Blog – City Plot

Spring has officially started! The sun is showing itself more and longer, it is slowly becoming greener around us and the first bare arms and legs have already been spotted. 

Spring is the ideal season to take more sustainable steps. At my house we love nature; flora, fauna and the outdoors. Not without effort compatible with a life in the big city. Although I - as a born and bred city girl - have always dreamed of a farm with animals and a self-sufficient vegetable garden, we cannot let go of our life in Amsterdam. After all, you can take a girl out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the girl! The challenge is therefore to unite sustainability and the outdoors with fast-paced city life, to find a balance. We are now fortunate to live in a village-like street in the South - with lots of greenery and vegetable gardens - and we can move to our beach house in the summer. While the outdoor life is great, finding the balance between modern conveniences and a more sustainable life remains a challenge for us.

This is - I think - not just a personal challenge for our family, but actually for all of us. I think most of us (want to) believe in a sustainable future where we humans live in balance with the rest of nature. In our modern, industrialized society, however, a sustainable life is reserved for only a few and sustainability is a great goal, but also (still) a utopia. We do our best, but in the meantime life goes on, at a high pace. School, work, childcare, shopping, cooking, eating, exercising, going out... There are not enough hours in a day when you still want to enjoy life in between the 'musts'. Making choices based on speed and convenience is the rule rather than the exception. No one is consciously trying to destroy the earth, but it does happen while we live our lives. Some people make more green choices than others, but together it is not enough. We let our children ride around in a sustainable cargo bike by the au pair, whose ecological footprint covers half the globe. We happily pay for a plastic bag that we then just as quickly throw away... We install wind farms in the North Sea, but we also make plans to build new nuclear power stations... Well...

Now I am absolutely no moral crusader and I personally believe that everyone of my generation and older is in any case hopeless when it comes to the necessary lifestyle transformation... 

…: "But I…!" No, unfortunately, neither are you. Not even if you're vegan. Unless you also live in a hut built of brushwood, only wear clothes from Max's pocket and eat what grows in your own vegetable garden that season or can be found in the waste container of a large supermarket, then I can congratulate you. You are well on your way. The rest of us are - Yes, even if, like me, you separate your plastic waste, sell clothes you no longer wear on Vinted or leave the car/meat parked once a week - part of the problem. Our society is simply not designed for sustainability, but for consumption and convenience. Recently, research has shown (again) that prosperity and abundance are simply not compatible with sustainability on a scale that benefits the earth. A green growth economy does not exist, that is a myth. So we must all be prepared to take a big step back, drastically adjust our lifestyle and consume less, much less. The reality is that we can bring about change - the motto of 2020 - 'only together'. I want to go one step further, I think we can only bring about that collective change through our children. What do they need? Our support and inspiration. We may have already been written off, but we do have a dream. However?

I think we all want future generations to be able to fully enjoy all the possibilities and natural beauty with which we ourselves grew up. To safeguard that future, we must make children aware of their responsibility with regard to taking care of the environment: from our immediate environment to the natural environment all around us. Encourage children to help at home, in the garden and in the neighborhood by carrying out tasks and create interest in the nature and environment around us through fun, educational and 'green' activities. 

KleintjeZuid has vegetable garden boxes at every location that are the focus of lessons from the urban farmers' collective 'City plot'. The lessons have themes such as soil, seeds, plants, insects and harvests. During the lessons, the children enjoy the outdoors and learn where food comes from, healthy eating, connection and contact and respect for nature and much more. Respect and connection with nature ensures sustainable choices in the future. Moreover, learning in nature contributes to a positive self-image, confidence and promotes creativity.

Inspired by the urban farmers of City Plot, I applied for the adoption of a tree plot from the district this week. Just a tree lot across the street from us. The intention is to play 'farmer' at 'our' own tree together with a friend and toddler son. I'm already looking forward to seeing plants growing in our own bed. The Albert Heijn vegetable gardens are already in the greenhouse on our balcony and are busy germinating and my son already has overalls and clogs ready. So the anticipation has already begun! Moreover, we are making our green street even greener. We contribute!

It is a small step in the right direction, a nice intention and, above all, a good example for the little man. I am from the “a better environment starts with you” generation. Of course, 'with yourself' is also the only place where you can start. And all our small sustainable steps together facilitate transformation. How great will it be if, in a few decades, the inner cities will be completely greener? That it is normal for city residents to grow fruit and vegetables everywhere and nowhere, insects and animals have a place in the city again and residents can no longer imagine anything else? No, even look back with pity on the previous consumption-addicted and polluting generations (For they knew no better)? That the green lifestyle with conscious sustainable choices is the rule and no longer the exception? If we are willing to give up something - and governments and large companies also cooperate with us, so that making an unsustainable choice becomes more transparent or even impossible - then we will get there. I am confident because I have complete confidence in the abilities of our children. Children have a priori knowledge of and connection with nature and with our support and small steps as an example, we ensure that this is not lost. And, maybe this mom and dad will spend their old age on a self-sufficient city farm. Who knows? 

The future is still open!