Congratulations to Green Living Lab volunteers Lexy Grosse, Cato Bersee, Roos van der Deijl & Shanice van der Sloot for organising the Green Living Lab Clothes Swap this week!

Our dome was transformed into a gorgeous pop-up fashion store for the afternoon, where secondhand items were tried on, swapped & found new homes. All leftover clothing items are being donated to Leger de Heils.

Did you know that research by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) shows that the average person wears clothing items just 6 or seven times before throwing them away? And that it would take approximately 14 years to drink the amount of water used to make a single pair of jeans? Extending clothing life by just 3 months can reduce carbon, water and waste footprints by up to 10%. Swapping clothing items not only gives new life to your wardrobe but is a conscious sustainable fashion choice.

For info on Wrap’s research see:

Next week, November 21-27, is #Secondhandfirst Week, launched by the clothes recycling charity TRAID  No better time to check your wardrobe for items you no longer wear that could be enjoyed by others & to bring them to your local secondhand clothing store. Or bring them along to the next Green Living Lab Clothes Swap… details coming soon!

#secondhandfirst #circulareconomy #sustainablefashion #greenlivinglab


A BIG thank you to all who took part in the Green Living Lab’s Circular Economy Hackathon, where circular economy ideas, kind to people and planet, were hatched by enthusiastic hackers in the dome!

Enactus VU hosted the event as part of our Community Compost School programme. Enactus president Hanneke van Setten told us how positive social impact & sustainability are central values for their enterprises. We heard about the new Enactus compost collection enterprise, incubated by the Green Living Lab, where students will work together to create value from organic waste in the city. Viewing waste as a resource for value creation is central to circular economy thinking.

We heard from Rowin Snijder about StadsOogst, a circular economy co-operative that he recently set up with partner Chris Mueller, The StadsOogst (City Harvest) team make potting soil from compost made in the city & from waste materials from urban food production. The resulting potting soil will be used to grow food in the city, for the city.

Luana Carretto, founder of Taste Before You Waste, shared her motivations & experience of setting up a circular economy initiative that is focused on preventing urban food waste. By creating & serving healthy, delicious vegan food from food waste, TBYW shows us how a healthy diet, a healthy local food system & a healthy local economy are connected. Taste Before You Waste is now to be found in other cities & towns & offers educational food waste workshops to inform children & their parents how to prevent food waste. Taste Before You Waste are looking for more food waste heroes to help them with their mission to prevent food waste in the city, so if you’d like to help out just get in touch!

Knowledge & Innovation Manager, Shyaam Ramkumar from Circle Economy explained what circular economy means & the importance of systems thinking in designing sustainable products & business models. Shyaam’s examples of innovative local & international circular products & business models really inspired guests – thank you Shyaam!

Then it was on to the Hackathon Challenge! Enactus VU challenged guests to work in teams to think of a circular economy idea that could be applied locally & then to pitch it to our jury. After 4 passionate pitches the judges chose the winning idea, ‘The Magic Lightbulb’, a repair service focused on connecting younger & older generations. The winning team received a Dopper water bottle each, donated by Green Office VU.

We have 2 workshops left on our Community Compost School programme – 25 November & 9th December & everyone is welcome to join us. For info & to reserve your place please get in touch at

#circulareconomyhackathon #circulareconomy #circulaireconomy #rethinkbusinessmodel #systemsthinking #biomimicry #wasteisaresource #greenlivinglab #circleeconomy #enactusvu #stadsoogst #tastebeforeyouwaste

During last week’ s Community Compost School Le Compostier took us on a tour of community composting projects in neighbourhoods and to innovative urban farms in the city.

During the first stop we heard from community composting pioneer Christien how she took the initiative to bring a worm hotel to her street in the Pijp neighbourhood. She told us how composting on the street with her neighbours is both easy and fun.

Next stop, the beautiful green oasis in Amsterdam Oost, Oost Indisch Groen, where volunteers Elco & Sameena showed us how they compost there.

After a cup of tea (thanks Sameena!) we were off to visit the community garden at Zeeburgereiland, where they have a worm hotel for composting used by over that holds 1400 litres of organic waste, making a lot of compost to grow food there.

Wouter Hassing then welcomed us to his urban farm Mycophilia located in Amsterdam Noord, where we saw his state of the art mushroom farm. We also got to check out his biomeiler which provides heat for the containers the mushrooms are grown in.

StadsOogst, a new urban farming cooperative in Amsterdam, are currently making Amsterdam’s first locally produced (& vegan!) garden soil using the substrate of Wouter’s mushroom production.

Last stop of the day, the urban faming complex Noordoogst, home to Metabolic, Beelease, STROOP & the unique No Chateau – Amsterdamse stadswijngaard city vineyard.

Thank you to all of the bikers who rode along & a special thanks to Le Compostier for organising such a special afternoon!

#communitycompostschool #urbancompost #greenlivinglab #stadsoogst

Thank you to Marc Siepman & Wouter Hassing for wonderfully informative & engaging lectures on week 2 of the Green Living Lab’s Community Compost School!

