Haspenwood, social entrepreneurship with grubbed apple trees
An ironic reality
Every year, the apple farmers in Haspengouw all together renew 6% of their orchards. This requires an investment of around 20.000 euros per hectare for grubbing the old trees and buying and planting the new ones. At the same the farmers are faced with the fact that those new trees will only generate an income after 3 years.
Hence 800.000 apple trees (or 30.000 tons of wood) are used as fire wood or are chipped and left on the ground. And all this in times that this economic activity gets more and more under pressure of foreign competition and the Limburg region is still coping with the effects of the Ford plant closure in Genk.
The intrinsic qualities of apple wood
Massive wood is getting more expensive due to the rising demand from the BRIC countries and the higher oil prices. And in our country there are little or no alternatives for the usual types of wood like oak or beech. Therefore there lies an opportunity in valorising alternative types of wood like the wood of the low strain apple trees.
But apple wood has plenty of intrinsic qualities that have a valorising potential: the wood structure, the smell and the fact that the wood contains a substantial amount of bio-actives.
Haspenwood wants to create a win-win with the apple farmers by buying their grubbed trees and by valorising the intrinsic qualities of the wood.
The first product we launched is our smoke wood. This product is an ambassador for Haspenwood because it makes our story tangible and helps us pass it on. This way it will open doors for other valorisation ideas we’re working on.
In our search for value we’re not only seeking durable products but also a durable production process. Therefor we include local stakeholders of different backgrounds in our process: farmers, social employment organisations, scientists, environmental groups, government, …
This way Haspenwood creates bottom-up added value for the local apple farmers and the local economy. Haspenwood is a local and ethical brand as an example of social entrepreneurship in a region in economic difficult times.
Always welcome for a chat and some apple juice
Haspenwood is an initiative of ‘friends & founders’ Bart Dooms and Erik Meylemans.
We are located in Haspengouw,