Patching Up

A strategy to integrate drosscapes to achieve a circular organic sector in South Holland

More Info


In the Netherlands, the organic sector is one of the key pillars of the economy. Currently, the country holds the role of the second biggest exporter of food globally, having 94.5 billion in value of goods exported in 2019. In South-Holland itself the organic sector contributes to the regions’ budget by 16%. Most of the production is happening in large greenhouse clusters known as the Greenport. However, the organic sector produces a considerably huge amount of waste and pollution. It also forms drosscapes in outdated lands of infrastructure. Drosscapes and the organic patch system of the landscape are two individual systems that do not work in synergy with each other. They both create different kinds of waste (environmental, social, economic and solid), not contributing to circular sustainability. Therefore, the main question is how they can be combined with the organic sector, improving the performance of the agro-industry and reducing waste. The project answers this question by looking at the sector through a strong sustainability concept which includes the key values such as the circular and knowledge-based economy and a wide range of participants. The strategy of the region is based on four main principles. First, the goal is to bring drosscapes back into the organic system. Second, the sector has to be combined locally. Third, potential stakeholders and R&D companies have to be involved more widely and from different fields. Finally, spatial diversity has to be improved in order to make the organic sector in South-Holland circular. The strategy is based on scenario planning. The detailing of the strategy focuses on diverse system clusters of production making relations between local and compact. Additionally, the small scale examples are based on knowledge and innovative technologies, being considered a potential export product, contributing to the food geopolitics, but most important - to South Holland’s sustainability. Patch structure in the concept is used as a method, in which clusters are able to close smaller loops of production before they become connected to the regional circular system. As a result, the main sector of the export would become knowledge of farming and adaptation to climate change in the region. The strategy can be applied in different scales and locations while reaching circular economy by implementing local drosscapes into a system. Policy makers can make the best use of drosscapes in a practical way by applying the strong sustainable concept and similar strategy in their region.