Most of the time I relish in being self-employed and being in full control of my agenda. No unnecessary diversions, no evaluation meetings and no disfunctioning policies to complain about. On the other hand it is not always ideal to do everything alone and it is occasionally nice to have a creative brainstorm session with other similar minded colleagues. One of these meetings a couple of years ago sitting on a patio in front of a large garden pond surrounded by the unceasing twitter of hundreds of birds resulted in a partnership with two other small businesses.
Achterhoek Natuurlijk! is the name of our collaboration. It is the name of the region combined with Natural(ly). One colleague has a 1200 m2 permaculture vegetable garden and the other colleague has a garden designed for native birds combined with a Bed-and-Breakfast / Tea terrace. We are all very passionate about our chosen profession and are dedicated, hardworking and self-employed. We sit together at a table with a cup of tea or coffee, inform each other about our current situation, intertwine it with gentle pleasantries and then all of a sudden the notebook is full of decisions and plans. An hour later we’re on the move.
Three times a year we have a combined activity. An Edible Garden (for people and animals) 1) in the spring and 2) in the autumn. These activities are a seasonal relevant combination of digital presentations, a guided tour of the host garden and the opportunity to taste several dishes made out of the ingredients from our gardens. The third activity consists of a cycle route (about 34 kilometers) between the three companies so that people can enjoy the countryside and experience a short tour with refreshments at each destination. This is the second year that we have been working together.
On Sunday 22 April we had we had a room full of people enjoying our presentations about the right time to sow seeds in the vegetable patch and about the useful role of fungi in the garden. This was followed by a guided tour through the landscaped bird garden. Judging on the number of happy faces and the level of animated converstation we could assume that at least the majority of the visitors had learned something new and were returning home refreshed and rejuvenated! Achterhoek Natuurlijk! – colleagues to be cherished!