— Drawn from Clay, Noordoostpolder

The Polderlunch was a communal meal organized by Atelier NL in 2009 to celebrate the success of the Noordoostpolder Project and thank the farmers who contributed their soil and stories. For this meal, the food from the land was served on the Polderceramics tableware; a poetic gesture in which the vegetable consumed at lunch could be served on the same earth that grew them. Each farmer prepared a dish from their farm: potato salad, apple juice, deviled eggs, and vegetable pie, to name just a few. The 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 research, process, and design.

The farmers of the Noordoostpolder brought meals grown from their land and Atelier NL provided tableware made from the very same soil.

The polder has a stark beauty. The structured flat openness, the vast horizon, and the repeating rows of trees. At the lunch, Atelier echoed these characteristics by setting up long straight lines of tables 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 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, colours, flavours, and forms of the polder soil came together in a convivial orchestration honouring 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."

Two years prior to the Polderlunch, Atelier NL placed a newspaper ad requesting buckets of dirt from farm plots but received few responses. Visiting the farmers in person proved to be essential to the project and allowed the duo to immerse themselves in polder-life firsthand. Over time, they got to know many farmers personally, which left everyone with a deeper appreciation for the land around them. In 2009, it was time to return to the source — a chance to slow down and honour 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 and the Noordoostpolder.

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. All exchanges between Atelier and the farmers were centered around labour and sharing time and stories. Thus, the event theme was, “An Apple and a Bucket of Clay,” which is based on a Dutch saying that refers to an act that can be accomplished with very little money. In this case, there was a lot of sweat, laughter, and determination.