Originally I hail from the Netherlands, that most overpopulated and overdeveloped nation state in Europe. There I studied biology, learning a lot of utilitarian nonsense about ‘nature’ and how to make money out of it.For a while I tried to find a job in biology, as you do, but realising that there is little money and few jobs in actually truly preserving the living world around us, I chose my own path and started working on a freelance photojournalism project, most of which took place in Canada, but also in Scotland and Australia.
Life in the city areas of the Netherlands became increasingly hard to stomach, certainly after getting to know more and more about the living world during my journeys. Things you never learn while studying biology. I tried to move to Canada but every time it got stuck on financial issues, and so in the end I settled for moving to Scotland together with my mother.
In those days, 2008, I was still very much into photography and using them to tell stories about the living world and our relationship with it, but very soon my attention turned more and more towards actually consciously being in and of the living world rather than trying to reduce it into a 2D image. Over the course of a few years that turned into an interest in permaculture, which I managed to implement on a very small scale in our rented garden.
During the last year in Scotland, 2014, two friends and I came up with a pretty large idea for the conversion of a 1,000 acre community-owned ex plantation into a permaculture crofting community, but the community trust wouldn’t hear of it. Just when we wanted to blow it wide open and get the whole community involved, my mother and I were told that we had to leave our rented house. Not being able to find anything else in the direct surroundings that we could afford, and eventually not even in Scotland (Scotland has a HUGE problem of houses being ever less available to normal people who actually want to live there because they are turned into self-catering holiday homes owned by rich people), we took a leap of despair and decided to move to Sweden, where we already had a friend also interested in permaculture, and where farms are relatively very cheap.
In August 2015 we will move onto our newly bought farm near Råda (Värmland) and start the conversion process of mostly meadow into a productive permaculture food forest place of learning (or something like that).
Workshops, courses and volunteering possibilities should follow very quickly after.