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Twice already, Freek has chosen the wrong study programme. Then he was certain: International Food & Agribusiness [IFA] at HAS. That was what his brother-in-law, who works in Wageningen, whispered in his ear. Freek explains: “He said that a lot happens at HAS.” Freek hasn’t the slightest bit of regret about his choice: “It’s a small scale study programme. You know your lecturers by their first name and vice versa. They are also experts. Many of them have worked in the sector, including abroad. They know what they’re talking about. And at HAS they know how to tie theory and practice together.”

What attracts Freek to IFA is the global approach. “That’s immediately visible in our class, where students come from Germany Malaysia, Kenya and America as well as the Netherlands.”

His domain choice is Food and, in particular, the entire chain including sales. “IFA is about making food production and the food chains more sustainable. But this study programme is also about business. How do you start a business? How do you go global? How do you launch an event or a product on the market?”

Freek is eagerly looking forward to summer. At De Es nursery in Haaren, where they grow over 80 types of organic vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers (some of which are edible), he’s going to be working on creating a great event. “We want the Open Day at De Es to grow into a Food Festival. There’s a lot to consider: Who’s the target group? How do you reach them? How do you turn them into customers? What’s the line up? What permits do we need?”

But first, there’s a study trip to Morocco. Together with his classmates Freek will visit, for example, vineyards and olive plantations in Fez, and phosphate mines near Kourighba, which are slowly running empty. He will also spend a day visiting the Mohammed V University in Rabat, where he’ll exchange ideas about the truffle industry with the students there. Frek’s sunny closing words: “We’re going to stick an extra week’s holiday on at the end. Might as well right, as we’re already there!”