Local initiative turns Brussels into ‘edible city’

By Diana Giambona

Brussels, Jun 20 (EFE).- Apple, pear, and cherry trees are some of the crops being grown in a citizen garden in Brussels, as a local initiative prepares to transplant them later on to the streets and public areas of the Belgian capital and make it a green and “edible” city.

One of the project’s coordinators from the Urban Ecology Centre, Nina Vankerckhove, told Efe that the objective is to make a greener Brussels with fruit trees to serve the common good.

Every Tuesday, a group of volunteers comes to the gardens to care for the plants, trim them, and clean and work the soil.

This nonprofit project gathers roughly 30 people of all ages, from students to retired people, with groups of five coming in every week to learn gardening techniques and enjoy the open air activities.

“It’s a place where we want to learn and to share the knowledge,” said Vankerckhove, adding that some volunteers are experienced gardeners, whilst others had never held a rake before.

Marine, one of the volunteers, says she has been helping for six months and has learned to transplant trees.

“It gives a good feeling to contribute to something beyond ourselves,” she says. “It’s not something selfish, it is really to make things better.”

Once the trees are carried to the streets, they will become a shared community good for the neighbourhood and pedestrians will be free to take the fruit.

The initiative, they said, will also contribute to the conservation of fruit varieties, and will support biodiversity, serving birds and pollinating insects as well. EFE

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