• Words

    Nik Baerten

  • Images

    Benjamin Sporken

farmoformer (noun) (from farmoforming (verb)): hybrid strand of agricultural entrepreneurship and design employing the principles of living organisms to craft and cultivate innovative materials and solutions. Its methodological frameworks stem from arts, crafts and science movements of the mid- 21st century.

“Arthur was a Limbo-veteran. Trained throughout his multi-career as an engineer, social historian, biotech entrepreneur and landscape architect, he had grown up amongst the relics of the industrial era and witnessed the sprawling terror of what he considered visionless Belgian urban planning, scar the rural landscapes of his beloved Limburg. He watched how monocultures in agriculture impoverished the landscape and drained biodiversity, how his farming friends struggled to survive switched to organic farming and later permaculture or shifted their focus altogether to the mind-numbing nostalgia-tourism. Many of the young hands and brains had left. But then came a period in which the worlds of technology and biology fell in love with one another. This had been not only a turning point in his personal career and life, but a renaissance for a whole region. Agricultural lands diversified once again, complex new materials and solutions were grown in, and derived from, a wide range of crops. The building bricks of life itself in all their material and immaterial manifestations, yet ever unpredictable patterns of growth, became the matter of design in this area. Young, original minds from across the world flocked to the flourishing rurban communities, giving rise to a new blend of what Arthur liked to call designo-scientist-craftsmanship. In his opinion, their ways saved the region from ‘big city envy’, shaped a new identity for it. They grew a lung allowing the whole eutropolis to breathe new air.”