Behind the walls of an old, unpretentious and well-loved white house with blue shutters lives a young, ambitious couple. Together they share one goal: ‘Making the world a better place by making things and creating art.’ Lieke van der Vorst, illustrator of Liekeland, backyard farmer and animal lover, and Dave Hakkens, inventor of Phonebloks and Precious Plastic, live a pure and intentional life in a medium-sized town in the south of Holland.
The couple fixed some basic plumbing, uncovered the original wood floors and painted the walls. But the most attention was given to the yard. They turned it from a large patch of dirt and grass into a beautiful, healthy produce garden. ‘I am so proud of our accomplishments as urban farmers’, says Lieke. ‘I am a bit of a food-skeptic. I was raised on food from the grocery store, but the more I educated myself, the more I grew suspicious of what I was putting in my mouth every day. I read a lot and watched documentaries. Eventually I decided that the only way I could be sure of high quality food, was to grow it myself.’
Lieke feels a similar connection with animals: ‘it has always seemed strange to me that we place ourselves at the top of the food chain. I think this superiority makes us a little reckless sometimes. We forget that we can’t live without all the other eco-systems that surround us, let alone this planet!’ Both themes of food and animals are recurring themes in Lieke’s artwork. These subjects are close to her heart and derived from her core values as a small-scale eco-activist. ‘My garden inspires me, so does the farmer’s market and dinner with friends, but documentaries on our current food industry and scientific articles also motivate me to start sketching.’