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Remover Spotlight

In an effort to introduce our entrepreneurs, ambassadors, and followers to each other, we like to feature one person (or organization) in every newsletter. Today, we’re highlighting the work of Liesbeth van Bemmel, the founder and farmer of Voedselbos Benthuizen. Voedselbos Benthuizen is a food forest that allows members to “come to harvest, plant trees, socialise, relax and enjoy the food forest”.

Liesbeth told us a bit about what she does, how her organization works, and what inspires her. Read her answers to these questions below and get inspired! 

1) Could you give us a brief description of your work (in general) and what you’ve been up to lately?

I am the founder and farmer of Voedselbos Benthuizen. 

We changed a field into a food forest, and we are a foundation that works through membership–members can come to harvest, plant trees, socialise, relax and enjoy the food forest. 

This winter we have planted a lot of new trees and branches together with the members. Two weeks ago the activity season started with the first Pluk & Proefwandeling booked by a group of art-students. And last week we had a business that came for a Pluk & Proefwandeling, followed by a dinner. It was great to see that even in winter the food forest has so much to offer. 

Last week and this week I have also had people to the forest for an individual ground tour with advice (adviesgesprek). It is great to use my knowledge and experience to help others to start their own food forests. 

2) What inspired you to do this work and why is it important to you?

A few years ago two things came together for me. On the one hand, I realised more and more that our modern lifestyle was destructive to nature and the planet. And on the other hand, I noticed that my busy lifestyle, which included a well-paid office job, was not good for my health. The harm that I was doing to myself on the individual level is the same harm as we do to the planet and ourselves on the collective level–the harm done to the planet is the same harm we do to ourselves. When we harm the planet, we harm ourselves. 

The good part of this eye-opener was of course that the solution is very clear: The better I take care of the planet, the better I take care of myself. Everything I do to make our land healthier, makes me healthier. That is fantastic!

By restoring the land, we also restore our relationship with the land.

3) What makes you hopeful about the future of the climate movement?

The food forests make me hopeful. Food forests can feed us, make us happy and restore the planet. In fact it restores our relationship with nature. That is good for us, for our health (physical and mental) and at the same time it is good for the planet. What more do you want?

We’re so moved by Liesbeth’s work to improve her health, the health of her community, and the health of the planet all at once! To read more about her story or to purchase cleanup credits that support her directly, check out our website.

Link 1: https://voedselbosbenthuizen.nl/

Link 2: : https://onsets.org/product/fnl-l-001/

Blog Post Exclusive Q&A

4) What advice do you have for people who might be interested in doing something similar?

I have developed a training for people who are think about starting up a professional food forest (www.startvoedselbos.nl). My main message in the training is that there are enough possibilities to set up a food forest and make it your living, but you need take time to inform yourself, orient yourself, and make a plan before you start planting trees. In my training I give people all the information and and a format to make their own plan.

5) What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned in your work?


In the modern world we got lost in the idea that we can live separately from nature. That we are not part of nature. 

We are alienated from nature, and therefor alienated from ourselves.

We also get lost in the idea that money makes us happy, and that more money makes us happier. With the food forest I’ve realised that other things make me feel rich–my motto is: I don’t need to get rich off the food forest, because I am already rich. 

6) How can consumers/the general public actively support businesses like yours in their mission for regenerative climate solutions.

There is a lot they can do and every little thing helps. Together we can make the change–I am positive about that.

A few things people can do:

  • Buy organic food from local farmers!
  • Become member or volunteer at a food forest or book an activity in a food forest. 
  • Follow food forests on social media and like their posts.
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables and less meat.
  • Start you own food forest
  • Vote for a green party

Think big, act small

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