Bohemiae Rosa

Farming the organic way: talks to the owner of Bohemiae Rosa, Ingmar Booij.

Suchi Rudra

Written by Suchi Rudra Published on 26.07.2010 11:23 (updated on 26.07.2010) Reading time: 3 minutes

These days, sustainability is quite a hot topic. At its core, sustainability is about awareness and caring for one’s environment. Ingmar Booij, owner of Bohemiae Rosa Farms, has found himself in the very heart of a sustainable lifestyle. As he stops in front of a pen that contains a 300 kilo boar and three female pigs, the Dutch native leans over the fence to give one of the female pigs a hearty scratch on her back. “They love it when you do that,” he says.

Booij presides contentedly and thoughtfully over his 100-hectare sustainable farm near Votice, a sleepy town just north of Southern Bohemia. He admits that the neighboring farmers consider his alternative farming style to be somewhat crazy, but Booij’s strong commitment to sustainable farming methods and organic produce and meat is long established.

Booij and his wife were tired of the grocery store food they had been buying all their lives, and decided to do something about it. At the same time, they knew they could educate others in the process. “We want people to see where their food comes from,” he says.

After reading every book he could find on alternative farming, Booij and his wife searched for the right location in the Czech Republic to establish their farm. In 2006, Booij signed the contract and began his sustainable farming adventure, purchasing almost every piece of equipment second-hand, including his own car, and ensuring high standards of water and energy efficiency throughout the farm. The farm is also mostly organic, though not yet organic certified, and utilizes artificial fertilizer.

Not only do traditional farming methods keep animals like chickens and pigs pent up in very cramped spaces, but the food that is given to them often consists of unhealthy odds and ends, including chemical byproducts like that from chewing gum, Booij points out, referring to an article he recently read. At Bohemiae Farms, Booij makes sure that all of his animals have more than sufficient space for moving around and are fed organic vegetables and fruits grown on the farm.


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About 90 percent of the farm’s output is meat production, and the rest is fruits and vegetables. As Booij puts it, “a chicken can be raised in 10 weeks, but an apple tree takes five years.” He adds that one hectare of fruit trees is planted each year on the farm.

Guests have been visiting Bohemia Farms since 2008, but by the end of 2010 Booij says all of the buildings will be entirely finished. Aside from a hotel which accommodates 40 guests, a restaurant and the house where Booij and his family reside, the farm grounds consist of barns and pens to house the various livestock, including geese, turkeys, goats, pigs, and chickens; grazing pastures for the cows; a freezer room; a meat processing room; a greenhouse; an herb garden with over 40 kinds of herbs; a terrace for guests and fruit tree orchards.

Bohemiae Farms also hosts corporate guests who take advantage of the training facilities in a quiet and natural setting. Contained in a building with a view to the greenhouse and pastures, the facilities consist of a teamwork classroom on the top floor and a regular teaching classroom on the second floor. The bottom floor is arranged as a game room, and includes a billiards table and a vending machine.

Visitors can come to see the animals or to pick whatever fruits or vegetables are in season. Booij also has a youth program for high school students interested in spending a few weeks living and working on the farm. He already has a group of eight students lined up for July and another eight for August.


After high school, Booij joined the military in his native Netherlands and stayed for seven years, leaving as an officer. But during his evenings, Booij had been taking classes and earned a degree in economics and cost accounting. Upon leaving the military, Booij began working for a young Dutch company called TMF. It was through his work as regional manager of the central European division that Booij discovered his love for the Czech Republic (his parents had already moved here, and are also long-established expats). Today, 20 years later, he continues to work for TMF as a non-executive director advising the board.

But Booij desired to do something besides focus on his career.

“I figure that you have only one life, and you can’t do the same thing for 40 years.”

To read more go to Bohemia Rosa – Farm&Food or Recreation&Training.

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