Why do you grow? For the next 90 days we’re featuring real life growers. Our goal with Eddy is to build the best network of growers and data anywhere. We want to help you and all growers and aspiring growers to grow like a pro. We’re starting with our own Karin Kloosterman. Become an Eddy GrowGuru here.
Meet Karin Kloosterman, One of the Brains Behind Eddy
Your full name: Karin Kloosterman
Tell us a little about you? Used to be a scientist, then a journalist, and sort of panicked for a while over the way the world was headed so corralled a team of the smartest people I know and we created Eddy. So we can start a food revolution, using hydroponics + crazy-a$$ technology.
What do you like to grow and how do you grow it? I love to watch things around me grow, like when I am in the wild north of Canada and can spend enough time there to see the forest change, berries ripen. Like in the picture above. In this environment I don’t like to add or subtract much. Just to let it be and marvel at nature. But when I am in the city the most useful things for me to grow are slow-growing herbs and spices that I like to use in my cooking and in tea.
What’s the weirdest thing you are growing now? That’s a funny one with me and basel above, but I just bought a pile of really neat seedlings, from rare lettuces and greens, like mizuna, and had them all set up in my hydro system and a pile of birds came out of nowhere and ate everything. Then I replanted and the city rats ate everything. Being a city farmer isn’t easy but we need to constantly plant. The strangest plant or the rarer thing I am growing right now is a herb called white-leaved savory or Micromeria fruticosa. In Israel, where I live it’s called zuta levona. It tastes like mint but it’s super soft. Like if mint were to jump on a big bag of feathers – makes you feel like a princess or prince when you drink it in tea.
Where do you like to grow? I like to grow wherever I am living. One of the occupational hazards of travelling a lot is that’s it’s not always easy to lay down roots literally, and when I leave my home it’s not always certain everything will be alive when I return. I love growing on the roof of my house. I have a great biodome that I can fill with plants. But in the summer where I live it gets too hot, so it’s a perfect winter garden. A prototype Eddy I am working with lets me grow using hydroponics, while getting updates and warnings when something is wrong.
Let’s Talk About Cannabis
Do you grow cannabis? No, but I would if it were legal where I live. People close to me use it and I would enjoy being able to grow medicine for those I care about, adding local light, organic nutrients + love.
Most interesting thing you learned about cannabis? I used to have a lot of friends who were stoners. Mainly when I was in my teens, and we were all in high-school. As I got older, and dove into the world of cannabis (I founded the first cannabis technologies conference in Israel called Canna Tech) and learned so much from the scientific community there, mainly that people who smoke habitually are self medicating. My opinion changed about habitual users and now I feel more compassionate towards people who smoke regularly. Discovered it’s an important medicine to many. And it’s best used in nature!
How’d you get into growing? My grandfather from Holland (that’s my Opa above, me with hand on his leg!) came from a farming family, and my grandmother too (his wife) — hers, the Van der Meers were the biggest egg farmers in Holland at one point. They moved to Canada after the war for a fresh start and chose a gardening community, no surprise, in an area called the Holland Marsh, in Ont. Canada –– full of fertile black soil like in Holland. When he was older my grandfather used to tend to a large organic garden in my family’s backyard. I grew up eating fresh vegetables – just picked. When I was hungry my mom told me to go and eat from the garden. Sometimes I would eat carrots still covered in dirt. I’d just sortof polish them off a bit.
Do You Have Any Advice?
Best advice for people who want to grow? Keep planting even when nature is against you. Even though the land might not be fertile, and you plant without success, keep planting. Start with seeds, buy seedlings. Grow fruit trees, and plant vegetable gardens. Start first with herbs on your countertop. From there it’s easier to switch to a small hydro system. Keep planting on the earth too. Permaculture and healthy soil are important for soil biodiversity. We need to fight to keep ourselves inside this circle of life. And appreciate every little thing we buy at the grocery store.
If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be? I didn’t know much about the eggplant until I travelled to Turkey and then the Middle East. It’s a weird vegetable in a way. You can’t eat it raw. But when you cook it, it’s so versatile. As a dip, fried in a salad, inside a vegan lasagna. Its color is majestic. Its skin sleek. It’s magical the way it transforms. That’s me and my twin above. Just kidding. Yeah but I looove eggplant that much. Our Community Manager Kristen just told me it’s got nicotine in it. Another perk?
Good Lookin’ Out
Funniest story connected to cannabis – using it or growing it? I don’t smoke that much, in fact almost not at all these days. But I did a bit more when I was younger. I made one of the biggest decisions of my life when I was high –– I emigrated from Canada to a wild new country! and as medicine it helped open a new window of understanding — helping me face some questions I had inside but were afraid of answering.
That’s not so funny…but once when I was like 7, a police officer came to my door to ask something random to my mother. Instinctively I ran to the windowsill and hid her cannabis plant. It was illegal then to grow in Canada, so I can say this now because in 2018 Canada will be legal for personal use. That’s my mom below. Well, the mother I think I remembered.
Most embarrassing gardening story: spending 2 whole days tilling the land, planting seeds in a large plot of land, then going out to drink beer for a few days and never tending to the garden again. I was in my 20s living in Switzerland. People in their 20s today are a bit different. They have morals! They also have Tinder, so it’s easier to stay at home to meet guys and do some gardening and weeding at the same time … 😉
Secret Superpower: I am the world’s best backwards driver. Get stuck in a narrow alleyway and can’t turn around? Call on me. It comes from years of driving a pickup truck in Canada. It’s all we had when I was a kid.
Get Wes Anderson on the Phone
Favorite song: Obvious Child by Paul Simon. Makes me happy, makes me sad, makes me dance. Feel like it’s a timeless song. I also love the song She by Alice Phoebe Lou. I’m an activist at heart. What can I say… But you can find a more current playlist of what I am listening to here on Spotify. I curated it for Eddy fans.
If you could choose an imaginary friend, who would you choose and why? Max Fischer, the Jason Schwartzman character played in Rushmore. I’ve always had a thing for eccentric polymaths. I like to play with them. Max looks like a lot of fun. Even if he’s aged. Maybe he’d start a wild garden with me. 😉
Want to be featured in our series? Reach out @GrowEddy on Instagram or email firstname.lastname@example.org