Within the Roots&Shoots program, the JGI animates since 2012 nature workshops at the Foyer des jeunes in Molenbeek.
The aim is twofold :
– To make these young people aware of all the benefits of a vegetable garden for people, animals and the environment in town. we believe that the awareness of young people to challenges related to sustainable food, biodiversity conservation and improvement of the living environment is a priority.
– To sustain the project by developing the desire among young people and their educators in the Youth Foyer to become involved in the management of the vegetable garden.
It all started in the Sonian Forest
During the Tree Planting Event 2012 our big annual tree-planting event, the Jane Goodall Institute Belgium had the pleasure to invite a group of young people aged 5 to 16 from the Foyer des jeunes of Molenbeek.
Fascinated by the nearby omnipresent fauna and flora, the group members planted autographed trees and took part in a guided walk about biodiversity in the forest. Among them, many discovered for the first time the magesty of the « cathedral » beech forest inside the Sonian Forest.
We are convinced of the importance of encouraging young people’s contact with the soil and respect towards the nature it shelters. This logic naturally led us to bring this serene and natural atmosphere to Molenbeek by creating a vegetable garden with the young from the Foyer.
Two years of activity!
We recently completed the second season of cropping and workshops at the Youth Foyer in Molenbeek. A typical season consists in several workshops :
– Let’s create the plan of our vegetable garden !
– Let’s build a spiral with aromatic herbs !
– Let’s protect insects and birds !
– Let’s plant seeds for a healthy food !
Let’s create the plan of our vegetable garden !
First of all, young people of the Foyer created the plan of their future green space. With only a large white sheet of paper, coloured paper and stickers, a genuine plant paradise germinated in their imagination !
Let’s build a spiral with aromatic herbs !
A spiral for aromatic herbs has a specific shape that allows aromatic plants to grow.
Such plants as basil, sage, thyme, rosemary… are very interesting and can be used to perfume several dishes!
Aromatic plants are also very useful to feed pollinating insects.
Small mammals also enjoy the spiral and take refuge between the stones.
Let’s protect insects and birds !
This workshop reviews the value of birds and insects in town and aims at making young people understand the importance of protecting them ! A healthy city needs green spaces, and the plants present in these spaces most often need pollinating insects for their breeding. It is essential to foresee shelters for those insects, mostly in winter time. Birds are true indicators of the good health of nature in the city. Their absence means that nature isn’t doing well. Among the variety of birds, many of them eat insects. What a chance ! Without birds, insects would be too numerous and disrupt the biological balance of our vegetable garden. Placing bird feeders and houses will help them to feed and survive during the winter, when insects are no longer available and when it is very cold.
Let’s plant seeds for a healthy food!
Here is the star workshop ! It is so successful because it invites participants to use all their senses.
Sometimes reluctant at first, the young tames the soil by smelling and touching it. He will plant small seeds and keep an eye on it once it is sowed. The outdoor activity offers him the joy of hearing the noise of wind in the trees, and the sound of shovels digging the soil. Evenually the result of the harvest can be used to make a healthy and fresh food preparation that will delight everyone. The section « sustainable and healthy food » is borne by the culinary blogger Magda. Visit her blog Midnight Spoon and her delicious recipes
Jane Goodall visits the Foyer des jeunes of Molenbeek
On May 7, 2014, Jane Goodall came to visit the Youth Foyer in Molenbeek. She was delighted to discover the vegetable garden, wishing to offer a haven for urban biodiversity, promote sustainable food and make Molenbeek greener and more beautiful.
With the help of young people of the Foyer, Jane Goodall planted a cherry tree that perfectly complements the vegetable garden.
The visit ended with the inauguration of the first Belgian Roots&Shoots plate that proudly adorns the entrance of the foyer. This plate represents the involvement of the young people from the association to continue the project and contribute to a greener Molenbeek for everyone’s benefit.
A big thank to the volunteers: the project would not have been possible without Chris, Ingrid, Madeleine, Magda, Martine, Moutsy and Yumi
© Jane Goodall Institute Belgium
Thank you to all our volunteer photographers: Ilke Bee, Laurence and Moutsy