Creating connections and a meaningful contribution to others

Vrijwilliger - Volunteer Chris Oppenheimer

A conversation with our volunteer Chris Oppenheimer

As the oldest volunteer, Chris Oppenheimer enthusiastically dedicates himself to supporting Stichting De Groentedeler. At 80 years old, he cycles back and forth between Leiderdorp and Zoeterwoude to work in the garden. Why? Because he highly values the connection to other people, to the earth and the ability to make a difference for those in need.


Volunteer at Stichting De Groentedeler

Through an announcement at Ekklesia Leiden, Chris Oppenheimer became acquainted with Stichting De Groentedeler. An appeal for volunteers to contribute to the garden caught Chris’s attention. He saw an opportunity to be outdoors and work together with others towards a common goal. He decided to sign up.

Since then, he has been working at Bij Mei with great pleasure.

“It’s wonderful to see immediate results. As the vegetables are picked up by the end of the morning, we have to make sure we are ready in time. After some hours of physically demanding work, we can enjoy a cup of coffee with all the volunteers, which is always very enjoyable!”

Sometimes the work is challenging. Drought makes it difficult to cultivate the hard ground, while too much moisture can cause the vegetables to wilt. You have to deal with all the natural circumstances that come about.


An eye for the origin of vegetables

Before joining as a volunteer, Chris Oppenheimer had no experience working in a garden. He developed his harvesting and weeding skills under the expert guidance of other volunteers. Gradually he gained insights into the growth process and the origin of certain vegetables.

“While looking at all the shiny vegetables that you find in supermarkets, you have no idea where they come from or how they are grown. By working at the garden, you create an eye for the origin of the vegetables you harvest in direct contact with the earth.”

Just like in the supermarket, the vegetables that look less appealing, are sometimes rejected in the community supported agricultural garden Bij Mei. Chris gladly takes these vegetables home, enjoying fresh meals and discovering new flavors regularly.


“It’s idealistic work; we are here to help others.”

Chris Oppenheimer doesn’t know how long he will be able to continue the physically demanding work at Stichting De Groentedeler, but for now, he carries out all the tasks at the garden with great pleasure.

“With a common goal in mind, we work together in a very pleasant environment. It’s nice to stay in touch with each other and with Mother Earth. Moreover, organic farming is something we should move towards for a sustainable future. After all, sustainability is becoming increasingly important!”

We would like to express our gratitude to Chris Oppenheimer for the fantastic contribution he makes to our foundation!


Become a volunteer yourself!

Are you inspired and willing to volunteer throughout the next season? Send an email to now!