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Tomato grower Marc in podcast about trial balloons and lost growing contest over 'lots of crates of beer'

Colleagues call him 'the tomologist.' Marc Groenewegen, a tomato grower at Prominent Grevelingen, loves to talk about growing tomatoes more than anything else. This also made him a perfect guest for the first episode of GroenPact 2.0's podcast series Groenpraat. In it, he talked about Het Nieuwe Telen, which has been a cultivation method for more than ten years now to make cultivation more economical and better.

Marc with on the right a still from one of his latest cultivation videos on LinkedIn

More economical
Marc talks about how the climate in Sirjansland is "a Valhalla" for tomatoes, that everything is about data these days and how, in his business, they strive to grow as much and as well as possible with as little input as possible, including energy. Specifically, compared to the first crop in 1999, big steps have been taken: from 55 kilograms of tomatoes per square meter with 60 cubic meters of gas back then, now they have grown to 75 kilograms of tomatoes without gas. To heat the greenhouses, the grower, together with several colleagues in the greenhouse area, uses heat from a biomass plant. In natural gas equivalents, the grower's consumption per square meter currently comes to 22 cubic meters.

'A bit of prodding'
When Marc explains that he takes courses in Het Nieuwe Telen and Plant Empowerment, interviewer Marije de Jonge thinks for a moment that he is joking, but Marc is serious. He likes to share knowledge, as well as soak up knowledge, and praises how he and his colleagues within Prominent share knowledge to move forward together.

On LinkedIn, Marc is also very active. He spoke at length about it earlier this year in an interview on this channel and now confesses in the podcast that he also occasionally test-balloons. Marc calls it 'a bit of prodding' to learn more from all the reactions. He himself deliberately 'gives' a lot in order to get something 'double in return.' "The knowledge comes rushing to you," he says.

Lost to students
Groenpact and Centrum voor Innovatief Vakmanschap (CIV) Groen have made a podcast about Het Nieuwe Telen and lifelong development. The latter is a (continuing) education project. Listen to the entire podcast below, which also features Gert Engbers of Wellantcollege and Carlo Mutsers of Yuverta. They talk about how they make the connection between schools and growers.

Marc confesses to having recently lost to students in a growing competition. The schoolchildren grew data-driven, the growers (of which Marc was one) in another greenhouse on experience. "Too bad because we had bet on a lot of crates of beer," he says. More energy-efficient cultivation by the students earned them profit.

For more information:
Marc Groenewegen (LinkedIn)
Prominent Grevelingen