Dakakker

Hives Dakakker

Meet Wouter Bauman.  He is an adviser at the Environmental Center of Rotterdam who specialises in environmental services focusing on sustainability and a greener lifestyle.  We met up on a slightly overcast Spring afternoon to discuss about the origin and success of the Dakakker.  Standing on top of Het Schieblock, one has a complete sight of a large part of Rotterdam’s city center.  The noise around us was inevitable.  There were echoes of the roaming traffic, the rattling trains squeaking on rusting tracks and frequent jets cruising above.  But what is tranquil about this site is the 800sqm of raw earth and soil currently sprouting the first of Spring with busy bees working about.

Cardoon

If you do not already know, Dakakker is part of the Luchtsingel program that won the Stadsinitiatief back in 2012.  The Luchtsingel program is designed by ZUS who had the idea of developing the a green roof above their studio at Het Schieblock.  Backed by the hip edible-roof movement which had then just emerged, ZUS and fellow tenant of Het Schieblock, Environmental Center of R’dam, decided to join forces (and skills) to initiate what turned out to be the largest roof top farm in the whole of Europe.

Herbs

Wouter, a trained naturalist and beekeeper, is the appointed coordinator who maintains the Dakakkers.  We started our conversation citing how this job has became a dream come true for him: to witness a plain blank roof flourish into a city farm growing local produces for local restaurants and businesses; 100% made in Rotterdam.  Everything from the seeds of the plants, soil and fertiliser are organic and no pesticide is used.  However as the farm sit on a roof terrace rather than a grounded land, it is unable to be labelled as 100% organic.  This being said, although rather unfortunate, we love the idea that Dakakkers can produce year round vegetables that can be served from this roof to your table.  To name just some of the spring produce that we saw during the interview, there were different varieties of spinach, salad, potatoes, radishes, rhubarb, onions, tomatoes etc.  Some little strawberries were already sprouting and a whole row of sunflowers will bloom very soon along the edge of the roof.  Handy herbs are grown including 8 different variety of mints and 18 types of edible flowers which mostly are the blooms of herbs.

Worm fertilizer

Wouter explained that a 6 years rotation of crops is planned; meaning each crop will only be replanted on the same plot of earth after 6 years.  The resulting mix of plants allows crops to benefit from each other, inter-nourish and creates an eco system within its own group.  Just like its worm-hotel proudly sitting on the deck: an enclosure of multiple tiers housing worm families chewing away the fruits and vegetables Dakakker produces.  The waste they pass out acts as the fertiliser for the crops, creating also a full circle of ecology.

Bees entering from Zuid

Buzzing nearby is another family and they are the busy Rotterdamse bees.  The role of these bees are important to encourage pollination in our environment.  They are housed inside 2 bee hives built by Wouter himself and will produce jars of local honey set for sale within the next couple months.  Wouter joked about the friendliness of these bees and that so far he did not have to wear any gloves (but with bee suit) when servicing the hives.  As we speaks, he looked out of the terrace and pointed out the numerous large trees that are lined along Coolsingel and Schieweg.  Beyond that, with careful observations, one can also see that the surrounding is not just tarmac and concrete but a fairly surprising balance of green landscape.  We can see very clearly that all the trees are in full bloom which shows that there is enough food for these city bees. And as the existing 2 active hives are showing signs of multiplying colonies, Wouter has plans to build two more hives to be located above the stair core.

Rosemary Bloom

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Every Friday, Wouter gets plenty of hands-on help from volunteers from varies backgrounds.  The number of volunteers has grown from merely just 2 to 40 people of which 10-15 come by each week to give a hand.  Dakakker also provides school programs which teach children about the power of farming.  The kids does light chores like watering the plants, replanting crops to pots, making scarecrows etc.  They also participate in a very interesting guerrilla project called the ‘seedbomb’ (a ball of heirloom seeds put together with clay).  Kids would ‘fire’ the seedbombs around the city to create ‘flower soldiers’ and eventually to enlarge the city’s biodiversity.

Every Wednesday afternoon, there is a roof cafe which is open to the public.  A catering company call Food Rhapsody serves lunch from Dakakker’s produce which makes a fine opportunity to have a bite and to enjoy a break at the roof pavilion.

Rucola Bloom

An ‘Opendak’ is scheduled to give tours on the 24th and 25th of May for anyone interested to know more about the Dakakkers.  Check their website for other programs like the kids educational program which is planned for this summer.  Thank you Wouter for your time and fond enthusiasm.  We wish you and Dakakker a continual success and many fruitful years ahead.  09.05.2014

W.Bouman Wouter and mint

new

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In 2018, we launched our new identity and website as studio pw/.  Come visit!

Retrospective

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A group of faithful friends and families got together for a retrospective exhibition of late artist, David Paans. We plated up a simple grazing buffet to accompany the artist’s colourful work, a trio band and a very positive vibe. More pictures via our FB. 19.11.2017

Nike

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A seasonal food still life project we’ve been working on for years. Its a continuing cycle that showcase our reinterpretation of the Old Masters. This autumn version also includes the wining pose of Nike the canary bird, couple of cross spiders, an aging bottle of Tia Maria and a stack of forgotten good reads. Much fun in co-operation with Hester Blankestijn.  Also check out our other still life attempts via Hester’s website. 01.11.2017

The flaneurs

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A custom dinner for host OMI Rotterdam who threw a network invitation for Flaneur Magazine from Berlin, in tune to the festive ZigZagCity in June. This event is brought together by OMI Rotterdam, Het Nieuwe Instituut and Goethe-Institut Niederlande.  Take a look at our Facebook page for more impressions.  09.05.2017

Kaapse Kitchen

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Its been a year since we have immersed ourselves as part of Kaapse Brouwers cooking out regularly at The Kaapse Kitchen in Fenix Food Factory.  We thank our growing team for their consistent hard work and laughter and engagment sailing along this steep learning curve.  If you are curious about what we are serving, come by this year during week 27 (04-09 July), week 39 (26 Sept – 01 Oct), week 43 (24-29 Oct) and/or week 47 (21-26 Nov) and have a taste.  We do our best to source our ingredients locally, presenting our seasonal flair and bringing in nutricious platters as organic as possible.  Here are more impressions of our last few involvement.  22.06.2017

FFF.KK

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From 10th-15th of May, we’ve been invited to cook at The Kaapse Kitchen in Fenix Food Factory in Katendrecht.  For almost one whole week, you can come and enjoy our Spring’s menu which includes asparagus, rhubarb, broad beans, lamb and all the seasonal goodness.  Don’t miss it, come support us!  30.04.2016

salt

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A painting, a photograph.  The only entity that can capture a timed moment that carries much significance of its subjects.  The Old Masters did it with flair and exclusivity.  We remake, reinterpret and intervene and it continues.  Bringing what defines a season onto a print, onto a flat exposure.  Work in progress, thoughts brewing and more to slowly come. In collaboration with Hester Blankestijn. 15.09.2015