Turnhout City Farm becomes a Campine intersection

 

Slowly but surely, Turnhout City Farm is taking shape as the Campine’s physical hub, acting as a link between the city centre and the surrounding rural area. Here, under the guidance of Boerenbond’s Innovation Support Point, and with the support of PURE Hubs, active collaboration between rural entrepreneurs and other interested parties is encouraged.

multi-functional spaces

The farm, which dates from 1840, was purchased by the city in 2008. The restoration of the historic building is now complete and a new building is currently under construction alongside the old building. This will predominately house multi-functional spaces, complemented by a garden and a range of visitor amenities. In addition, the city farm will also act as a tourist information point and bicycle stopping point. Melanie Ryckaert, the City of Turnhout’s policy advisor for Economy and Work, is involved both in the construction works and in determining how the new space will be used.

What might it be used for?

Melanie Ryckaert explains: “All the work on the main building has now been completed. We are currently well into the phase of designing the outdoor areas and livestock stables. There will also be a beehive, in collaboration with the Beekeepers’ Association, as well as a demonstration space for master composters. The farmstead is also important, in that it provides space for living heritage, in this case meaning the traditional animals that would originally have been found on Campine farms. Also under construction is a vegetable garden, which will be linked to a kitchen that will also offer workshops. In addition, there will be a pick-your-own garden run according to CSA principles (Community Supported Agriculture). This is where, in consultation with the grower, people come and pick their own fruit and vegetables. And we also have veg boxes, which we began distributing at the end of October, in collaboration with the Food Teams. The City Farm is the ideal place to collect them.”

Does the City Farm also play an informative or educational role?

Melanie Ryckaert replies: “We certainly aim to give visitors a sense of the area’s agricultural history. But that’s not all! We also want to provide information about the current role of agriculture in the city, and so we shine a light on Turnhout’s foreign export market. This is hugely worthwhile, because by bringing this essential information out into the open, we are increasing farmers’ visibility and enhancing rural entrepreneurs’ image. And of course, we will also be helping them to broaden their activities.”

Which of the City Farm’s functions does Melanie regard as the most essential?

Melanie replies: “I think it is crucially important for us to keep focusing on opportunities for entrepreneurs in the surrounding rural area. Their input is crucial. The City of Turnhout has started the ball rolling with this City Farm, and it is pleasing to see things gathering momentum. There has been an upsurge of interest and questions from all kinds of organisations, farmers, local residents, and so on. You certainly get the feeling that the farm is increasingly in people’s thoughts!’

The team

Of course, Melanie Ryckaert is not alone. The team also consists of an environmental coordinator, Marc Machielsen, and a project manager, Ive Van Bouwel. Together, they support the project on a day-to-day basis, and they are all looking forward to the City Farm’s official opening in April/May 2014.

 

 

vitale link tussen stad en land

vital link between city an countryside

De Veldekenshoeve is een boerderij in Kempische langgevelstijl, net ten noorden van Turnhout. De hoeve dateert uit 1840 en werd in 2008 aangekocht door de stad. Het historische gebouw wordt gerestaureerd en aangevuld met een nieuwbouw, die vooral multifunctionele ruimtes en bezoekersfaciliteiten omvat. Het hoofddoel is de creatie van een stadsboerderij ter ondersteuning van het rurale ondernemerschap. De officiële opening is gepland voor de zomer 2013.

 

The Veldekenshoeve is a farm built in the Campine long gable style slightly to the north of Turnhout. The farm dates from 1840 and in 2008 was purchased by the city. The historic building was restored and expanded with a new-build extension, offering multi-functional spaces and facilities for visitors. The main aim is to create a city farm to support rural entrepreneurism. The official opening is planned for summer 2013.

 

sociale
en economische
meerwaarde

social
and economic
advantages

Via deze stadsboerderij voegt Turnhout, met de steun van de provincie Antwerpen en PURE Hubs, een essentiële schakel toe tussen het stadscentrum en het buitengebied. Het is de bedoeling de historische toestand maximaal te bewaren en tegelijk te zorgen voor een functionele invulling.

“Dit impliceert een doordachte restauratie, aangevuld met nieuwe elementen, maar ook de bescherming van het levend erfgoed, bijvoorbeeld via een moestuin met vergeten groenten, een boomgaard en een aantal grote en kleine dieren,” zegt Melanie Ryckaert, economieambtenaar bij de stad Turnhout, die niet nalaat de sociale en economische meerwaarde te benadrukken. De stadsboerderij zal ook fungeren als toeristisch infopunt, fietsstoppunt en buurtcentrum.

Via this city farm, Turnhout, with the support of the province of Antwerp and PURE Hubs, is providing a crucial link between the city centre and rural area around it. The idea is to preserve the building in its original state as far as possible, and at the same time, to ensure that it functions efficiently.

 “This means a well thought-through restoration, complemented by new elements, but also the protection of living heritage, for example by means of a vegetable patch with forgotten vegetables, an orchard and a number of animals, both big and small,” says Melanie Ryckaert, an economy official for the city of Turnhout, who also takes the opportunity to emphasise its social and economic advantages. The city farm will also function as a tourist information point, bike stopping point and community centre.

rurale
ondernemers

rural
entrepreneurs

Centraal in dit alles is de ondersteuning van de rurale ondernemers in de ruime zin van het woord. Het innovatiesteunpunt van Boerenbond werkt dan ook actief aan de versterking van de betrokkenheid van de landbouwbedrijven in de omgeving. Dit verloopt in verschillende fasen.

