Watersley Sports & Talent Park in Sittard will be expanded with a food supply of healthy and sustainable foods.
The municipality of Sittard-Geleen, the province of Limburg and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development contribute financially through a grant from the LEADER South Limburg program. Work began on Monday, May 2, 2022.
Watersley Sports & Talent Park is a campus where young (top) athletes from the Netherlands and abroad live, train, eat and spend their free time. In terms of food, the campus is well on its way to becoming completely self-sufficient. The park will grow its own food for athletes and people from the area, as part of a social project.
“We have reserved about seven hectares for food cultivation,” says project manager Jeroen Niessen. “We then grow almost everything ourselves: from cereals to fruit and from herbs to vegetables. We do this in a nature-inclusive way. There will be a kitchen garden, greenhouse and a run with chickens that provide eggs. We also plant orchards with fruit and nut trees. We choose unique foods that are good for athletes, such as the gluten-free type of teff. We make our own pasta and bread with grain from our own terrain. ”
“We start by restoring the monastery garden. The history of the site plays a big role in the project. Extensive research has been done on this history together with, among others, Vereniging Sittards Verleden. In previous centuries, food was grown in the monastery’s front yard and cooked in the room that now also serves as our kitchen. In this way, we preserve Watersley’s rich history and give the place our own modern look. “
“The harvest from, among other places, the monastery garden is intended for our athletes, but also for people from the neighborhood. In the old monastery there will be a tasting room where we cook for people. Our products are brought to the Sittard market through a greengrocer with whom we collaborate. And if there is enough food, we also bring it to the elderly. Food that is healthy for the athlete is also healthy for seniors because it is full of nutrients. ”
Learning and development process
On campus, young people who are at a distance from the regular labor market work. The food supply gets a place in their learning and development process. Together with Watersley, Porthos Watersley advisers and the local community, they learn about food and how to grow it.
Grant from LEADER South Limburg
Watersley Food Supply will receive approximately € 110,000 from the LEADER Zuid-Limburg support program, of which the municipality of Sittard-Geleen will contribute € 44,000. Watersley’s food project fits in with the sustainability and health goals set out in the municipality’s 2030 Vision for the Future. According to responsible councilor Pieter Meekels, this initiative ensures the preservation of Watersley and the associated property. LEADER South Limburg is a European grant program that develops and strengthens the quality of life and the economy in rural areas. The European Union, the province of Limburg and the municipalities of southern Limburg are making money available for this.
Thanks to LEADER, more than 20 projects have been created in Sydlimburg in recent years. “Watersley Food Supply is the first project to receive the green light since the opening of the new grant period in June 2021,” said Hub Meijers, chairman of the Local Action Group, which evaluates the project applications. “About ten more projects are expected to follow in the coming months. We are currently preparing the plans together with the initiators. It looks promising. We expect that major initiatives will be added to the existing LEADER projects and that we will be able to successfully implement the current LEADER period by the end of 2022. ”
“We are now also investigating the possibilities for LEADER for the new period 2023-2027. We hope that in addition to Sydlimburg, other areas in Limburg will also have the opportunity to participate. That way we can realize even more projects together. It is, after all, what we do it for, which makes Limburg more beautiful for the people of Limburg. This will be elaborated in the coming months “, concludes deputy Lia Roefs.
Source: Limburg Province