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Paradijs de Patrijs

Eva Smit, Zilver Dudink, Marith Eigenraam & Sabine Boerboom

How can we learn from nature and use it in agro-ecological design?

“A design with a (H)Edges”

This design is carried out for an organic mixed farm in the East of The Netherlands, 'Burgerboerderij de Patrijs', which consists of employees each focusing on their own expertise. The farm is located on sandy soils with a low water table, which had to be taken into account for the redesign. The goal of the redesign is to make the farm landscape more ecologically resilient, whilst respecting the business activities. This redesign might result in a comeback of the farmland bird the Patrijs, honouring the name of the farm. Dairy production remains the main farm activity and land use, as it provides a stable, year round income for the farm. Additionally, De Patrijs wants to inspire other farmers in the region to transition towards more resilient farm practices by considering a new farm design.

Our design has integrated landscape elements that have the potential to raise not only ecological, but also social and economic sustainability for the farm and its surroundings. In all the sections of the redesign, hedges are implemented. Hedges have the characteristics to create more surface area, increasing amongst other things, biodiversity, shade, and food. Another addition are the gardens, located at the heart of the farm, inviting pollinators as well as customers and space for horticulture. Lastly, there is space for animals like poultry, that increase circular use of resources and diversify the farm.

This redesign focuses on integrating natural features within the agricultural system. These natural features are used as an advantage for multiple elements on the farm. For example, the implementation of chickens in orchards help pest management, while the orchard provides a habitat for the chickens. Another function of the chickens, is the spreading of manure. Chickens are scratch and pick insects from the cow dung, and this spreads the manure more equally, providing nutrients evenly to the land. These kinds of relationships can be found throughout the redesign of the farm, working with nature instead of against it.

“Working with nature instead of against nature”