Polderlunch

— Drawn from Clay, Noordoostpolder

The Polderlunch was a communal meal hosted by Atelier NL in 2009 to celebrate the success of the Noordoostpolder Project - and to thank the farmers of the Noordoostpolder. Food grown on local farms was served in Atelier NL's Polderceramic vessels, made from the earth itself. Each farmer prepared dishes from their farms: potato salad, apple juice, deviled eggs, and vegetable pie, to name a few. Farmers and designers ate together at a long table made from freshly pressed hay bales. The celebration brought together the people and resources of the polder with the fruits of Atelier NL's year of local research, process, and design.

The farmers of the Noordoostpolder brought food from their land and Atelier NL provided plates made from the very land itself.

The polder has a stark beauty. The structured flat oppenness, the vast horizon, the rows of trees, repetition. Atelier reflected this in the lunch through long straight lines and rows of identical white umbrellas. The weather cooperated with bright sunshine and blue skies. Yet during preparation, there was little anxiety about poor weather. “We weren’t afraid of the rain because the farmers - they have a solution for that,” reflects Lonny. The farmers of the polder improvise everything, as did Atelier NL with freshly pressed haybale tables and crate stools provided by fruit farmers. The scents, colors, flavors, and forms of the polder soil came together in a convivial orchestration honoring the convergence of earth and innovation. The guests were received at the farm of Jurgen Bey and Rianne Makkink, who initially invited Atelier NL to deepen their work through residency in the Noordoostpolder in 2007.

"It was a super experience bringing together these two worlds, design and farming, that are so often isolated."

The polder lunch was organized in order to honor all of the farmers who made Atelier NL’s portrait of this special region possible. Two years earlier, Atelier NL placed a newspaper ad requesting buckets of dirt from farm plots, but they got few responses. Visiting farmers in person proved to be essential to the project, allowing the duo to immerse themselves in polder life firsthand. Over time, the duo got to know many farmers personally, which left everyone with a deeper appreciation for the land around them. After the completion of the project in 2008, Atelier NL experienced a whirlwind of exhibitions. In 2009 it was time to return to the source - to slow down and honor the intimate unfolding that led up to the project’s completion. The Polderlunch was a heartfelt expression of Atelier NL’s gratitude for the farmers who brought life to the project itself... and who bring life to the Noordoostpolder every day.

Polderlunch Inviatation 'Voor een appel en een emmer Klei' (For an apple and a bucket of clay)

The polder project was completed with very little money involved. All exchanges between Atelier and the farmers were centered around labor and sharing of time and stories. Thus, the event theme of the invitation above, “An apple and a bucket of clay,” based on a Dutch saying that refers to something that can be accomplished with very little money... but in this case a lot of sweat, laughter, and determination.