Food Forest
A 4 Hectare paradise of organic fruit and vegetables (and a lot more...) Guided tours every Sunday - see under "Activities"

Food Forest: ‘De Nieuwe Hof’


Siem Ottenheim manages "De Nieuwe Hof" - our organic Food Forest. De Nieuwe Hof aims to produce biodynamic vegetables, herbs, small and large fruit, and nuts for the local market. This is done by way of of self-harvest, a box scheme , a shop in the castle and catering. With this quality food you not only take care of yourself, but also help to maintain the health of our environment. https://eetmeerbosch.nl/activiteiten/

What is a Food Forest?

A food forest is a carefully designed ecosystem of beneficial plants (and sometimes animals). Instead of neat rows of one type of plant (monoculture), food forests mix a diverse range of food-producing (and other) plants that nourish each other, use different nutrients from the soil and make the most of the available space. This mimics the structure of a natural forest - the most stable and sustainable type of ecosystem in our climate. Importantly, the soil is almost always covered - resulting in a rich underground biodiversity and a healthy soil rich in carbon, minerals and other nutrients.

There are many advantages to this type of land use:

  • Low maintenance and high efficiency
  • Resilience to extreme weather
  • Biologically sustainable
  • Wide range of products
  • High nutritional value
  • Working with the land instead of against it
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Aesthetically beautiful
  • Commercial potential

Food forests come in many different shapes, sizes and styles. They can range from a small household garden to very large commercial projects (also known as agro-forestry). Our project is medium sized (about 4 hectares). Converted from a corn field 10 years ago, it is now mature and productive. The organically certified products are sold to subscribers and other customers. The site is also used as a demonstration site for courses and tours.

How did the food forest originate?

Siem Ottenheim has taken over the garden from   Taco  since 1 November 2019 . The valuable piece of garden will not be lost.

Permaculture (English: Permaculture) is a contraction of “Permanent agriculture”, which means no more than “sustainable agriculture”. It is a design system that not only relates to sustainable agriculture, but can be applied to all aspects of human life. Central to this is working together with nature, using nature as an example and inspiration to design sustainable systems.

Location of ‘De Nieuwe Hof’

Kasteel Nieuwenhoven
Engelbamp 57
3800 Sint-Truiden (BE)

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