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GrootGroenPlus 2024: In the picture

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Hanneke Tax, donderdag 1 februari 2024
269 sec

Chairman David Bömer: "We challenge you: show us who you are and what you stand for"

An image is much more than a picture. That becomes apparent in the conversation with GrootGroenPlus chairman David Bömer about the trade fair theme for 2024: In the picture. With this theme, the trade fair organisation aims to provide a platform for the entire industry and every participant. Everyone is challenged to showcase themselves, their company, and their products or services in the best possible light in the picture.

David Bömer
David Bömer

A healthy tree nursery industry cannot exist without good communication and promotion. "And that requires a good story," says Bömer. "A story in which you tell who you are, what you do, and what you have to offer to your market. Such a good story becomes much stronger with a powerful image." Anyone who has attended a presentation or lecture by David Bömer knows that he likes to support his story with images. "If I were to tell a story now about the current water issues we are experiencing, I would support it with images. Showing how the water presents a problem in the field, how efforts are being made to find a solution, and of course, where it all takes place. The story comes to life with the images."

'The story comes to life with images'


Another example that Bömer mentions is that of the late dendrologist Dick van Hoey Smith, who often took photos of trees and plants in Arboretum Trompenburg. Bömer: "He often called his wife Riet before he took a photo of a tree. By including her in the photo with the tree, the viewer got a much better impression of the species and the size of the tree. You can apply that trick to plant photography as well, for example, by including an object like a pair of pruning shears or a box next to the plant."

365 days in the spotlight

The trade fair takes place in October. Isn't it too early to announce the trade fair theme already? "Certainly not," says Bömer. "Some may be under the impression that GrootGroenPlus only takes place those three days a year. And that does apply to the physical trade fair in Zundert, but with the GrootGroenPlus platform, we put the spotlight on the industry 365 days a year. To emphasize this, registration for the next edition of the trade fair always starts on the Friday of the current trade fair. Throughout the year, participants can benefit from the attention generated by the platform in various ways.' In addition to the Kwekersbode, which comes out twice a year, there is the online news platform GGP.news. This puts the GrootGroenPlus trade fair in the spotlight, and also presents current international news and information about market developments, green projects, companies, products, and events in the tree nursery industry throughout the year. "We believe it is important that everyone can easily connect to the platform, which generates attention for and from the industry 365 days a year," says Bömer. "Furthermore, we have partnered with trade magazine Boom in Business, which also provides the trade fair catalogue - for us, this is the ideal way to reach the entire breadth of our audience."


"At the physical trade fair of GrootGroenPlus in October, we first and foremost put the participants in the picture, each in a way that suits them best. One prefers to be on a big stage in the spotlight, while another benefits from a more modest place where the products are mainly highlighted. With this year's theme, we challenge everyone to think about a number of questions: What image shows who we are, and what we stand for? Which photo characterises our products or our way of working? It would be nice if people could capture that in October 2024."
Bömer continues: "Our theme isn't intended to suggest that nothing is happening yet when it comes to imagery and photography in the industry. Think, for example, of label photography; you often see professional photos that highlight the unique characteristics of a cultivar. But sometimes, the pictures also all look the same - and in that way, so do the plants. You can always look at it critically, and you should certainly not underestimate the value of professional photography."
The trade fair organisation wants to show development and innovation. Bömer: "For example, modern cameras and image editing offer many opportunities. During the last edition of the GrootGroenPlus trade fair, visitors could see holograms of the nominations for the Green Grand Prix. Of course, not every grower will be able to start using holograms, but together, we can experiment with new and familiar techniques."

Photo contest: Green in the Spotlight

In line with the trade fair theme, a photo contest will be hosted in 2024. As the organisations announces: "The visual power of good photography should not be underestimated; we at GrootGroenPlus know that better than anyone. Completely in line with the theme, it has therefore been decided to organise a special photo contest this year. This provides the tree nursery industry with a unique opportunity to present itself in a different way. To participate, one can submit a photo that shows something interesting from a technical perspective, but also includes creativity and storytelling. A professional jury will select the top 20 and then present them to the public. Visitors can also vote for a public winner. More information on this competition will be announced in June 2024."

A fitting platform

The theme naturally not only applies to the photos that trade fair participants present, as Bömer explains. "GrootGroenPlus is a trade fair that is entirely designed to put the industry and all participating entrepreneurs in the picture." Characteristic of GrootGroenPlus are the 'Ikea routes', so that the public has the chance to visit the entire fair without skipping a stand. "At GrootGroenPlus, no one is put on the side-line. From the pleasant setting of the central restaurant, visitors can start and end any route. It's about getting all participants well in the picture for the visitors, but also about making the visitors clearly visible to the participants. We bring parties together; that's the strength of a relationship fair."

Expert grafting (photo: Timo Reisiger)

'That's exactly who you are!'

When asked what Bömer would do with the theme if he were a participant at the upcoming edition of the trade fair, he shares what is on his mind. "I think of a photo that reflects the essence of what my company stands for. In my case, you see hands busy with grafting. A hand with 'graft number 19', with next to it a handful of grafts, and a crate that is almost done. The caption: "Every cut is spot on." The image shows quality and craftsmanship, and that it is about production, about quantities."
Impressive images also require courage, says Bömer. "Perhaps you need to leave something out and only show a detail. Or choose a different image than the obvious one. Once I took a series of photos of a grower for a story. In one of the photos, he was walking across the field with his phone to his ear, gesturing widely and engrossed in conversation. When he showed this photo at home, his family ignored the other photos: "Dad, that's exactly how you are," they said."

"Impressive images require courage"


"The best photos are often taken by a photographer with expertise in the field," Bömer knows. "Léon van Bon, for example, was a professional cyclist before becoming a cycling photographer. He knows better than anyone when to take an overview photo or an intense close-up of a cyclist. An expert in the tree nursery industry knows what it takes to grow that one plant or what matters in irrigation. They know what story you want to tell with the latest innovations. As an occasional photographer, you may occasionally take a lucky shot, but a photographer with expertise can capture that extra piece that you will likely miss in an ordinary photo." Bömer concludes with a challenging statement: "There is a lot of knowledge in the tree nursery world. With this trade fair theme, we challenge everyone to stand up and be seen with that knowledge. To get in the picture."

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