Organisation - November 3, 2015

The Field as biodiverse paradise

Lieke de Kwant

Sheep grazing between edible hedges, a pond full of amphibians, rare mushrooms along the ditch, buckets everywhere full of worm compost and flowery croplands humming with bees. If it is up to the planners, then The Field will be a biodiverse, sustainable paradise in up to four years.

Fiona Morris from Atelier Rabbit presented her design, during a lunch meeting on Monday, of the currently vacant piece of land next to Vitae (Rikilt). Wageningen UR has intended that piece of land for temporary, soil-bound projects that can contribute to the mission of the organization and Wageningen campus, ‘Gateway to smart food in a green world’. Morris was given the honour to create boundary conditions within the current situation. She outlined that the current situation has a lot of challenges. The field was elevated with soggy construction land that does not house any worms. Furthermore, it is placed at an public area between the campus and the residential area Noordwest, which gives it a green function, but it also needs to be protected from disturbances.

Morris wants to solve as much as possible with green solutions. For example, she wants to place Furze plants instead of a fence along the edges. This looks nice, while it deters dogs and children. The poor ground needs to partially be enriched with plantation – recently sown wildflowers and nitrogen-fixing hedgerows – and on the wettest strip in the shadows of the student building Dijkgraaf Morris makes a virtue of the necessity and plans to cultivate mushrooms. Ecologist Wieger Wamelink of Alterra is going to measure the development of the vegetation at several places.

Several attendants expressed their interest in using the leftover 0.5 hectares in Morris’ design. Bertus Meijer of the PPO Fruit for example wants to plant eighty old apple trees from the Randwijkse apple collection. This will reduce the risks that the collection is lost and The Field has good opportunities for education and for example, pruning courses. Students of Plant Sciences want to grow vegetables, Green Office and student party S&I want to compost organic waste from the WUR buildings in worm bucket and the Soil Physics Laboratory is
considering a test setup with measuring equipment under ground.

Employees and students of Wageningen UR and other campus residents can hand in project suggestions to the project coordinator Blair van Pelt, through the website of The Field. The conditions are that the project is not allowed to be commercial, and that the implementers take along their own funds and that they maintain their plot themselves.

Wednesday the 4th of November at 10:30 Morris will present her plans again in Lumen 1. Possible remarks will be incorporated in the final design. The creation of The Field will start next month and will take a least three years.