Hegnsholt Hønseri (Hegnsholt Poultry Farm)
SOCIALLY BENEFICIAL AGRICULTURE’S (SBA) INVOLVEMENT IN AT HEGNSHOLT HØNSERI
Hegnsholt Hønseri became an SBA case because the farming already included a concept for involving citizens. However, Johanne Schimming would like to be able to live off her company, so in the project, we investigated how production could be increased and how to make sure there are buyers for larger quantities. New agreements were entered into with restaurants. A website was developed, which is better suited for offering shares in exchange for prepayment or deposits. A time-consuming dialogue with visiting customers was transformed into paid visitor events. The production was analysed with respect to more rational processes, and investments were made in various smaller machines. Scaling the concept of animal wel-fare with prepayment required more management of production, food safety and delivery. SBA financed a mentor to assist Hegnsholt Hønseri in this regard. At the same time, SBA helped obtain various authorisations from the authorities.
There are many written and unwritten agreements and rules involving Hegnsholt Hønseri.
- The delivery agreements with citizens and companies describe matters concerning prepayment for goods.
- There are agreements with citizens concerning the purchase of shares in the production.
- There are various cooperation and leasing agreements with other farmers.
- Customers and cooperation partners expect that delivery, food safety, the working environment and production con-ditions are managed properly. There must be follow-ups to agreements with the authorities, so that everyone can have confidence in the sustainability of production.
The very direct citizen involvement stems from the need for op-erating capital. By prepaying, the citizens ensure a small spe-cialised production with improved animal welfare. The prod-ucts from Hegnsholt come at a higher price since this contract with citizens ensures that there is confidence that the products adhere to the high quality described.
In order to get more capital for further initiatives – for example for a farm shop – Hegnsholt uses crowd funding. The collaboration with other producers in small cooperative-like wholesale societies lowers the cost of purchasing, delivery and logistics. Marketing is primarily carried out through social media, which offers cheaper and faster communication channels to relevant target groups.
EXPERIENCE AND LEARNING
If you want citizens to be involved and prepay the costs of or-ganic production with good animal welfare, it is important that you communicate its value. Pricing must be transparent. You have to use and master websites and social media. It is about constantly providing information on everyday activities, add-ing pictures and talking about how production is going and how it differentiates itself.
At the same time, it is important that the citizens who iden-tify with this communication and would like to be involved can also ensure that production is taking place as described and that food safety and delivery of the products conforms to the agreement. By involving citizens, special attention is required that production and products can be documented and that there is compliance with agreements and legislation.
• Johanne Schimming calls herself the “mother hen” and owns Hegnsholt Hønseri in Lejre Municipality.
• She took the initiative to come up with kindergarten chickens and rental chickens, which turned out to be a big success.
• She sells eggs by the barn door.
• Customers can buy three chickens or either whole or half lambs through shares.
• Apart from Johanne Schimming, Hegnsholt Hønseri has four employees, two of them working in a flexible job.
• The products are sold locally and to a number of restaurants in Copenhagen.