 Marc Siepman introduced us to the diversity of organisms that make up the Soil Food Web & explained how this interdependent web is responsible for healthy plant life. From bacteria, algae, fungi & protozoa, to nematodes, earthworms, insects & plants, these organisms decompose organic matter, cycle nutrients, enhance soil structure & control populations of crop pests.

 Marc explained how soil organic matter is made up of humus & active organic matter. Soil organisms work to convert active organic matter into humus & humus can hold carbon in the soil in a stable way for decades or even centuries. If soil is continuousy disturbed this interrupts the natural process of active organic matter being converted into humus & triggers some soil organisms to convert active organic matter to CO2. This CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere causing pollution, instead of being captured in the soil. Looking after our soil by adding organic matter & proper soil management is essential for a healthy local environment & local food system.

The good news is that we can all make a difference by converting our organic waste into compost & return this compost to the soil for local food production.

For info on Marc’s upcoming courses & lectures, as well as information on his innovative moneyless farm project Meenderij see:

Mark introduced us to the important role of fungi in creating & maintaining healthy soil. We heard how fungi like to break down complex organic compounds in the soil including wood, fibrous plant residues & humus. Then mycologist Wouter Hassing told us more about the functions & incredible intelligence of fungi & mycelium.

Wouter is the founder of Mycophilia, a bio-technology R & D organisation that researches how mycelium & fungi can be used for environmental controls against pollution & to make healthy soil for local food production. Wouter & his partner Marijke also grow delicious shiitake & oyster mushrooms & offer grow-kits to grow your own mushrooms at home!

For more info see:

Thanks to Wouter for sharing the animated short film, Underground Market with us, by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) researcher Toby Kiers. This film provides a fascinating insights into the interaction & trading between fungal hyphae & plant roots. Toby’s research focuses on how cooperation between species evolves & how cooperation is affected by a rapidly changing world. For more info on her research please see:

Wouter shared expert tips on growing fungi at home & gave everyone a shiitake mushroom grow-kit to take home & get growing. Did you know that mushrooms are still alive after they are harvested? Therefore keeping them in their preferred conditions ensures they stay fresh for longer & retain more nutritional value. Prolong the freshness of mushrooms at home by wrapping them in a wet towel & keep them in the fridge at a temperature of 2 degrees.

There is still time to participate in our Community Compost School programme. Look out for your chance to take part in upcoming events & workshops including;

28 October: The Community Composting Bike Tour with Le Compostier. An action-packed tour of community composting projects throughout Amsterdam where you will meet community composting pioneers in their neighbourhoods or in community gardens & get the chance to ask them questions to learn from their experience. You’ll have the chance to visit some of the most beautiful urban gardens in the city & taste some delicious local organic produce. Advance registration is required:

11 November: The Circular Economy Hackathon! In collaboration with the circular economy consultancy Circle EconomyEnactus VU & local food waste initiative Taste Before You Waste, we invite you to ‘hack’ our local food system by thinking creatively about circular economy solutions.

More details coming soon!

With our education programme, The Community Compost School, we aim to inspire students, city residents & local businesses to think about how they too can convert their organic waste into value by composting.

On the 1st week of the Community Compost School programme we heard from Rowin Snijder of  Le Compostier on how important healthy living soil is for all life on earth.

We heard how healthy plant life & a healthy environment begin with a healthy soil & how important it is for us to look after our local soil, including the soil in the city.

Rowin told us about the growing phenomenon of Community Composting in Amsterdam, where city residents group together to place ‘worm hotels’ in their neighbourhoods or community gardens in order to convert their organic kitchen waste into compost. This compost can then be used to grow food locally. By turning waste into a useful, valuable product, the residents are not only adding value to their local soil & local economy, they are also preventing organic waste from being sent to landfill which can cause environmental pollution. By viewing organic waste as a resource for our urban food system, these circular economy pioneers are inspiring more community composting projects across the city.

Rowin informed us how vermicomposting, composting with worms, offers a fast, odourless & easy solution for composting in the city & he showed us how worm hotels work in practice. Course participants also got to make their own bucket worm hotels to bring home so they can start turning their kitchen waste into value.

We are looking forward to hearing how they get on living with their new worm housemates!

Green Student Bootcamp Challenge graduate Esti Colomer shares her experiences of learning about healthy and sustainable lifestyle choices at the Green Living Lab with fellow Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam – International Students:

“Since I moved to Amsterdam last year, I was extremely surprised by the importance of sustainability and all the green initiatives that this city offers. I decided that I wanted to become part of this sustainability movement and I joined the Green Student Bootcamp Challenge. This was a 12-week program aimed to promote healthier lifestyle choices, to help students live more sustainably and put theory into practice. The Bootcamp was organised by the Green Living Lab (GLL).”

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Students! There is still time to join our new education programme, the Community Compost SchoolThis applied learning programme explores how we can work together to turn our organic waste into compost to grow food locally, how we can prevent food waste in the city, how to make healthy vegan meals & how jobs for students could be created by turning waste into value.