 “Eerst ben ik gaan praten op een landbouwraad, om de mensen te informeren en het project uit te leggen, zonder al te concreet te worden. Want de concrete invulling moet van hen komen,” zegt innovatieconsulent Wanda Verdonck. Het kwam er vooral op aan te prikkelen en te peilen naar de mogelijke inbreng van de aanwezigen.

“Daarna heb ik een reeks afspraken gemaakt met landbouwers. In deze streek zijn dat overwegend klassieke veehouders. Ze waren wel geïnteresseerd, maar konden toch niet zo makkelijk een link leggen tussen de stadsboerderij en hun activiteiten.”

In januari 2013 volgt er dan een grote brainstorming, waar ook andere stakeholders op uitgenodigd worden, zoals overheidsdiensten, scholen en horeca.

The central purpose of all this is to support rural entrepreneurs in the wider sense of the word. Boerenbond’s innovation support point is also actively involved in strengthening the involvement of the farms in the area. This is taking place in a number of different phases.

“First, I went to talk at an Agricultural Council meeting, to inform people and explain the project, without going into too much detail. Because the detailed plans should come from them,” says innovation consultant Wanda Verdonck. The main purpose was to stimulate involvement and to assess the possible input of those present.

“Afterwards, I made a series of appointments with farmers. In this area they are mainly traditional cattle-breeders. They did show an interest, but found it hard to make the link between the city farm and their own business activities.”

In January 2013 there was a large-scale brainstorming session, to which other stakeholders, such as government services, schools, cafés and restaurants, were also invited.

verbredingsactiviteit

Subsidiary activities

Naast de traditionele veehouders zijn er ook landbouwers die reeds een verbredingsactiviteit hebben opgezet. Deze ondernemers zijn doorgaans sneller gemotiveerd en hebben soms ook al zeer concrete vragen. Innovatiesteunpunt probeert deze ondernemers te begeleiden om hun activiteiten verder uit te bouwen.

As well as the traditional cattle-breeders, there are also farmers who have already set up subsidiary activities. This type of entrepreneur tends to show an interest more quickly and sometimes already has very specific questions. The innovation support point offers guidance for these entrepreneurs in the further development their activities.

proces van
lange adem

a long-term
process

Verbreding en netwerking zijn fundamentele begrippen in heel dit proces. Maar dit vraagt veel tijd en energie.

“Het is een proces van lange adem. Maar het is belangrijk dat we niemand iets opdringen, dat de ideeën vooral uit de landbouwbedrijven zelf komen. Zo ontwikkelen we geleidelijk een gedeelde visie en een strategie die door iedereen gedragen wordt.”

Widening scope and networking are fundamental concepts throughout this process. But they demand a lot of time and energy.

“This is a long-term process. But it is important that we never force anyone to do something, and that the ideas are coming from the farmers themselves. In this way, we can gradually develop a shared vision and a strategy that everyone supports.”

 

Mobiliseren en ondersteunen

mobilisation and support

Het begeleiden en tot leven brengen van dit brede netwerk is van wezenlijk belang voor stad en platteland.

“In essentie steunt het proces op twee pijlers: mobiliseren en ondersteunen,” verduidelijkt Wanda Verdonck. “Een moeilijk en intensief proces, maar zeker de moeite waard!”

Offering guidance and stimulating the creation of this broad network is of crucial importance for both the city and the countryside.

“Essentially, the process is supported on two pillars: mobilisation and support,” clarifies Wanda Verdonck. “A difficult and intensive process, but very much worth the effort!”

     
 

For more information:
 http://www.ruraalnetwerk.be/projecten/stadsboerderij-veldekenshoeve

 

 

Opbouw van de stadsboerderij

 

Building The 
city farm 

De stadsboerderij wordt een fysieke hub, die het centrum van Turnhout verbindt met het omliggende platteland.

Inwoners van de stad kunnen er kennismaken met het aanbod van landbouwers in hun eigen stadje. Vanuit de stadsboerderij kunnen bezoekers op verkenning gaan in het buitengebied.

Onder begeleiding van het Innovatiesteunpunt van Boerenbond, wordt een actieve samenwerking tussen landbouwers opgezet, om economische meerwaarde te creëren met nieuwe activiteiten.

Het gebouw zal enerzijds bestaan uit een stal/schuur en anderzijds een multifunctionele ruimte met een workshopkeuken.

The city farm will become a physical hub, connecting the centre of Turnhout to the surrounding countryside.

City residents can get acquainted with farm products from their own town. Using the city farm as their starting point, visitors can explore the countryside.

Under the guidance of the Boerenbond’s Innovatiesteunpunt, an active cooperation between farmers will be set up. Its aim will be to try to generate economic value by creating new activities.

The building is composed of a stable / barn and there is also a multi-purpose room with a kitchen workshop

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 » Turnhout legt met Pure Hubs link tussen stad en platteland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turnhout


Pictures

Cluster Meeting Pure Hubs - Turnhout 075