Aria Persei

Filtering ❣ On the way to Remembrance

Green ecological farms and the importance of reprogramming our minds to pick up food that grows naturally around us while buying our seeds from uncompromised producers

A 6-hectare area on the edge of the woods, Terres d’ici is a sustainable ecological project that has revised a lot its ways of working over the last 3 years, turning towards methods aligned with the organic principles based on the observation of nature with, for example, natural repellents to replace the use of insecticides or other chemical products.

Here, the team turned away from traditional methods of farming that pollute water, soil and the surrounding fauna to turn towards growing robust plants and flowers (nearly 100 varieties of aromatic herbs, fruit trees including some regional varieties, ancient vegetable and perennial varieties). Following a call to reinvent themselves, not only economically but also spiritually, the members of the project were keen on focusing on starting to grow closer to nature rather than being purely concerned by profitability, which leads to be removed from organic principles, and therefore isn’t serving the human race. Diane De Koninck shares: “this place exists since 1978. Three years ago, the owner reviewed the original concept feeling a call to take the decision to restore the link with nature and to focus on local networks while paying attention to purchase things in an eco-responsible way. This means we are aware of the vision of the suppliers we work with and the materials they use. This is a large scope project which continues to grow with each season. A team of 12 people works every day to respond to the growing demand, with the support of people giving a hand employed short term and volunteers. Everyone has been invited to reinvent themselves and to define a new place for themselves as the project was evolving. Relational and interpersonal dynamics here have changed a lot.” Volunteers work either in the gardening section (vegetables, aromatic plants) or in the plant section (ornamental plants) depending on their interests, experiences and expectations, which are taken into account during an interview when they arrive. Trying to be, as much as possible, service-oriented, the desire is to inspire visitors to question and challenge generally accepted behaviours: “for ornamental plants, the majority do not yet realize that toxic products have an impact not only on the health of the soil and the surrounding fauna and flora but also directly on the health of humans and pets. Our plants are less sanitized yet very much more robust than what customers are used to see; it takes time for habits to shift.”

In this multidisciplinary project, which is constantly reinventing itself and aims to be a place for friendly and generous exchanges, several areas have been envisioned: an organic agroecological gardening section, an educational area where knowledge is shared (trainings and workshops for adults on the construction of a shelter for insects for example or on how to prune fruit trees; children’s birthdays with the possibility of a treasure hunt) or the restaurant area, based on the principle « from the field to the plate. » This micro-farm project is a space for experimentation and self-regulation for visitors and corporate employees and teambuilding in a green setting (such as lawyers). The restaurant, with its large wood fire that will provide warm during the coldest months of the year, has a creative menu featuring seasonal vegetables: miso asparagus, sweet potato cream, lettuce and weed gazpacho, purple basil pesto, asparagus tartar with garlic or strawberry and rhubarb soup for dessert: “90% of the food comes from our locally grown or harvested production. We are attentive to our customers’ needs and it is not uncommon for us to customize events. We are currently working on a demonstration garden area so that our visitors can get a first-hand idea of what the combination of ornamental with edible elements in the garden looks like”. A playground area is there for children to explore and many friendly animals live around (pigs crossed with wild boars, goats and chickens).

« Coming here is an experience where you can immerse yourself, shares Eloïse Denis, who is in charge of communication. You get to see the vegetables growing just a stone away from where you eat. I arrived here after my studies in communication, I was looking for a project that had meaning ». As I am walking down the aisles, I discover and taste edible plants that I’ve never come across before, such as red mizuna that I’ll take home to plant on my newly built growing area. On the website, the blog of the eco farm offers simple, accessible and enriching information (including information on edible flowers, green ways to nourrish the land, how to take care of non welcomed weed without chemicals, how to work with willow as a natural aspirin, and so on). The inspiration and the shared knowledge and wisdom are contagious and ripple back in the lives of its visitors, to encourage them to take actions at home, adopt healthier eating habits and establish a stronger connection with nature. This project reminds us how much each of us impacts the world we live in. There are two paths ahead of us, one returning to the organic principles of nature and in alignment with the terrestrial biological frequencies, and the other one, hyper-technological, desensitized and dehumanized. Every decision we make matters and every commitment we take on a daily basis makes a big difference.

