It is increasingly important for us to be 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. And to plant in our gardens many varieties of fruit trees, aromatic plants, old vegetable plants, melliferous perennials and fruit-bearing shrubs.
A multidimensional and multi-purpose project will be constantly reinvented and will be a place of friendly and generous exchanges. Several poles will be designed: organic agro-ecological market gardening, educational space where knowledge is shared (training and workshops for adults on the construction of insect hotels or on the pruning of fruit trees, activities geared towards children or even catering based on the principle of ‘from the field or the greenhouse to the plate’. A large wood fire will be a pleasant place to gather around a menu that honors seasonal vegetables: miso asparagus, spinach flowers, sweet potato cream, lettuce and weed gazpacho, purple basil pesto, asparagus and wild garlic tartar or, for dessert, strawberry and rhubarb soup: it is important to produce a larger and larger part of our food needs each year, products that are grown or picked on site. What does it look like to combine ornamental with edible elements in the garden?
Going to the places that we are setting up little by little brings rejuvenation. Having the opportunity to see vegetables growing just a stone’s throw from where you sit to eat them is a different experience. Walking down the aisles, we can discover edible plants, such as red mizuna and glacial ficoïde. Providing simple and tangible information that is accessible and enriching (such as about edible flowers, green manures, chemical-free weeding or willow as a natural aspirin) remains of importance. The transmission of knowledge, the contagious inspiration that pushes visitors to implement things at home, to eat more healthily or to establish a stronger link with nature are points that remind us that each of us has a major impact on the reality that surrounds us. Two paths are ahead of us, one that returns to the organic principles in harmony with nature and the other one, hyper-technological and dehumanized. Our decisions, our actions and our commitments count and make a big difference, second by second.
- The fallingfruit.org 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 plukplek.be 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, biobees.be opens its doors for the picking of the rest of their organic strawberries.
- picking up fruits between June and September in Anderlecht (Belgium) at Fruit-time.be: 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.
- Picking up fruits by Plukhof in belgian Flanders, between Antwerpen and Leuven.
- exchanging seeds and plants between individuals on online platforms such as, for the french speaking community, semeur.fr or grainesdetroc.fr
- ordering seeds from trustable producers, such as Semaille.com (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”.