The applicant worked for 25 years in the IT industry and did not have any education or experience in the agricultural or fisheries sectors. She moved to the countryside and started a project with her daughter. The aim of the “Trout Ojcowski” fish farm is to restore brown trout breeding, promote conscious and ethical breeding, educate the community about the history of the region and culinary traditions. In 2014, the unused naturalisation ponds were leased to Magdalena Wegiel and her daughter. In fact, during the implementation of one of the project in cooperation with the Ojcowski Park Ms. Magdalena Wegiel leaned about ponds to be naturalised and decided to take the risk and to take part in a tender where the main requirements were to run the holding in accordance with the environment: the applicant started a farm complying with environmental requirements. The fish pods located in the national park owe their unique features to the picturesque scenery, natural microclimate and to Mlynowka, a stream providing well oxygenated and crystal clear water: this allows favourable conditions for breeding maintaining genetic purity. The wild salmon trout fry is less prone to diseases, adapts well to natural foodstuff which results in high survivability. No industrial techniques are used in order to enhance weight growth. In the fish farm the applicant uses traditional tools: seines, wooden pliers, landing nets, boat-hooks.
Brown trout constitutes only 2% of all trout farms in Poland and is one of the few in Europe. It is a very difficult and demanding fish, bred mainly by the Polish Fishing Associations for restocking rivers. The innovativeness of the project lies primarily in breeding, a unique species, in a natural and original way, combined with modern methods of sale and communication. In addition to breeding there is also catering activity, which is based on the sale of trout served in wo types of modern food trucks. Trout Ojcowski is now a well-known brand and is appreciated by culinary animators, propagators of healthy food and the most of talented chefs.
The applicant won national awards with the project and has been taking part in educational activities in the field of environment protection and culinary heritage, cooperating with local authorities.
The Bramlgut in Göriach was acquired by Christina and Johann in 2010. The economic basis of the farm is dairy production with its own breeding program. 14 dairy cows and 25 young cattle are housed in the new loose-house stable. Forestry is the third leg of the operation.
An important source of income is the rental of three high-quality furnished apartments. The quiet location on the outskirts in the Lungau Valley with hiking opportunities lends itself to this activity. In 2015, Christina Bauer began to share her passion for baking. Christina created a Facebook page “Easy baking and cooking with Christina” and supplied the reader with tried and tested, everyday recipes and images. In May, she completed her training to become a seminar farmer women (“Seminarbäuerin”) and started offering baking courses for consumers of all ages. Supporting her consumers over the Internet and holding courses at the farm can be very easily combines with the work on the farm and raising children at home. Mrs Bauer offers baking courses in her own kitchen on the farm. The application for participation in courses is done via Facebook and online. Each course participant shapes their own pastry to get a better feel for the dough. The baking is done with regional cereals and simple ingredients that are widely available. All the rolls specified in the recipe brochure are easy to make, clearly described and all important preparation stages are shown with step-by step instructions. The baking is done with common household appliances, so that everyone can replicate the baking at home.
The food blog “Baking with Christina” (http://backenmitchristina.at) serves as preparation and follow-up for the courses. By using regional cereals in the courses, the course participants are invited to purchase food products from the region. Thus, awareness of agricultural products is raised to influence buying and eating habits.
Color Off is an officinal coloreria located in Ostrense. It is a start-up project born after months of studies and research from the idea of the applicant (she is a molecular biologist). Within one hectare of land located among the hills of the Marche Apennine, Sandra grows and processes dye plants in order to extract organic coloring and to perform dyes on natural fibers. Cultivations respect the principles of environmental sustainability and they have low environmental impact. She organizes classes and workshops of natural dyeing within her farm, a real lab, but also on other locations on request.
This start-up of natural coloring is the answer to the problems caused by synthetic dyes, pollution and allergies: this is the idea of Sandra Quarantini. Her color is yellow and she is specialized in the cultivation of reseda luteola from which she obtains a very bright yellow, which can be sold to clients as a plant or as a colorant. Her activity is addressed to weavers, tailors ad creatives, but many requests are coming from privates as well i.e. to dye newborn’s layettes and she will soon open an e-commerce because many requests arrive from abroad.
The project respects the environment and promotes new and sustainable lifestyles and consumption models.
The applicant and her husband bought a farm in 2005. Her husband started his agriculture business with 30 cows and she joined him in 2008. They have now more than 100 cows and produce 900,000 liters of milk per year all to the local dairy. In their 95 hectares they produce corn Lucerne and grass for the cattle. Since 2011 she started a new branch of business: dairy ice cream. 5.000 liters in 2011 to 20,000 last year. The applicant sells the ice creams with Margar’Ice brand. She started with a small laboratory and a small delivery truck. Now she has a new and bigger laboratory where she has more storage an production space. She has 26 flavors with only natural ingredients. That’s to say that she adds sugar, cream, milk powder at their milk. She sells her production in supermarkets and dairy shops in the region. She also makes caramel and yoghurt; for the sorbets she buys real fruit. Since the beginning of the project, the farm has already been able to contract one person to help with the tasks. Selling the ice cream allows the family farm to increase the average milk price and to become less dependent of the milk price (and it’s variations).
