‘Sustainable gardening is important, especially in a big city’

Bob ter Haar (25) has a BA in international business as well as a BA in philosophy. With these two degrees in his pocket he started Edible EUR, aimed at making Rotterdam a greener and more edible city. His kick-off point: the campus of Erasmus University. 

TEXT: Marjolein Stormezand

A better world
What’s the use of my degree, how do I make money and how do I contribute to a better world? These are questions that a lot of students ask themselves. In the course of his studies, Bob ter Haar decided to focus on the latter of these questions, and combined his BA in international business administration with a degree in philosophy. In his time off he read up on the world of flora and fauna and became intrigued by Masanobu Fukuoaka, a Japanese microbiologist as well as a pioneer in the field of natural landscaping. Farming and landscaping have a massive effect on our climate and our welfare. They intersect with all the issues that have to do with sustainability: the degradation of biodiversity, climate change, water scarcity, and food security. All of these issues are relatively ‘easy’ to solve if you approach agriculture in a thoughtful way, according to Fukuoaka and Ter Haar. ‘Especially in a city environment like Rotterdam, it’s important to pay attention to the necessity – and potential – of sustainable agriculture,’ opinions Ter Haar. And so it was.

Farming and landscaping have a massive effect on our climate and our welfare.

Be it only a few berries
It started small, on a Sunday afternoon in October 2017: a guerrilla garden on campus Woudestein. Now it’s expanded to Edible EUR: a project designed for making all the green spaces on campus “edible”. The project is headed by a group of students, under the moniker of Erasmus Sustainability Hub. The goal of Edible EUR: give students the toolbox with which they can tackle sustainable food production themselves. Be it with just a few berries, a city garden, or several tens of hectares of an agroforest.

Want to join in on gardening on the Campus Garden?
This coming spring will see the start of Campus Garden, a project where all students and staff are invited to join in on weekly gardening sessions. ‘Maintaining a garden might seem to many students like it’s a world away, but gardening is very straight-forward. When you do it together, it helps you connect. The garden can also be a means of exploration for many disciplines within the university – not only for MSc students in global business & sustainability. A student of psychology, for example, would look into how gardening can influence issues around depression,’ says Ter Haar.

  • NAME: Bob ter Haar (25)
    STUDIED: BA International Business Administration, Erasmus University Rotterdam, BA Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    TITLES: Co-owner STEK, the ‘Stadstuinwinkel’ (city-garden shop) and design studio; owner Bob ter Haar Garden Services; initiator and garden-coordinator of Edible EUR.

  • Edible EUR is looking for interested students. Sign-ups via eshub.nl or on facebook.