, and Province of Groningen, gathered to brainstorm about setting up such a paludiculture trial farm under the guidance of Jasper van Belle.

   There are several dimensions to consider in the setup:

  • What is the goal of a paludiculture trial farm? Is it to demonstrate that agriculture can be done differently? To gain experience together?
  • Is it intended to be further developed and more widely implemented?
  • On what scale will this paludiculture farm be set up?

How did the Groeningen partners experience the session?

Jasper informed them that it is important not only to think conceptually about the possibilities for paludiculture but also to physically try things. This makes the concept more tangible in the region, and everyone better understands what it entails. The Province of Groningen is interested in setting up a pilot with paludiculture and hopes to take the first steps this year. Jasper's experience was also very interesting for the concept of the 'Water Farm' within the BUFFER+ project. The presentation provided much inspiration and food for thought on how to incorporate this into the setup of this new kind of farming.

Other Regions within BUFFER+

The insights that Groeningen BUFFER+ partners have gained regarding paludiculture are also interesting for other regions. With the help of various meetings and explaining pilots, partners such as AC3A, Hanze, CRAN, The Rivers Trust, and Westerkwartier are coming together. All are engaged in wet cultivation and new revenue models for farmers.

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BUFFER+ talk at The Rivers Trust Conference - by Constanze O'Toole