Contact us today to book your place:

Het is bijna tijd om onze 2de onderwijsprogramma ‘De Buurtcompost School te lanceren op vrijdag 30 september!

Dus de perfecte tijd voor een terugblik op onze 1ste onderwijs programma, ‘The Green Student Bootcamp Challenge’.

Hier vinden jullie een mooi verslag over de invloed van het programma door deelnemende student Roos van der Deijl, MSc Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).

“Vrijdag, begin van de middag. ‘Ga je weer naar je groene ding?’ ‘Jep, weer lekker in de aarde wroeten!’ roep ik voordat ik huppelend de Boelelaan oversteek en het Groene Leven Lab binnenloop. Daar vind ik mijn mede ‘groene gezonde studenten’ al (ja hip hè, je vind ons op sociale media onder #greenhealthystudents), kletsend rondom de groentedips, gevulde dadels, en andere (groene, gezonde, vanzelfsprekend) snacks die programmaleidster Aveen met een aantal (groene, gezonde) helpers heeft gemaakt.

Zo ongeveer begon de afgelopen lente iedere vrijdagmiddag voor mij en vijfendertig medestudenten. Vervolgens wachtte ons iedere week weer een vol programma waarin zowel onze handen als breinen werden uitgedaagd om wat duurzamer met de aarde om te gaan. Want naast het vergaren van kennis en inspiratie over de hele reeks onderwerpen die hiermee te maken hebben, was de Green Student Bootcamp Challenge vooral een ‘action lab’, waarmee het creatief, productief, en efficiënt in de praktijk brengen van ideeën voorop stond.

Ik zou pagina’s kunnen vullen over de bomvolle lijst aan workshops, sprekers, en uitdagingen die we iedere week kregen, maar voor de leesbaarheid van dit stukje zal ik het bij de hoogtepunten houden. Praktische stadstuinieren workshops door Cityplot werden afgewisseld met o.a. zonnige en erg inspirerende lessen van VU professor Jaap Seidell, en dr. Jolanda Maas, die i.s.m. het Groene Leven Lab onderzoek doen naar de effecten van een groene omgeving op gezondheid. Ook de VU Green Office en sociaal ondernemen platform Enactus VU kwamen met ons brainstormen. Daarnaast werden we geïnspireerd door verhalen uit het bedrijfsleven van o.a. Coco-Mat, Bio-Kultura, en NICE fruitijsjes (inclusief gratis ijsjes die erg welkom waren op die warme middag!). Goede herinneringen hebben we ten slotte aan de kookdemo van Vegan Sundays, en Tai Chi en mindfulness lessen in het ‘blotevoetenveld’.

Als ik van dit alles één ‘take home message’ zou moeten noemen, is het wel het belang van onze bodem. Ik vind het ongelooflijk me te beseffen dat ontelbare diersoorten onder onze voeten een complex ecosysteem vormen dat letterlijk en figuurlijk ten grondslag ligt aan al het leven op aarde. Wist je bijvoorbeeld dat één eetlepel aan bodem meer micro-organismes bevat dan de volledige bevolking ter aarde? Daarom is het zo jammer dat we er niet zo goed voor zorgen; de afgelopen 150 jaar is de helft van de bodem toplaag verloren gegaan door menselijke ingrepen zoals ontbossing, overbegrazing, en het gebruik van landbouwchemicaliën.

Confronterend? Ja. Hopeloos? Nee. Met een beetje creativiteit is overal een oplossing voor te bedenken, leren we van de lessen maar ook van elkaar. Neem Rowin uit het GLL team, ook wel ‘Le Compostier’. Hij maakt ‘wormenhotels’: zelfontworpen compostbakken, voor straten en restaurants in de stad. Of kijk naar Juste, hij wordt héél blij van gezond koken en is een levend voorbeeld van hoeveel energie dat kan geven. Of Waas, die ons verteld over zijn project ‘Tiny Tim’, een minihuis dat zichzelf voorziet van water, warmte, en elektriciteit.

De tijd vloog om, en voor we het wisten waren we onze graduation party aan het organiseren. Op dit groene festival evalueerden we op de ervaring en vierden we onder het genot van zelfgemaakte hapjes uit de tuin het behalen van onze groene studentenstatus. Onze ‘graduation gift’ was niets minder dan bodem uit de tuin. En zo, beginnend en eindigend met bodem, was de cirkel rond.

Aan het eind van de middag fietste ik altijd naar huis met mijn hoofd vol ideeën om mijn eigen leven weer een beetje groener, bewuster, gezonder, en vooral leuker te maken. Mijn vrienden, familie, en huisgenoten lachten me toe (of soms een beetje uit) over mijn nieuwgevonden enthousiasme voor het houden van wormen, het ‘opvoeden’ van mijn baby plantenbaby’s, en het ijverig schudden van mijn kiempotten. Maar ik denk dat we stiekem best wat zaadjes hebben geplant. Nu maar hopen dat ze blijven groeien.”

Er is nog tijd om deel te nemen aan De Buurtcompost School programma!

Stuur een e-mail naar: voor informatie.