The Grain Republic: a new benchmark for collaboration in the short food supply chain

11 February 2021 - Published by Luchiena Lanjouw
The Oldambt, a region in the east of Groningen, is traditionally the area where many grains are grown. The sea clay of the Dollard bay provides the ultimate conditions for growing a variety of grains. In recent decades, the number of grain species in the landscape has been drastically reduced. Ninety percent of all crops grown now are winter wheat and corn, used as animal feed. This creates a monotonous landscape, and causes biodiversity and soil degradation.
The modern grain varieties have been improved to increase the yield per ha as much as possible. For example: they have shorter roots, and can therefore be sown closer together. In that way they take more nutrients from the soil and keep the top layer only slightly aerated.
This had to change. An initiative, started by farmers, has now grown into a large collective of farmers, producers and entrepreneurs, united in the cooperative The Grain Republic.