Janet Loera clips cilantro from the vertical gardens at Homegirl Cafe.
Janet Loera works as a line cook at Homegirl Cafe now, but a few years ago, fresh out of jail, she spent most of her time in one of the gardens that provide this downtown Los Angeles restaurant with freshly harvested organic produce. “I was one of the first girls in the garden,” says the 21-year-old, cutting cilantro from a hanging herb garden outside the cafe. “That’s where I started.”
Grand old buildings—particularly sturdy brick ones that outlived the industries that built them—are repurposed with some regularity. But find a late-19th-century water tower sitting on nearly four acres of open land and you have the ingredients for something truly exceptional. In Dordrecht, 15 miles southwest of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, that is just what Daan van der Have and his partners, Dorine de Vos and Hans Loos, created.