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Vertical Urban Farming in The Hague, Netherlands

HagueElementary school Bird of Paradise built a glasshouse on the roof of their gym.

View from above, a view to the future

By Tom Voorma
Projectleider Stadslandbouw – Gemeente Den Haag
DSB | afd. Archeologie, Natuur- en Milieueducatie
Postbus 12 610 | 2500 DK Den Haag |
Bezoekadres Spui 70 of Van Kinsbergenstraat 85
The Hague, The Netherlands
August 2015

If you take a look around on the web, you’ll notice that pigs still don’t fly but there ARE things growing in the sky!
Tomatoes, lettuce, eggplants, beans and potatoes and more, and it is not just that one weird artists experiment somewhere, on a forgotten roof, and it is also not just Chicago, Boston and Hong Kong. This phenomenon is spreading like nature is used to. And now we’ve even got it where we are now, The Hague, city of Peace & Justice in The Netherlands.
Elementary school Bird of Paradise built a glasshouse on the roof of their gym. After having had fun flexing and strengthening their bodies and minds, students can go upstairs and learn where their food comes from and how to feed their body in a healthy manner.

hague2

And in these days where our classes and school programs our so full, elaborate student monitoring administration is required and takes up the time that teachers might otherwise use to guide their kids to the urban vegetables patches, in these days, the crazy idea of having things grow in the sky, doesn’t sound so crazy anymore.
On a bit larger scale, and with a reach a bit further than “how does our food grow?’, we have our Urban Farmers, De Schilde project. It’s being build on the roof of the former headquarters of one of world’s larger high tech developers; Phillips. And where once housed the inventors of the CD and the cassette tape, now constructors are building Europe’s biggest rooftop glasshouse, accompanied by a just as large and sustainable aquaponics fish farm on the top floor.

Beneath that an R&D centre is now put together. And it might be a place where chances are created for a total different kind of musical development, a more natural one (think humming, pollinating bees) for our world’s ever bigger and smog-filled cities; a centre that will create chances of sustainable food production and security within the city; less water spoilage, no medicine and more sustainable fish food. Therefore reducing transport, cooling and packaging pollution and bringing the people closer to the origin of their food production and maybe regaining some trust. Growing fresh food close to where people need it.

Soon, very soon there will not only be things growing in the sky, but also swimming!
Since urban farming in the smaller and more affordable form is also booming, the municipality of The Hague has put it’s ear to the ground and listened to what could support all those people with urban farming aspirations. The result is that around beginning of October a website (for starters only in Dutch) will be launched with amongst others the followings aspects.

A map of where all the already existing initiatives can be found so people can be inspired and learn from each other.

A service counter where people get one access for all their urban farming related initiatives, therefore not having to spend several months in the labyrinth of countless departments, divisions, sections, teams and floors.

An alphabetical list, ‘starters page’, of all urban farming related topics, with like links to manuals, funding, education, composting, laws, sustainability, background, volunteers, research, health information, etc.

Of course we all hope that in the future our cities will not only hold more humming bees, but also more healthier, happily humming inhabitants.

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