Good Practise Project
iACT Case Study / Centre Profile Template
ESSENTIAL INFORMATION ON YOUR PROJECT
Centre Name: Naturplanteskolen (Natures Edible Plant Nursery)
Contact Name and E-mail: Eulàlia Martí, email@example.com
Location(s): Stærkendevej 177 2640 Hedehusene, Denmark
Type of Centre – (Please briefly describe):
Organic nursery, education and inspiration center, edible forest garden, farmshop, café, LANDcenter
Vision & Aims (or Mission):
In a few words, Naturplanteskolen’s mission is to inspire and assist gardens all around Denmark to become more edible, biodiverse and nature-friendly.
Summary of the focus, capabilities or specialisms, key demonstration features of the project, types of learning offerings and activities, etc:
At Naturplanteskolen we produce and sell over 400 different edible perennial plants.
The nursery is located on a 16.000 m2 piece of land in the countryside (but close to the capital, Copenhaguen) that we manage with permaculture principles. There are several demonstrations of well functioning hügelbeds, no-dig gardening, swales, ponds, fruit and berry gardens and a very rich natural life. There is also a compost area, a compost toilet and a woodfired outdoor oven that are used under the many events happening during the year. We hold special events with market stands,
talks, workshops and guided tours as well as intensive courses and workshops on issues like perennial vegetables, plant multiplication or forest gardens among others. We also offer counselling on natural gardening and do garden planning and designs of edible gardens for both private and public customers.
We produce and sell seeds of over 100 different edible plants.
Many of our farm shop products and seeds are sold via a webshop from our homepage.
Size of centre (sqM/ hectares): 1,6 hectares
Number of people providing education services (employees, contractors, collaborators, volunteers):
Our team varies during the different seasons of the year. Altogether, there are 5 employees, one or two long-term trainees, several short-term trainees and volunteers beside the owner and leader of the place. Beside that, there is a support organization (naturplateskolensvenner.dk) with around 80 members.
Types of audiences you are catering for:
Garden owners, housing associations, municipalities, and other people interested in self-sufficiency, in natural lifestyles, in holistic solutions… and everybody else who care for more sustainable ways forward…
Date Established: 1-5-2013
Climate: Humid temperate
What networks are you a member of or what affiliations do you have?:
- Permakultur Danmark
- Praktisk økologi
- Among others
STORIES ABOUT YOUR CENTRE:
Each of the questions in this section are optional – answers will help us create a deeper, more valuable case study.
History of the center: Describe the center’s development focusing on key milestones and highlighting significant shifts or challenges.
Naturplanteskolen is Denmarks first and also the largest producer and supplier of perennial vegetables, as well as other edible herbs, bushes and trees. It is established in 2013 by MSc, PhD in horticulture, Aiah Noack, after having attended a PDC in 2010. She is a professional entrepreneur in the plant world with life experiences in other countries like Iceland, New Zealand and South Africa. Over the years she has a detailed knowledge of botany and plant growing as well as skills and experience of plant production, nursery establishment and management, marketing, business development and a strong vision for her endeavours. In 2014 Naturplanteskolen became accredited as a permaculture LAND center. From 2015 it offered courses in permaculture and horticultural subjects as well as old handmade crafts and techniques.
In 2016 it added a farm shop.
In 2018 Naturplanteskolen became certified as an organic plant producer. In 2020 it added a sustainable wood fired clay oven in the garden for bread and pizza making.
In 2021 it opened a café.
- Naturplanteskolen is established at the former land and buildings of Aiahs parents, her childhood place. It was a huge turnaround from her parents 50 years of machine based and monoculture lifestyle to the permaculture human based working methods, reading the land and nature, letting go of much of the control of the land which instantly produced much biodiversity and allowing for slow and heartfelt solutions.
- The groundwater levels in the surrounding conventional farming area has risen with 1 meter since Aiahs childhood days and regular winter floods of the garden became an obvious challenge for developing a forest garden- the water coming from the groundwater level as well as the depleted farmland.
Management of rainwater as a resource rather than a waste product is still a major job and influences every design detail of the garden.
