Artist Debra Solomon created a remarkable project, reflecting food and social distance - and she did this in one of the most difficult neighborhoods of the Netherlands, the Schilderswijk at Den Haag.

"Can food contribute to a nicer and more hospitable neighborhood with healthier people, where the communal production of food results in a close-knit community?" With this question in mind the artist Debra Solomon embarked on the project Foodscape Schilderswijk.

In 2010 she had put up the Foundation Urbaniahoeve which means 'Urbaniafarm'. This meanwhile florishing initiative is starting point for cultivating edible gardens in neighborhoods. With her enthusiasme she succeded also to steer the art and architecture center Stroom Den Haag in the direction of her favorite issue: urban gardening and feeding als the meeting point of different cultures and different social classes. Under the title 'foodprint' Stroom initiated a special program which focusses on the influence food can have on the culture, shape and functioning of the city. "Food unites and can build bridges between cultures and generations" says Stroom. Through lectures, workshops, art projects and exhibitions artists, architects and designers show the importance food can have in our everyday life. And also how food can contribute to a healthy, green, liveable and sustainable city.

In the Schilderswijk Den Haag Debra Solomon and her Urbaniahoeve foundation installed various foodscapes consisting of herb lawns, fruit trees and berry bushes, together with people and organizations from the neighborhood. Thus the fun of communal gardening, maintenance and cooking, is combined in an informal way with urban agriculture and the collective upkeep of public space. The active participation of the locals transforms the neighborhood into a wonderful place, where people can harvest tasty and fresh food.

Every other week, on Sundays at 1 pm, people are invited to meet in front of the office of Haag Wonen (Westenbergstraat 45) in order to visit one of the inner courtyard gardens of the Westenberger Hof. For more information check (in Dutch) or email


Foodscape Schilderswijk is made possible by:
Gemeente Den Haag (Fonds Burgerschap, Natuur- en Milieucommunicatie), Woningcorporatie Haag Wonen, Fonds 1818, Stichting DOEN, Ministerie van LNV, Fonds BKVB.

Photos: Sjoerd Knibbeler and Urbaniahoeve