The constant gardener...with an eye for biodiversity
In Oosterwold, Marien Abspoel runs a local neighbourhood project where community values and collective action are the key words, and where the power of agroforestry is harnessed to return nature to its rightful place
With his beaming smile and straw hat, Marien Abspoel is at his happiest wandering down streets fringed with luscious, wild nature. Birds, butterflies and other insects and animals are living testimonies to how biodiversity is flourishing and thriving here.
Marien’s grounds are a 650 m² concentration of bucolic joy. Having moved to Oosterwold in 2016, he became very active in launching a shared habitat initiative. He built his house here, planting his garden across a farming pasture that was barren. That was a little over three years ago now. Drawing on the principles of agroforestry, his garden bloomed into an oasis of biodiversity. His passion for botany enabled Marien to draw up an inventory of more than 300 different species. “Community is key to this project,” he explains. “Each property must have a lane that’s open to everyone, 50% of the food we eat must be grown on-site, and we plant local varieties to bring biodiversity back.” A simple yet effective recipe to ensure residents coexist harmoniously with nature.
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