News Articles

Groningen farmwives have boerderijbus deliver organic produce

Response to anti-feminist remark

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

GRONINGEN, the Netherlands - An expanding commercial enterprise set up by a number of area farmwives is proving a provincial agriculturale expert wrong. Piqued by his 1999 remark that “farmwives do not make money, they only save money”, the women set out to sell (their) local products on a grander scale, make money and save the family farm.

From a tourism event where participants could bike to a number of farms and sample culinary treats prepared by the women, the concept evolved into selling these dishes and products. From there, the step was made to bring such and other homemade and homegrown products to consumers elsewhere in the region, as few people took the trouble to pick up goods at the farmgate. The bike and covered wagon tours still are organized by the women’s group.

‘Rijdende winkel’

In a cooperative effort, the women bought a second-hand ‘mobile store’ from a former SRV franchisee, and stocked it with produce and products, including meat from area farms. The SRV-mobile stores (or rijdende winkels) for decades have been riding fixtures in many rural communities, delivering dairy and produce, groceries and service to neighbourhoods and villages lacking retail stores.

In Groningen, entrepreneurs soon seized on the opportunity initiated by the farmwives by setting up a franchise concept. Currently there are four of these mobile stores. Three stores in the northern Groningen region also sell products licensed to the group.

Retail prices of the mostly organic products are well above those in regular supermarkets, but consumers are willing to pay more for such produce, free-range eggs and chickens, meat, and regional specialties and other goods and staples mainly from area suppliers. The assortment also includes a new range of pre-cooked meals, all delivered to fixed stops by what is known as De Boerderijbus (the farm bus).