Terres d’ici, chaussée de Bruxelles, 117 à La Hulpe, Belgium; open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm, restaurant hours to be checked, +32 (0)2 653 80 15,

Getting closer to organic principles: reprogramming our minds to pick up food that grows naturally around us while buying our seeds from uncompromised producers

  • The interactive and collaborative map lists places where one can pick edible species for free. By opening our eyes to the world around us and reprogramming the way we see it, we often realize that it is much more abundant than we thought it was. Yet for most of us, picking up fruits or tender leafs, especially in urban areas, does not come as an evidence. How joyful it is to realize that food is growing all around us while we had not lifted our heads and noses to be a witness of it.
  • picking up fruits and vegetables from the Plukpek gardens in Ternat Belgium (where no pesticide or chemical fertilizer is being used). This projects lives in tune with the rythm of seasons, starting in May with strawberries (earlier for the veggies) and early June with a wide choice of small fruits such as raspberries, red and mackerel currants, some strawberries as well as some salads, herbs and vegetables). This initiative was launched in 2017 thanks to the strength of the vision of Dorothea Lequeux. Clients are very warmly welcomed and showed around. The ethical policies emphasize the duty to pay attention to the respect of all who are involved in the food production process: principles of health, ecology, equity and precaution. This includes simple decisions, such as the choice of sustainable stakes, the commitment to contribute to the regional landscape with the choice of planting different species in tune with the surrounding biodiversity and the choice to collaborate with local farms for their seeds’ production. Coming with reusable bags is encouraged as well as waterproof material if the weather is unstable. A small knife can also be brought along to facilitate wandering around and harvesting. Less packaging or energy loss due to transport, more flavour with the choice of ripe products, we can learn a lot by returning to these local principles. Their fruits and vegetables have the delicious taste of the strength of conviction and a good dose of love. It’s good to stroll through these 2 hectares where the rows of fruit trees are invigorating. Time and space do stop for a minute. Consult the opening hours on as well as what is available for picking. Volunteers are welcomed to give a hand to maintain and prepare the gardens throughout the year. Very nearby, every year in May and June, opens its doors for the picking of the rest of their organic strawberries.
  • picking up fruits between June and September in Anderlecht (Belgium) at the website keeps up to date the fruits and quantities available: strawberries (June), raspberries (July, August, September), flowers and other small red fruits (blackberries, cherries, blackcurrants, blueberries). Important detail: the organic label does not apply here unfortunately.
  • exchanging seeds and plants between individuals on online platforms such as, for the french speaking community, or
  • ordering seeds from trustable producers, such as (Namur, Belgium) which produces more than 700 varieties of seeds of old tasty and rustic vegetable, aromatic and floral varieties ; more than 250 are produced in Belgium so that the vegetable heritage does not disappear while being preserved and multiplied. The initiative aims to preserve independence, autonomy and food sovereignty. F1 hybrids or genetically modified varieties are left aside. Direct sales to consumers, group purchases, farm sales or any form of local economy are encouraged. Seeds are cleaned and packaged by hand. While the plant produces its immunity in a living soil, new European regulations are moving more and more towards a hygienic and agro-industrial vision of the living world. The measures taken seem to be moving towards the disappearance of cultivated biodiversity rather than its protection and fortification. Regulations prevent professionals from having access to certain varieties. It can be read on Semaille’s website : “Refusing our access to some varieties means being in the way for us to be able to produce and multiply quality food for our consumers, and ultimately it’s leading to the disappearance of these varieties in the short or long term. We hope that the European regulation on seeds will make the choice in the future to enhance the value of cultivated biodiversity, royalty-free seeds and our profession as seed craftsmen”.





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