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AALTEN – On Bredevoortsestraatweg in Aalten, roughly diagonally opposite ‘t Walfort, work is being done on green dreams, the Green Dreams food forest. Here, in ten to fifteen years, a food forest should have been realized, where Aalteners and non-Aalteners can get delicious fresh berries, seeds, nuts and fruit from Aalten’s soil. Made without (artificial) fertilizer and without the use of pesticides. Anyone who sees the place now can hardly imagine it, but volunteer Maikel Pennings has a clear picture in mind.

By Sander Damen

“At the beginning of this year, our cooperative bought this pasture,” says Maikel. ,, It preceded a long period of the search because the country had to meet a number of requirements. After a long search, this place was found, it should be large enough, the soil should be suitable or could be made suitable and it should not be too close to meadows or fields where pesticides are sprayed. ”

Pesticides are excluded with Green Dreams. Like fertilizers and exotic plants and shrubs. “We only use plants, trees and shrubs that come from the Netherlands, and we use no pesticides, no fertilizers or artificial fertilizers,” explains Maikel. “We work by the permaculture method.” In short, permaculture is the opposite of monoculture, which is now used by many field farmers. A piece of land is grown with only one product, such as potatoes, sugar beets or corn. In permaculture, several crops, plants, shrubs and trees are grown on a piece of land using natural principles. This keeps the soil covered and moist at all times. Applying this method to a food forest also creates more space for biodiversity.

Ten to fifteen years
When we talk to Maikel, it’s hard to imagine that a food forest is developing here. It’s an empty meadow. Grass everywhere, but some grasslands are greener and the soil is drier. Where there are leaves, the soil is moist and the grass disappears. “We are in the process of mulching,” says Maikel. “This means that we will cover the grass with leaves, which improves the quality of the soil. The leaves act as a sponge, keeping the soil moist and improving the quality of the soil. The next step is to plant and maintain the forest. It takes ten to fifteen years for a food forest to produce food. The magazine also comes from Aalten municipality, from the leaf baskets. They support our initiative. ”

Set up terrain
Once the food forest is established, there will be a forest in this place with fruit trees, berry bushes, nut trees and other plants, crops and trees. “Everything you can eat,” Maikel explains. “The forest should provide more or less a complete meal.” ‘Elephant paths’ will run between the plants to make the harvest possible. Autumn can take place all year round. The profits from the forest will be sold.

Buy wood
In the coming period, Grøne Dromen’s volunteers will mainly focus on covering, after which sowing and planting and the site will be arranged so that guests can also be received, for plant exchange days and do-it-yourself days with volunteers. is also organized. “Every week, volunteers work on the realization,” says Maikel. “I do it every Tuesday. At home, I have set up a mini food garden, I enjoy helping to ensure that food is also produced here. ”

The food forest is mainly funded by sponsors. It can be companies, but also individuals. They can buy a tree or a square. “We could also use some volunteers,” says Maikel. More information can be found at On 28 May, there will be a plant exchange afternoon between 12.00 and 16.00, where all interested parties are welcome. Groene Dromen can be found between numbers 141 and 145 on Bredevoortsestraatweg in Aalten. Parking is best at ‘t Walfort.

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