- In 2021 the pet name of the forest garden at Naturplanteskolen has become Insects Paradise, which makes for the abundance and diversity that has developed from hardly any insect, bird or wildlife at the start in 2013. Many visitors and customers find it attractive, relaxing and inspiring to visit a living edible, climate resistant and biodiverse garden.
Outline the difference this center has made – particularly to beneficiaries’ (people or organizations) capacities to activate transformation. (include any relevant data)
Story of a Beneficiary – 2-3 short paragraphs on the difference the center has made for a particular participant or group
List any awards or public recognition.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
Each of the questions in this section are optional – answers will help us create deeper, more valuable case studies.
Examples of Good Practice: What are the particular examples of activities, outcomes, etc that the project is achieving; what activities in particular represent good practice, which other projects could learn from, copy or adapt, or aim to achieve?
Garden practices: In Naturplanteskolen we make space for natural life to thrive by for example having high grasses and natural vegetation; having a very high diversity of plants, bushes and trees that flower over a long period of time; having patches of undisturbed nature; ensuring places with accessible water, food and shelter (also through the winter); putting up bird boxes, etc… That turns into a rapidly increasing biodiversity and a lush and harmonious environment.
High focus on perennial and resilient plant combinations for changing climates.
Ressources practices: All organic matter stays on the property (except what leaves in the form of plants that our customers buy to plant somewhere else). All organic “waste” is either composted or used under hügel beds binding CO2.
We gather rainwater to water a big part of the nurserie’s plants.
We make and use our own organic liquid fertilizer of plant waste, nettles and comfrey to feed garden and plant production
We choose and use second hand goods in our daily day practices whenever possible f.e. clay oven isolated with second hand glass bottles and pinecones.
Human relations practice: We try to have a holistic approach to everything we do; for example by creating as many useful connections as possible between the daily tasks or the different elements of the place; or by meeting the different people that come to help us as they are and giving them tasks where they thrive and can develop.
We are a stable team with an organised distribution of tasks and responsibilities that at the same time is open to the dynamics and changes that come from day to day.
Plant production practice: handmade efforts only (no machinery involved) wich make for a high quality of plants, and a higher life force value than standard industrial plants.
Farmshop practice: 80% local products and 100% organic products. Handmade products and crafts from local people we know personally
Leadership practices: playfulness, good timing and embracing leadership. Acting oriented day to day management including philosophies like trust, faith and confidence based business development. Prioritizing so that money is a means not a goal. Always time for laughter, always time and space enough to let people develop and bloom.
Never put pressure on any one, always give compliments, sow a seed and let time talk for itself.
Reading people’s potentials and opening a door / a path for a talent that needs support to flourish – for the benefit of all.
Lessons Learned: What lessons have you learned in developing your learning and demonstration practice?:
Patience is worth gold
Dragon dreaming visions are strong and can be first mover benefits
Lessons Learned: What lessons have you learned regarding organizational and operational matters? (Please include negative as well as positive lessons e.g. things you have done that you wouldn’t want to do again):
Start small and dedicated to a pure intention.
Keep the focus, the energy, the deadlines and the flow going.
Outcomes the project has achieved: Outline any ways that your center has contributed to wider social transformation. Share any quantifiable data where appropriate :
- 50000 permaculture relevant plants sold in total
- 6000 Fantasilat books sold
- 3000 yearly customers
- 500 yearly course participants
- 150 permaculture relevant plants in our own seed shop
- 30 yearly external garden advises
- 10 yearly garden designs
- Business is consisting of (2020-figures)
- 60 % plant sales
- 3 % seed sales
- 18 % farmshop goods
- 3 % soil and fertilizers
- 11 % courses, designs and other counselling
- 5% food sales
of which 90% are on-site sales and 10% are website sales
Funding and Entrepreneurship: Please share examples around how you’ve managed to fund or resource your work.
The Project’s Theory of Change: If the project is working with a ‘theory of change’ please describe or provide a diagram (or a link to a webpage):
From Inspiration to Action: What particular aspects of your work are most inspiring, that might help motivate and inspire others to action elsewhere.
Integrating nature in a production and education center.
How do you see your center developing over the next 5 years?
- More knowledge dissemination and inspiration
- Integrating and reaching more people
- More networking
Areas of Collaboration – In what ways would you like to collaborate with other projects, individuals or networks: (Local/Regional/National or International)