Winner – Margaret Farrelly. Free-range laying hens. Member of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Ireland.
SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT
In 1983, Margaret married her husband, Leo, and they moved to a 16-hectare dairy farm with 10 cows in Mullagh, on the border of Cavan and Meath, Ireland. Having worked in a bank, it did not take long for Margaret to realise that the income from the dairy farm would not make ends meet, so she looked around to see what could be done. Margaret realised that farming families kept few hens and so, since then, Margaret has been investing in this sector.
In 1987, Margaret began a pioneer investment in Ireland, buying 150 freerange laying hens and supplying a local packer. Nowadays, Margaret has 150 hectares of land, 168,000 free-range hens and her turnover stands at €6.2 million. The product is presented on Irish supermarket shelves in coloured packaging, which sets the O’Eggs apart – the ‘O’ stands for outdoor. 5 cents from each pack of O’Eggs goes to a cancer charity. Margaret also bet on Megga eggs, free-range eggs that are naturally enriched with omega 3, selenium and vitamin E via the hen’s diet. In 2009, Margaret identified another niche market, i.e. white eggs, and so invested in white hens. Three years later, in 2012, Margaret solved the problem of unsaleable very small and very large eggs by introducing pasteurised egg products and she now supplies bottled eggs to most of Ireland’s main supermarket chains. The company employs 33 full and part-time staff and Margaret works with 22 farmers who complete a poultry educational programme, including a programme with the University of Scotland. Margaret has also set up a research and development department for innovative products. This year, Margaret has already invested €8 million in production facilities. Because sustainability is key for Margaret, she developed the Origin Green Programme within the Irish food board and encourages people to visit her farm to see how transparent the procedures are for themselves. All of Margaret’s products and ideas are promoted via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and she recounts her inspiring tale of entrepreneurship and innovation on television programmes too. Margaret also participates in a national TV programme, “The Secret Millionaire”.
Judy was one of the first entrepreneurs in the Netherlands starting a care farm in 2000. The care farm has made several developments throughout the years becoming a development farm with a team of care coaches an production employees. The farm “De Laarhoeve” provides outbound care to approximately 25 production employees with special needs. The farm assortment consists of jams, dessert sauces, apple sauce, cooking pears, red cabbage, chutneys, pasta sauces among others. The processing is completely natural and her costumers are the retail chains and the catering industry.
The applicant is building a professional experimental kitchen with several production and wrapping lines. This is a quality improvement and an expansion to current facilities. The design and equipment choice has been defined based on the work needs of the employees at the care farm maximizing their work space. The project provides the opportunity to develop and test new products and recipes before they are produced and processes at the farm. The products are put in the market with a private label; they don’t have added sugar, they have less salt then normal products and have a higher nutritional value. Rejected products due to shape, size or ripeness are usually used to feed livestock or thrown away. The applicant, with this project, creates value: preventing food waste, shortening the food chain, through quality improvement, cost reduction efficiency, transparency shortening of food miles and sustainability. Other farmers can use her facilities, have workshops , food tasting and company meetings there. The kitchen will be operating in Q3 2018 expanding meaningful work environment for workers with special needs.
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.
Olga Kujani Laszlone Cser. Monitoring and forecasting agricultural production. Member of the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture (NAK), Hungary.
SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT
In 2003, Olga founded Kujani ltd and the Kujani farm. The farm is a family business and all four family members are well versed in agriculture, with several agricultural degrees between them. Olga herself is an assistant at the university. The Kujani farm is somewhat of an oasis in the middle of the Hungarian wasteland and has 14 hectares of vines and 16 hectares of stone fruit trees, which are essential for the production of apricot jam, cinnamon flavoured apricot jam, apple and apricot jam, strawberry and apricot jam, and sour cherry jam. Whilst founding the farm, Olga was also granted SAPARD pre-accession funds for Hungarian agriculture and invested in a system of real-time monitoring and forecasting for farmers. The system that Olga created makes it possible to produce high-quality products that meet EU food security requirements. It is also coupled with specialist advisory services. The system can be used anywhere in the world after a few tweaks to adapt it to the specific characteristics of each country. The system recently became the basis of the system used by the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture and is employed by some 1,000 Hungarian farmers. It has also piqued the interest of foreign partners, and several state officials from Serbia, Kosovo, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and the United States have visited the farm to see the programme themselves.
Olga selected and purchased the equipment herself and developed the integrated and complex plant production system, known as the Hungarian tailored system, which is perfectly aligned to Hungarian weather conditions and the needs of Hungarian farmers. The system supports farmers’ agri-environmental projects using smart tools (text messages and e-mails) to provide real-time professional advice for farmers on when to spray their plants, when to use chemicals and which dosages to apply. The aim is to forecast pest control trends, work on plans for soil management and fertilisation, and establish a rotation system and farming schedule based on best practices. The services also includes farm advice with practical demonstrations, group advice sessions (reviewing expectations) and organising training sessions for the National Qualification Register (OKJ). The technological system was first used by the Kujani farm. At present, some 1,000 Hungarian farmers use this system to produce highquality goods and meet EU food security requirements.