In 2015 two young men, Maarten Schama and Jan Degenaar, started realizing a dream. They were allowed to rent 5 ha of good, riverclay land and to develop it into a forest garden. The 5 ha is situated on one of the Netherlands most famous estates and owned by Natuurmonumenten, the Netherlands’ largest terrain owning trust. The land lies between the large urban conglomerate of the city of Utrecht and its surrounding rural area with a network of footpaths and cycling lanes and castle De Haar. In 2015 they started with the help of friends to plant the first trees, shrubs, hedges and herbs. They grow a large variety of plants and gradually increase the area covered with food crops. No chemical products or fertilizers applied. Their plan is to develop the grassland surrounded by hedgerows mainly composed by common alder into a productive ecosystem with a high biodiversity. The main products they will grow are nuts, fruits, berries and herbs. Starting in 2019 they will sell their products to clients which will have to pick themselves.
In a relatively short period Lekkerlandgoed (Delicious estate – the name of the food forest) has shown a remarkable development both in biodiversity and in the development of its woody food producers. Lekkerlandgoed is one of the many examples in the Netherlands of small scale commercial food production to a large extent based on woody species. One of the field trips during EURAF 2018 will pay a brief visit to Lekkerlandgoed.