“Actually, we don’t have any hobbies to share”

Mariska: „I have had an organic harvest garden in Zoeterwoude for two years. This is hard work. Between March and November I am in the garden six days a week, on Sundays I manage and update the site. In December and January I rest, and in February I start making plans again and ordering seeds. ”

Martin: “I have two children from a previous relationship who live with us three to four days a week. When they are not there, I am often in the garden in the evenings, watering etc. In the first year I also helped with lawn mowing, maintenance and plowing. Can often be found On my dad in the garden, too.”

Mariska: The land on which the Harvest Garden is located is owned by Martin’s parents. They live next door. This summer we will be moving into their house and they will be living in a nursing home behind.”

Martin: „I’ve been a homeopath since 2014. I work about fifty hours a week in a health center in Leiden. Prior to that I was a business consultant at a company that connects telecom flows between hospitals. I loved working, but it was about the hours that were too paid for me. When my father developed rheumatism and his complaint disappeared after he contacted a homeopath, he piqued my interest and began training.”

Mariska: I have previously worked in the cultural sector for nearly twenty years, including the Oerol Festival and Duizel in het Park in Rotterdam, which I founded myself. More and more social issues were brought up for discussion. Can you serve chicken satay at a festival, for example? Then I started organizing lectures on sustainable food.

“But also as a consumer more and more questions arise. I was in a relationship with a farmer for three years, during which time I found out that I was not a city girl at all, but this stomping in the mud made me very happy. The relationship ended, but the interest in the food chain remained.”

poultry cart

Martin: “It took me four years before I had a normal income as a homeopath. At the time I was divorced. To earn some extra money, I worked two to three days a week in a friend’s Polter truck at The Hague Market. It was a nice physical change from thinking as a doctor.” homogeneous”.

Mariska: „After my time on the farm, I briefly had a project office in food education. But this was mostly computer work. Then I got to know Martin.”

Martin: “Maresca really wanted to do something with her own hands. My parents’ land offered a great opportunity.”

Mariska: „Martin encouraged me to change profession when I was 40 years old. The timing was perfect: right before Corona. During the crisis, she managed to make a turn with the garden, which is no longer possible in the cultural sector. Customers pay a fixed amount per season, for a thirty week harvest of vegetables.”

Martin: “Customers harvest themselves, until they see that not all vegetables are perfect and that the crop can be disappointing at times.”

Mariska: „In this way, they learn about the dangers of the gardening profession. And they see the cost of vegetables, because after each season clients gain insight into my accounting. So far I haven’t gained anything.”

Martin: “This is because a lot of investments had to be made at first: a farmer, a tractor, a shovel …”

Mariska: „Very exciting, all this expense. Previously I only had a computer. I started with 40 families, I have 160 this year. There is also a group of people from Leiden Church who come weekly to harvest for the food bank. My goal is to make some money this year.”

fishing day

Mariska: „In high season it is not possible to go on vacation together, because then I have to arrange a replacement and I still find it difficult to give up the park. But we’ll do it sometime this summer.”

Martin: “Actually I have the same thing with my practice. I work with other therapists, but I find it very difficult to leave my patients for someone else. So I am always on duty. I go fishing with my brother several times a year.”

Mariska: “I don’t like it. Actually, we don’t have any common hobbies. I like to go on long walks with a friend.”

German Shepherds

Martin: “I once bred German Shepherds and also trained guard dogs all the way to Nigeria. But I stopped when I had kids and my practice became busier.”

Mariska: “Work is a passion for both of us. Martin never even wants to retire.”

Martin: “It’s so much fun to stop. Also because I do it out of idealism. Through our work we both want to show that things can be done differently. It’s not a hobby, but a profession where you can earn an average income.”

Mariska: “Yes, I created the garden not because I am the best lettuce grower in the world, but because I believe in sustainable agriculture.”

Martin: “We just have to make sure we have enough time to recover from the hard work, to each other and to our social connections.”

In Rush Hour, couples and singles recount how they combine work and private life. sharing? Send a mail to werk@nrc.nl

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