A large part of Fryslân consists of peat meadows. Peat plays an essential role in the global climate crisis, because spread over the earth peatlands contain twice as much CO2 as all forests combined. The UN environment programme also reminds us: the wetlands are the silent heroes of the climate problem. Despite their key ecological role, the areas are in danger. Peat extraction, intensive agriculture and dairy farming have ensured that the peat dries out rapidly. This leads to greenhouse gas emissions and the loss of biodiversity. According to climate experts, rewetting the peat meadow areas is the only option for a sustainable future. Fertile Grounds: A new look at Frisian peat meadow with Christien Meindertsma can be seen from 7 May 2022 to 10 April 2023 in the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden and is part of the Frisian Triennial Arcadia.
Fertile Grounds is a one-year, open-ended research project: three rooms in the Fries Museum will be set up as a dynamic laboratory where people can talk to each other. Frisians, farmers, politicians, nature lovers and experts are considering a central question: 'What future do you want for the Frisian peat meadow area?' With conversation starters in the rooms and a diverse program of activities, the Fries Museum will delve deeper into the subject during the duration of the exhibition.
The exhibition shows new work by the Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma. This new work was created especially for this exhibition at the request of the curators, Laura Drouet and Oivier Lacrouts of studio d-o-t-s. Meindertsma was invited to take a new look at the peat meadow area and developed a series of creative, plant-based concepts. These concepts embrace paludiculture, a new form of agriculture that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using wet farming. With age-old techniques, regional crafts and use of the landscape, Meindertsma tries to build a bridge between environmental awareness and new opportunities that arise with the rediscovery of plants such as bulrush, willows and wild rice. These crops thrive in the traditionally wet peat meadows and provide an alternative source of income.
With an activating and inviting approach, Fertile Grounds underlines how creativity can help with the ongoing climate problem by being proactive and inclusive.
Fertile grounds is the prelude to a larger project with reflections by designers in the European countryside, which the Fries Museum will produce in 2025 in collaboration with Arcadia and studio d-o-t-s.