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Ivar van Dorst wins the Frans van Leijden Award 2023!

Yesterday, HAS green academy proudly presented the second Frans van Leijden Award to Ivar van Dorst with his company Ekoto. Here he produces and researches, among other things, ancient bean varieties.

Ivar with award

"Ivar has a plan and very clear vision. Despite doubts from those around him, he is persistent in what he wants and persevered with his idea. That is typically French. Ivar is also colouring outside the lines of the traditional farm with his approach!" the jury's comments said.


Tea, beans and soya: my goal is to grow as many of these products, extinct in the Netherlands, locally again.

After completing his International Food & Agribusiness studies at HAS green academy in 2021, Ivar picked up his parents' farming business, but in a different way. He farms with a short chain, local products and a lot of innovation. He does so under the name Ekoto, based in Etten-Leur.

'I started researching innovative crops. Think of tea grown in the Netherlands, vegetable proteins and beans grown before the war. A lot has been preserved in seed banks and my aim is to grow as many of these products that have become extinct in the Netherlands locally again. That way, we won't be dependent on, say, tea and soy proteins from abroad'.

"This honourable award and cheque are going to help Ekoto to further reintroduce the old Dutch bean varieties, in order to accelerate the protein transition." Spoke the proud winner afterwards.


Besides Ivar van Dorst, Duifje van Dugteren and Lennart Hoops were also nominated for the award. Three students, all bursting with talent and entrepreneurship and all three deserved a place on the podium with their great initiatives. However, Ivar managed to get the most votes from the public and he also convinced the professional jury that he was the winner of the first Frans van Leijden Award.

Presentation during celebration of 10 years of HAS Venlo

Together with students, (former) employees, alumni and partners of HAS, the 10th anniversary of the Venlo branch was celebrated. The presentation of the Frans van Leijden Award had a special place in the programme.

Without the qualities and competences of Frans van Leijden, the Venlo branch would never have existed in this capacity and form. To achieve this, it was necessary to pioneer, explore boundaries, think and act out-of-the-box, sometimes colour outside the lines, show entrepreneurship, persevere and work hard to realise the vision.

With this award, HAS gives a helping hand to a student or recent graduate of HAS green academy who also possesses these or similar qualities and puts them into practice.

The Frans van Leijden Award

The award is a living work of art designed by Esther Hoogendijk. Starting points for the design were 'robustness, vulnerability and growth'. Esther shaped this by incorporating seeds of pioneering species such as poppy and marsh endive into the award. Under the influence of water and light, it has the potential to grow and flourish.

Want to know more about the Frans van Leijden Award?

Want to watch the nominees' videos again? All information about the nominees and the Frans van Leijden Award can be found on our information page about the Frans van Leijden Award.  

Sustainable Development Goals

  • Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger
  • Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being
  • Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education
  • Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Sustainable Development Goal 11: Susatainable Cities and Communities
  • Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
  • Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action
  • Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life below Water
  • Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land
  • Sustainable Development Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals