In 2014 we started organizing masterclasses for growers under the BVB College concept. With these masterclasses, we hoped to bring more knowledge about relevant aspects of cultivation to our customers. The BVB Colleges have always been interactive gatherings during which growers can share their ideas, hesitations, and questions while learning relevant things applicable to their own company. In this article, we’ll also have a look at the BVB College experience of one of our customers.
Higher-level education in a relaxed way
The masterclasses during the BVB College always go into quite some detail. Since we cover complicated matters on a higher professional level, it only makes sense that not all participants are able to understand everything immediately. That’s something we certainly keep in mind when creating the structure of our lectures. We always work with a limited number of participants per college, leaving enough space to answer questions and discuss specific practical examples. We make sure to always have multiple knowledgeable experts from Kekkilä-BVB present to explain things in their own ways if needed. In addition, we also always include a trip to a nursery or a tour of one of our production locations to make things more practical.
The BVB College also always includes lunches, and or dinners, leaving time for informal conversations and unwinding. That way participants can process the new knowledge they have just picked up in a nice and relaxed way.
What’s it like to participate: the BVB College experience
Let’s hear from one of the participants of our newest BVB College on sustainability: Niek Vergeldt. Niek works as a cultivation manager at Vergeldt & Bouten Boomkwekers in the Netherlands.
“Two years ago our Dutch company was sold to Häberli, a tree nursery from Switzerland. Switzerland has always been an important market for us. They highly value organic growing and sustainability.” Niek explains. “We have been working on sustainability for a while now, and Kekkilä-BVB has proven to be a good partner in this process.”. Vergeldt & Bouten Boomkwekers had been trialing 6 different types of substrate from our BVB Substrates brand in order to find the best, most sustainable solution that works for them. When we developed the BVB College about sustainable substrates, they immediately wanted to join.
“My colleagues and I are happy we participated in this BVB College.
“I learned a lot from the environmental debate surrounding the use of peat. We do not shy away from questions from customers, but it’s such a complicated topic. It is often, easily assumed that alternate raw materials, like coir, do not put pressure on the environment. I’ve noticed that many of our customers do not realize that, under certain conditions, peat can actually be a sustainable material for growing media.” Niek explains. He feels like you should in fact almost calculate the exact environmental footprint to be able to make good decisions.
BVB College on sustainability
This edition of the BVB College is fully focussed on the sustainability challenges, demands, and questions that growers have to face. We cover the impact of different types of raw materials, and the impact of the covenant that was signed in 2022. A strong focus point during this college is the fact that a substrate needs to be “fit-for-purpose” in order to yield efficient growth. This means we also need to take a close look at the properties of the different types of substrate, like the buffering capacities (water, nutrients, pH) and the changes in growing methods required.