The Tuinfabriek at Utrecht Central Station

It was the best time of the year to do it. Harvest is ready to be picked while outside temperatures are still pleasant. I took some days off, bought all-day train tickets and traveled through the Dutch Randstad to see some of the many urban farming projects realized. Here a report, on facebook the photos. Like them, if you do……

The first stop was unexpected but therefore not less welcome. While transporting myself towards the Eindhoven train station I passed by this greenbusstop. As I’d never heard of it, I thought it was quite new. Further research showed me that the stop was already designed in 2009. No vegies or spices are growing here (yet) but I guess there is a good opportunity to create a network of green abri, offering users of the public transport a wide range of flavors while moving from one place to another.

The official tour was about to start on the first European urban farm in Rotterdam. The project called Uit je Eigen Stad (From Your Own City) took a long time to get started as it wasn’t easy to get the right permissions. Which is not very strange, as you know that this farm is situated on a former harbor site. Unfortunately an unexpected delay made me skip this stop. Next time I am inn as friends told me lunch and location were great!

Next stop was at Utrecht Central Station, or more specifically the Hoog Catharijne shopping centre which connects the station with the old city center. A weird place and nominated several times as the most ugly place in the country. Also the owner has realized this and decided to initiate a summer full of cultural events. These days cultural events in the Netherlands can’t succeed without some innovative food projects. In this case an urban farm on top of the mall. Not just an urban farm. No, one created by an artist and maintained by the inhabitants from neighboring apartment buildings. Now they both profit; the artist has her caretakers, while the inhabitants can look to and live on a beautiful designed and green (!!) rooftop.

Besides tomatoes, pumpkins, potatoes, zucchini and the like, this garden also left room for The Chickenclub (yes, some two legged ladies walking around in their cage here) and to composing machines. With this making it a more realistic copy of an average daily diet, traditionally composed out of vegetables, grains or potatoes and fish or meat.

During my visit, the garden work had just finished and the neighbors enjoyed a drink, some snacks and a barbecue. It is interesting to see that, while people one floor below hurry to catch trains or get their children from daycare, on this rooftop people relax, enjoy the late summer evenings and where able to create something beautiful out of a space which was ignored for years. Well, done!  

Day two was reserved for The Hague. The city housing the government seems to become overgrown by different scales and forms of urban farming. Check it out soon!