Corine Fleuren. Mini apple trees. Member of the Agricultural and Horticultural Organization (LTO), The Netherlands.
SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT
Corine worked in the Fleuren tree nursery, which is a family company that produces 1 million fruit trees per year in the Netherlands. Their apple, pear and cherry trees are delivered to customers both within and outside of Europe. In 2010, the concept of producing your own food was gaining ground and Corine realised that it was not easy to have fruit trees in small spaces, such as back gardens. Corine therefore developed mini apple trees that do not need much space or care. The concept is now spreading across the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.
Corine developed mini apple trees that do not demand much space and do not exceed 50 cm. This is an innovative product for fruit growers and consumers alike. Moreover, these trees do not need to be pruned or sprayed, because they do not suffer from the common diseases that plague apple trees. Corine uses Facebook, Twitter, phone calls and e-mails to remain in contact with her consumers. This exchange is very positive as it allows the customer to express his doubts and also helps Corine better understand what people want. The mini apple trees are sold directly from the producer to the consumer via her online shop. The concept to promote healthy food grown in small spaces began with a plan to plant 500 trees in the first year, but actually 5,000 trees were sold. Currently, 10,000 mini apple trees are sold annually and the business is also growing outside of the Netherlands. Corine is also working with another company to develop a MiniMest (fertiliser) that is sent to the costumers in the right dosages and at the right time. Corine shares her concept by giving talks on entrepreneurship in universities and clubs, and also gave a TEDx talk entitled “Find your inner farmer”. She also works with market research students from different universities.