So I know most people venture to Amsterdam to either sample the vices of space cakes and the Red Light District or to admire the canals and visit some of its world-class museums. I ventured to Amsterdam to do neither as I found myself traveling there with my adventure partner to WWOOF at an urban farm that also marketed itself as a “post-apocalyptic” café. I had no idea what I was getting myself into as I found myself in Amsterdam in the dead of winter living in a shipping container while being involved with an off-the-grid project with tons of interesting characters including a spiritual yet emotionally unstable Rastafarian. Follow me to Amsterdam, Netherlands as I give you a peek into post-apocalyptic life at the urban farm/café known as De Kaskantine.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”
Now I know you’re probably thinking, how in the world did you find a post-apocalyptic urban/farm café in Amsterdam to live and work at? Also what is a post-apocalyptic urban farm/cafe? Well thanks to WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities for Organic Farming) my adventure partner and I found one of the most interesting WWOOF projects to work on, probably in the world. As an adventuress, I had to take the chance as the project seemed unlike anything I’d ever heard of before. De Kaskantine (the green canteen) is an off-the-grid cantina, urban farm, and food co-op. De Kaskantine strives to be as off-the-grid and self-sustaining as possible by producing its own food in its on-site greenhouse, using food waste (such as ugly fruits and veggies that are unmarketable to grocery stores) and upcycling. The “post-apocalyptic” tag is a marketing gimmick in that if the apocalypse or “Trumpocalpypse” did hit De Kaskantine would be unscathed.
“Life is full of surprises”
When we first got accepted to join the De Kaskantine project, the De Kaskantine was a fully functioning urban farm/cantina located near a sugar factory in an industrialized area of western Amsterdam. However, over time things changed quickly. A month before we were set to travel out to Amsterdam we learned that De Kaskantine was being evicted from their site and were quickly mobilizing to relocate to another area but we were still welcome to come help. The next surprise came when a week before we were due to leave we learned that Menno, the leader of the De Kaskantine project and our host, also got evicted out of his apartment, which is where we were going to stay, but we could live on the De Kaskantine site as long as we were OK with living in a shipping container. OK, I thought, no one said great adventures were ever comfortable.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
When we first arrived in Amsterdam we were met at the train station by the mysteriously named Menno. Menno arrived in Dutch style, on his bike with an attached trolley. Menno was tall, inscrutable, and had an unusual air of nobility about him. He also had a nice man-bun. He took us to the new site of De Kaskantine, located in front of an abandoned ING bank building. De Kaskantine – the urban farm/café part, was housed in a green-house building while the rest of the De Kaskantine complex, including our sleeping quarters, were housed in shipping containers.
Our sleeping quarters were less than a quarter, they were probably a nickel of space, as it was just made up of a mattress located in the corner of the shipping container. The shipping container was also where the tools for the project were housed so there would be no privacy. Also the shipping container had no insulation but there was a wood-fired rocket stove, we just had to scavenge wood. Also there were no bathroom facilities on site, but there was an office building about three-minutes away where we could use the bathroom. Also it was Amsterdam, in February, with wintry cold temps. OK, I thought, adapting to the post-apocalyptic life might be a little more challenging than I thought.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Adventuress Diaries – I Survived the Apocalypse in Amsterdam, Netherlands where I introduce you to the characters as well as the trials and challenges of De Kaskantine.