Nienke grows crops for the food bank in Arnhem Urban Agriculture

“Of the 100,000 things you can choose to do, I would like to do this,” says Nienke Hoogenboom (41). She grows crops for the Food Bank together with about 95 other volunteers from Arnhem Urban Agriculture. “After an afternoon in the country, you go home with such a contented and satisfied feeling!”

Lettuce, onions, beans: they grow it all at Urban Agriculture. In the summer, Fødevarebanken Arnhem comes by twice a week to pick up the crops. “On those days, we harvest as many products as possible in the morning. What we give depends on the season. ”

Very fresh goods for the Food Bank

Immediately after harvest, Nienke and her co-volunteers clean the products and pack them in packages. “The food bank receives very fresh fruit and vegetables from us. We remove sand and snails immediately after harvest and ensure that the crops are out of the heat. When they come by, we also help load the van. In the summer months, it all requires a lot of effort, “says Nienke. “We have so many different things, such as lettuce, strawberries and endive.”

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‘Maybe loosening things up a lot with your hands’

Nienke does not mind that it continues to work. “This gives me so much energy. I’m just glad I’m busy in the green. That you do this for other people is also very nice. And that with all like-minded people. It makes me happy.”

Nienke also gets a lot of energy from the people. “You can share everything here. We joke a lot, but we also have deep conversations. We chat about all sorts of situations, so I find a connection here. Sometimes people have problems with their neighbors or are crushed. Talking about it feels relieving. ” She says with a laugh, “Maybe it will loosen up by doing things with your hands.”

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Nick in the greenhouse. Photo: near Arnhem

Specific knowledge and experience

People are not just there for fun. Nienke explains: “Urban agriculture stands and falls with the volunteers who are here. We look at what ideas and qualities people have. Anyone can just work with it. There is someone for everything; the compost heap, the fruit tree mirror, the various crops, the watering. Everyone brings their own specific knowledge, experience and network. That way you learn a lot from each other. ”

Nienke goes to the tropical greenhouse. “For example, all kinds of crops that I did not know grow here. Like ocher and the tiger plant. Others are aware of this. It’s really nice to talk about it together. What do you taste and see? And what kind of dishes can you make with it? ”

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‘Everyone does what they can’

Besides, everyone just does what works. “The work here at Urban Agriculture in Arnhem does not necessarily have to be physically demanding. Someone with worn shoulders does not have to dig the ground with their fingers here. They can also just make coffee! You can always do something. I really like the positive approach. “

The feeling of being together means a lot to Nienke. “We are looking at how to do as much as possible with as few resources as possible. Then it’s cool to see how beautiful the garden is. And of course you are proud of what you can do together! ”

The Stadslandbouw can be found in Arnhem-Zuid on Mooiweg at number 17. You can come by when the gate is open and people are present on site. From 21 May 2022 to 1 October, there will be self-harvest days every other Saturday of the month from 1pm to 3pm. These days, you can pick your own vegetables, fruits and flowers at a reasonable price.

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