Organisation - February 9, 2017

Watering and potting up

Roelof Kleis

There is almost total peace in the greenhouses at Unifarm. What is happening here is growth. Thousands of plants quietly doing their job for science, looked after by gardeners like Pauline Sanderson.

Photo Magriet van Vianen

This is her workplace, her world. A man’s world for sure. Three of her 50-odd colleagues are women. Why that is, she doesn’t really know. The Canadian came here when she was 25. ‘For love.’ She learned the language, worked as a post worker in Arnhem and then got the chance to join a training scheme at Unifarm, taking care of the plants. Watering, sowing, breeding. Or potting up, which is what she is doing in the photo. Sanderson is transferring germinated tobacco seedlings into their own little pots. She enjoys this hands-on work. ‘And the scientific side of the work appeals to me a lot as well. We develop plants here which grow well and are resistant to diseases. Which is the basis of our food chain. Otherwise we wouldn’t have anything to eat.’ And yes, if you work here you shouldn’t mind working alone. ‘But enough people pass by. We get visits from students and researchers from all over the world.’