Although it is not clear yet what a full-grown circular economy (CE) is going to look like, it is clear that the challenges of transitioning to a CE are both impressive and urgent. The Dutch government has expressed the ambition to establish a CE in the Netherlands in 2050. In the wake of this, the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality laid down a vision on circular agriculture (CA). A key question with respect to both CE and CA is if and to what extent this means business as unusual: How distinct is circular business from normal business operations? The ways in which the notions of CE and circular business models (CBMs) are often introduced suggest a big difference. However, closer scrutiny also reveals that in practice the impact of circularity is less obvious. Against the backdrop of such opposite observations, this paper examines how Dutch farmers perceive circularity and what implications this has for their production practices. Interviews (n = 13) with Dutch farmers show that circular business is adapted in normal business management by some and regarded as a genuine alternative to the conventional food system by others. By taking Dutch farmers as an example, this paper aims to contribute to our understanding of how CE is interpreted in small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
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