When work as a surf instructor was suddenly hard to get earlier this year it prompted Cees Engelen to look toward his connection with nature to find a new direction.
Cees, originally from The Netherlands, had been introduced to permaculture by his Aussie girlfriend Elly and his learnings planted a seed for what would eventually become his new business venture.
“I needed to think on what kind of work I wanted to create for myself and do day in, day out,” he explained.
“I got really inspired by the permaculture principles which is a design science for sustainable landscapes.
“So, in April, I took a big leap and decided to turn my passion for gardening into my own business, creating Urban Edible Gardens.”
Urban Edible Gardens specialises in permaculture garden design, garden renovations, vegetable beds, tree planting and maintenance.
Cees (pronounced Case) is passionate about creating greener spaces and introducing others to the many benefits of nurturing their own edible garden, not only for themselves but also for the wider community and the planet.
“You are saving money on fresh organic produce that is normally expensive which in turn creates healthier communities,” he said.
“It’s therapy, it’s a great way to be connected with where you are and it’s also something great that families can do together.
“To grow something is a really good thing – it’s beautiful.”
Cees said a key focus of his garden design is catching rain water and reusing it to irrigate gardens.
He is collaborating with Hydrorock and Kingspan to offer customers an effective home irrigation system in which rain water tank overflow goes into the garden and is stored in Hydrorock infiltration blocks under the ground to help prevent flood and combat drought.
“In winter there is heaps of rain water that is going down the drain, literally filling up the storm drain and washing across the street taking with it plastic and chemicals and washing into our parks, ocean and rivers,” he said.
“There is an opportunity that is lost. In winter we could have caught all of that rain and then used it in summer.”
Cees said getting the business off the ground had been a team effort, with good friends Caleb Nowson and Jacob Agostino helping out with some projects and his girlfriend Elly, who has graphic design business Barefooted, bringing his vision to life through beautiful imagery and branding.
“Urban Edible Gardens’ mission is to turn neglected or unused spaced into sources of deep connection, food and joy,” Cees said.
“We want to give the people of the Surf Coast the opportunity to add greater value to their houses whilst making it very low maintenance with immense rewards.”
You can follow @urban.edible.gardens on Instagram. Torquay and Jan Juc residents can reach out for a free 45-minute consultation by emailing [email protected] or calling Cees on 0477 652 286.