Cooperative njam-njam ; Croatian HM hub

Short description

Where is the initiative based (region )? CROATIA     

Country Križevci, Koprivničko-Križevačka county, Eastern Europe

What kind of initiative (farm, private, network, other)? Creating a cooperative of 5 farms that deliver their products to the customers’ doorsteps; establishing a Croatian holistic management hub with approval of Savory Institute for holistic management

Name of the initiative? Cooperative njam-njam ; Croatian HM hub

What is the goal of your initiative? First is giving our customers the possibility to buy heathy food produced in a method which is also good for the soil. Second is implementing a method of holistic management. The method uses different animals in rotational planned grazing for developing good grass cover which can sequester lots of carbon from the atmosphere and put it back in the soil where it belongs, also enlarging soil capacity to retain the moisture to help reverse climate change. This method can be applied to all kind of soil and property size.

What are the activities involved? In the food production part: all kind of fresh meat and poultry production, process/dry meat products and eggs, fresh fruits and fruit process products (jams, marmalades, juices), biodynamic and permaculture vegetables and process vegetable products, cakes, cooked meals and organic cosmetics. All products are with no wheat (we use buckwheat, spelt, millet), no white sugar (we use molasses, honey, dark muscovado) no additives. On farms we are implementing planned rotational grazing of different kind of animals in method lots of animals’ short period of time.

What are the results? We have a stable market in the whole county and people are very interested now in the food they buy and eat. The results of holistic management on the soil should be as described before good grass cover with capacity of retaining the water. Having more animals on smaller piece of land for almost whole year. Cheaper production, happy animals. Impowering more people to go in organic production and with that, restoration of the rural area.

What are your ambitions for the future We have ambition to legalize all our processes and become a legal cooperative. We also have intention to become holistic management hub and centre for showing people it is possible to work and live from the land and not to use conventional methods. We want to educate more people because it is necessary for all farmers to start producing in methods that are beneficial for the soil and animals and in result for human health and wellbeing. Positive influence on bringing back life to rural areas. Giving people opportunity to work in that way.

Success factors and needs

Please write, in a nutshell a short story about the core of your initiative. We are small cooperative in development (five farms) all from same area. Two (farms) of us are biodynamic vegetable producers, one has pasture milking cows and producing milk connected products, one has various poultry (1000/month) using Joel Salatins method of chicken tractors and one (I and my family) have mixed farm (two separated farms) with small number of cows, poultry, pigs, sheep and quails. All animals are free range. Our properties are not big, 2-5 ha each and we have more land elsewhere for hay and grain production. We produce and sell lots of primary and secondary products and we have developed a very good market in half of our country, selling our products through a web app and delivering fresh to customers’ doors once a week, depending on their address. That is quite challenging because farmers are doing everything by themselves for now. Our intention is to educate on Savory institute and to become full regenerative producers and we are in process of becoming Croatian hub for holistic management. That kind of regenerative agricultural production have very positive impact on rural area restoration together with soil restoration. It is the only possible way for agriculture in the future. Although we are constant promoters of regenerative agriculture, but we are aware that we need to become part of the Savory network in full meaning of the word to be really on the track. We are also aware that we must become an example of good and sustainable practice and then the other people would get interested in accepting our vision of regenerative agriculture.

What are the main lessons you learned? We have learned a lot in the last two years but the most important is that everything needs to be done 3 times (and more). That is something that I’ve heard in Vinci olive oil cooperative and I recognised as truth. Accordingly, you need to be persistent and passionate in something you want to do. Things may look profitable but if you really don’t do something because you believe in it, in the end it won’t work. You need to become a successful and financially sustainable example and then your method, knowledge or message would spread easily without special effort in the surrounding.

Kindly say a few words about the process We are learning every day. One of the challenges was to start to talk openly or disagree about something. At first, we were too closed in our “polite” shelves and because of that sometimes the members experienced inside frustration. Because we are first in our area that are doing farming, preparing products and delivering to customers in 24 hours’ time (everything is fresh), we are learning by doing and trying new ways every step of the way. The most challenging is not to put yourself in the 24/7 working frame, because it will burn you out!

Anything else you would like to mention? At first when you are doing something new, even if it starts successfully you are always thinking you will fail, after that you are very afraid for your story not to fail but only when you start to see things and processes from above like in video game, then you stop to overthinking about anything and just go and do or try everything. The trip begins to be amusing for you.

Can you please list 5 key words that best represent your story? organic, holistic management, farms, cooperative

Knowing more
 If someone wants to know more, do you have a website? Others? Soon we will have web page but for now we have short movie about us.

Repository compiled by: Bruna Tariba