Part of the gent plant people
A couple of years ago Marlinde had been thinking about how to put more edible plants in the city and more trees in public spaces. She met a girl at a Transition meeting and together they launched Klimop je Gevel, constructing over 60 gardens in front of houses in Brugse Poort over a weekend with the De Tuinmuur project. They provided a manual on how to grow plants and inspired locals to green the streets.
Marli has become very interested in food production and distribution and has started a Masters Degree in Regional Development Economics and Management. While many people studying in this area are focusing their work on the developing world, Marli is interested in Europe. She grew up on an organic farm and she feels as though food production needs to be integrated into social life. Food is highly industrialised in Europe: it is grown with artificial fertiliser, packaged, stored and delivered to supermarkets. So in urban environments, people don't see how food is grown, they have no contact with it, and so it becomes more difficult to understand its value and diversity. When food is grown close to the city, or when people have access to it through local distribution networks like Voedselteams or the CSA Wijveld, the value increases as people are more aware of its purpose. Marli is interested in exploring these issues more in her degree and looking at why we need to connect food production to the cities.
Marli is closely following initiatives which are forging local food production and distribution and how they are connected or not connected to the government. She is concerned about government policy towards food and sustainability, there doesn't seem to be much of a focus on the long term. For the time being, it seems that it comes down to not for profits and individuals to pioneer local food distribution.