Lisan - Fruittuin van West
Lisan Sturkenboom (52) runs the biodynamic farm Fruittuin van West with her husband Wil (58). The couple lives in Nieuw-West with their three children, Kris (21), Sil (19) and Lot (18). Their home is built on the same plot of land where their orchard was planted and their organic store and garden café were built.
When Lisan strolls across her orchard, she is always delighted to see a cross-section of Amsterdam. Her customers, who get to pick their own fruit on the Tom Schreursweg, are as diverse as you can imagine. 'Young, old, people with a migration background, tourists, villagers, Jordanezen, creatives and data analysts. I came here ten years ago with the dream of appealing to as diverse an audience as possible. 'Focus your PR on one specific target group,' people advised me back then. We never followed that advice. Everyone should feel comfortable here, and I think it's cool to see that we've succeeded in that.'
At the end of 2013, Lisan and her husband put their signature on the ground lease of a piece of land in Nieuw-West. They sold their fruit-growing business in Dronten and came to pursue their dreams in Amsterdam. 'We set up a professional orchard here, where we grow more than 20 varieties of fruit biodynamically. We do not sell business to business but directly to consumers who are welcome to pick the fruit themselves. We also have chickens, cows, pigs, mushrooms, chicory, an organic store and a garden café for day catering and parties.'
Versatile in everything
Although the transition from Dronten to Amsterdam was big, Lisan hasn't regretted it for a moment. 'The vibrancy and great diversity are wonderful. The city is versatile in every way: in the cultural offerings, the activities to do every day, but also certainly in its inhabitants. There are so many open-minded Amsterdammers, so many beautiful people with all kinds of different backgrounds.' Lisan finds she can enjoy the best of both worlds: 'I enjoy the peace and quiet at home, but if I get on my bike, I'm in the centre within half an hour. That's such a luxury. Also, for our children: they have the security of our farm, but they go to school in the city and get all kinds of city and cultural habits they would not have come into contact with in Dronten.'
Still, the fruit grower thinks there is work to be done in Amsterdam. 'It scares me when I hear a lesbian woman say she feels as though she can't walk down the street hand in hand with her girlfriend. I wish that would be possible for everyone, that we would be friendly and stay in contact with each other… I wish everyone could feel free in the city.' Lisan’s innovative urban farming project remains a space for diverse communities with green fingers to get together and get closer to nature.