For students in horticulture, the world is at their feet. Also in breeding, the creation of new vegetable varieties. Eveline van Oord works at breeding company Rijk Zwaan in Fijnaart: "Being occupied with the workings of a plant is what I find interesting. The work is never boring and you have to keep your head in it."
As a student, Eveline had a job in horticulture, just to make some extra money. "I had never expected that I would like it that much. Boring, dirty, and warm is what I thought before, but it turned out not to be like that. The work was interesting and varied." It was a reason for her to study Plant Growing after going to the Prinsentuin College in Breda. During the lessons she heard of breeding for the first time, the making of new varieties. "It was just a small peek, but it caught my interest immediately. Breeding has more depth than just producing vegetables. You are working on the fundamentals of how a plant works".
Eveline has been working for Rijk Zwaan as a crop caretaker in cabbage breeding for two years. "It is never boring. I plant young cauliflower, broccoli and turnip cabbage plants, and have to make sure they grow and flower. That comes down to 'bullying' plants. We chop all the leaves from the stem, the plant stresses and the cabbage starts to bud. When they blossom, I harvest the seed."
"This work is not mindless. You have to keep your head at it. Every plant is unique and has its own number. When the seeds have been harvested, I have to make sure that it is clear which plant they are coming from. I am a structured person, and that helps. I feel responsible. If I am not careful, the plant - with all its valuable properties - is lost for breeding. I don't want that, that is such a pity."
There were a lot of vacancies for Eveline to chose from after her study. She choose Rijk Zwaan because she saw on their website that the company had the same values she has, such as honesty and respect, responsibility, working in a team towards a goal. "Literary every point of the company philosophy matched. I thought: if everybody has that feeling, everybody there matches me. During the application interview there was an immediate click. It was a nice conversation. The best part of working for Rijk Zwaan is working with colleagues. A lot of colleagues have chosen for Rijk Zwaan on purpose. We come from everywhere, but share the same mentality. The people are motivated, love to work together, and they take the time to ask how someone is doing. Rijk Zwaan has eye for that."
Keep on growing
Students can keep on growing at Rijk Zwaan. "Rijk Zwaan offers the opportunity to learn new things. Most colleagues develop sideways, in another crop, or in another department. Not everyone can become a team leader, and it is good to realize that. The most important thing is that you are feeling good, and I am feeling good at Rijk Zwaan."
Source: World Horti Center