Looking around: week 40 – 42

The search for a new location for the Edible Wood Farm has brought me to many unexpected places. In the last couple of weeks I have been to a nut tree nursery, a prison, a chique restaurant, the local municipality and a care-farm.
The nut tree nursery was situated at the edge of the Veluwe, the largest forested area in the centre of the Netherlands. On a sunny Saturday afternoon I drove in a spontaneuous whim to their nursery hoping to exchange views about a totally different subject.  They were surprised but pleased to see me and within 10 minutes I was seated in their rustic homemade living room /shed with a cup of tea in my hands. The conversation lead me to believe that we were on the same wavelength and their enthusiasm extended to giving me a tour of the property. Walking and talking underneath the walnut trees the subject turned to Groene Takken in general and the search for a new location in particular. Before we had arrived back at the office I had received an offer of joining forces on or closeby to the nursery grounds.
In the meantime I had also received an invitation to visit a prison in the same municipality as the Edible Wood Farm. I had never heard of it and wondered what I could expect. The prison was no longer in use and my contact person had supposedly plans to develop it into a sort of community orientated project. That was all I knew. I turned up on time and was met by a white German Shepherd dog wearing black trousers on his forelegs (because of an allergy) and a lively ever young middle-aged woman in a short skirt and long hair. We left the carpark under the giant beech trees, went through a fancy iron gate and entered another world. In the distance the huge salmon coloured square shaped prison towered above the surrounding wall, threatening and disturbing. In between the entry and the prison building, the well-groomed hedges and serene meadows created an entirely other atmosphere. It was here that my contact person hoped to create an organic kitchen garden and flower picking plot. She hoped that the Edible Wood Farm could become part of her project. Unfortunately there was not enough shade for all of the logs, but it was definitely suitable for small-scale production and for workshops. We parted, promising to keep in touch.
Later that week I met up with the director / son of the owner of a upper-class restaurant. His restaurant was located in a richly wooded area and was well known for its game and forest food. Seated in a lavish lounge, surrounded by wine, pots filled with delicious looking but unexplainable contents and expensive looking men on the cover of glossy magazines, I felt just a little out of place in my work clothes. Nevertheless, the conversation was pleasing and gratifying. Once the courtesies and gentle probing were over, we made a short tour of the grounds and ended up staring at a very unappealing concrete wall outside the conference room. My host wanted to turn it into a more interesting and functional feature for his guests and had somehow associated it with the growing of mushrooms on logs. Continuing on this rather unexpected form of creative thinking, we came up with an idea of turning a part of the wall into a 3D mushroom jungle. What a way to end the day ……..!

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