On a quiet Sunday afternoon, a pick-up truck laden with bags of earth secretly entered the Woudestein Campus. A raised vegetable garden bed was constructed on the small lawn in front of the sports centre in less than 45 minutes.

Wink to the university

The guerrilla operation was carried out by Edible EUR, a group of students who are seeking to make the campus a greener place. The raised bed is full of plants and herbs: strawberries, chives, lamb’s lettuce, spinach, rosemary, lavender and marjoram. “This is the students’ contribution to a more sustainable campus. It’s a wink to the university,” says the initiator of the operation, Bob ter Haar. “The university seeks to be one of the most sustainable universities in the Netherlands, but as far as I can tell, it is not undertaking much action.”

Raising awareness

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Bob ter Haar. Image credit: Aranea Ham

Bob’s goal is to bring about an edible campus, featuring not just vegetable garden beds, but trees and shrubs carrying edible fruits. The Edible EUR project is Bob’s attempt to raise students’ awareness of the food they eat. “The ecological crisis can be tackled by means of agriculture. If students are exposed to sustainable agriculture while still at uni, this will impact the way they regard food for the rest of their lives.”

Jon de Ruijter, the managing director of Erasmus Sports and the Sustainability Hub, really likes the initiative and would like to adopt it with the Sustainability Hub. “As far as I’m concerned, a lot of edible plants should be planted on campus. I hope the academic community will embrace this initiative and that there will be greater support for it.”