Interview landscape architect John Koomen

Can you introduce yourself?

I am John Koomen and 48 years old. I have had my own company “John Koomen” for 25 years now. In January 2011 I was chosen as “ Most Sustainable Gardener of the Netherlands 2010 ”.

What does the company do?

We do everything that has to do with green: garden architecture, Construction and maintenance of gardens and green areas for private individuals, the professional sector and (semi) government. We also make and maintain roof and facade gardens. Our own specialist for every discipline. Each staff member is an experienced force in his field. In addition, we do our best to build the gardens as sustainably as possible and thus contribute to a greener world.

When did you come into contact with greenSand for the first time?

The first acquaintance with olivine is now 4 to 5 years ago in France with a friend of mine. At that time we were already working on “how to get olivine on the market”. We also had a conversation with Olaf Schuiling. About 2 years ago I met Eddy Wijnker and greenSand. We meet now and then.

So how long have you been selling greenSand products?

We do not sell greenSand from stock, but apply it on a project basis to customers who order it. The order is then processed via greenSand.

What kind of products does greenSand use in projects?

We mainly use the greenSand olivine sand (the small variety) and the pebbles (15-25 mm) as a replacement for gravel. We also mix olivine through the roof garden substrate. A good example is the roof garden of Essent's head office in Hoofddorp. This roof vegetation is made with substrate mixed with greenSand olivine to compensate for part of Essent's CO2 emissions.

Why are you selling it?

Because we mean well for the earth. greenSand olivine binds CO2. Olivine also has more advantages, you can make so many applications with it. I think we should start using this mineral as much as possible; as a soil improver, in stone baskets as roofing material. With these applications we can do so much for a healthy climate. The climate problem does not belong to one person, reducing CO2 in the atmosphere is something we all have to do. If I come across such a product as greenSand olivine, I want to use it right away!

Have you looked at the item Kassa Groen over olivine?

Yes, I did indeed see Olaf Schuiling at Kassa Groen! I thought it was a strong story. How good that greenSand and Smartstones are now also joining forces. Of course I tweeted about it and the tweet was also retweeted a number of times! People need to see the effect of olivine. Then they understand the effect of olivine better and it is more than just "something sustainable". Through such an acquaintance with olivine on TV, you create goodwill. People have to be open to a product like olivine in their garden. I think a broadcast on TV helps with that.

What are the reactions of customers if you recommend greenSand olivine for the garden?

The first reaction now is that it is more expensive than other materials. After explaining the CO2-binding qualities, people do become enthusiastic. Many also say that the effects of olivine are almost too simple to be true.

Why would you recommend greenSand to customers?

I recommend greenSand olivine first for the CO2 binding values. If someone can bind a small part of the excess CO2 in the atmosphere with his garden, I think he should just do it. It is also a good alternative for sand and gravel applications !

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