In the city of Zoetermeer a renewed kids farm launched a new form of cooperation in public-private partnership. In the new rebuild the site was given a greenhouse as well as a site for an in-house commercial day-care facility for children. Especially the greenhouse gives the petting farm a new dimension. Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture assisted the city of Zoetermeer with the technical aspects of the new greenhouse.
The petting farm near Zoetermeer’s centre is an important hub for nature-education, leisure and day care for kids. The government-owned and run facility sports a play-ground equipment for a diversity of age groups, goats, pigs, chickens and petting-animals, halls for education and indoor playing and outdoor area for school gardens. Many volunteers help out with the activities of education and care for the animals.
Local commercial growers
The local government hopes to attract commercial growers from the nearby villages to participate in running the greenhouse, supporting the educational activities and using it as a sales point for local produce. So far city council doesn’t have guidelines for foreseen partnerships, but with severe cuts in the councils’ budgets, the city needs extra help.
So far the Dutch growers are hesitant. The large-scale production of fruit and vegetables in The Netherlands makes it difficult for companies to participate in small ventures. But with annual visitors numbers at 150,000 and the exposure of the petting farm in the medium-sized city of Zoetermeer the initiative seems like an interesting start-point for growers to show their engagement in the wider Dutch society. The first contacts have been positive. The coming months growers and city council will work towards participation concepts that would benefit both.