OpportuniTEA

OpportuniTEA is a plan to transform a plot of agricultural land into a tea forest. It is a perfect example of how a new type of agricultural crop can be well embedded into the mosaic-landscape of Brabant. Strengthening Brabants ecological network, with patches of forest and meandering streams. The sites former farm building is turned into a maker space where different products are produced from tea plants.

Date: july 2018
Initiator / landowner: Marielle Swinkels
Architect: Maarten Vroonhoven
Design Lead: OKRA landschapsarchitecten: Mirte van Laarhoven, Willemijn van Manen, Paul Kersten

Transformation

In the countryside of Someren, close to Eindhoven, experiments are taking place in tea cultivation on agricultural land. The location sits next to the Kleine Aa, a water stream that will be developed into an ecological network.

The former farm building is being developed into a maker space for students and designers where artists are encouraged to design with nature.

Landscape Layers

In the context of the competition Brood en Spelen, initiated by the board of governmental advisors, we studied what the countryside of the future could look like. How for instance agriculture can be closely related to its natural surroundings and become more nature inclusive.

We took this opportunity to introduce: Ecological tea forests in the agricultural soil of Brabant.

The plan is tapping into different landscape layers

  1. Improving the nature network of forests by introducing tea as agricultural crop.
  2. Turning canalised ditches into meandering brooks, to function as a sustainable, nature inclusive water supply.
  3. Ecologic network of tea forests, connecting different nature areas in the region.

The process

Tea plants being raised in the greenhouse, in order to plant them in the agricultural soil in spring.