It’s great that you want to participate in our activities in Aalst.
We are a volunteer association and everyone is welcome. Are you alone? You come with two. If you are less mobile, please let us know. There is always a solution. It is also useful for companies or other organizations to participate. Connecting with nature is beneficial for everyone.
But first a word of explanation about how we work. There are several groups you can join.
The advice of the wise, the tasty pelvis, the troubadours, the green fingers, lifelong learning or the core team. You can join as many groups as you want. Don’t look too narrow, because everything is connected to each other. Just as we are one with nature.
The city makes the location available and Bart Backaert of the Green Maintenance team is also on board.
But we take care of the place ourselves and in this way help build a bright future for the next generations.
Sustainability becomes fun
We put our planet first in everything we do. We have our mother earth on loan and must leave it behind better than we found it. That’s our goal. But we do that in a playful way because all those doom scenarios make a person paralyzed. It is unimaginable what you can already achieve on a small scale. Under the guise every little bit helps, we also contribute with our Smuljungle.
In everything we do, we ask ourselves whether Mother Earth will benefit from this. They call it systemic thinking. We use the SDGs cheat sheet and see which boxes we might still be able to tick if we do things differently. That sounds complicated, but it isn’t. It’s actually great fun. What is your MAMA Score today?
The council of the wise
This is where years of experience and expertise come in handy. Are you a specialist or connoisseur and do you already have some km on your counter. Maybe activities are not for you, but you can assist us with advice and assistance. Wise green fingers led by. Bart Backaert , among others, Willy Keymeulen , our mulberry specialist, Ruben Meert knows everything about old and new apple varieties and is always looking for fruit foundlings and Marc Geert of the Kruisberries Proeftuin would also like to share his knowledge. The orchard foundation came knocking, but there are certainly more… Do you know a lot about subsidies and financing? We have a seat at Ilvo’s Actionlab food forests and agroforestry . Do you want to help shape policy on food forests? Or do you find themes such as poverty, equal opportunities, sustainability, … important, then together with Sara Moens from Service Center De Toekomst you can monitor here that we keep our promises.
The tasty pelvis
The senses are extremely important if we want to reconnect with nature. So activating our taste buds is a great idea. Do you want to think about what kind of goodies you can make with food from the forest? You are looking for new or old recipes and you especially want to try them. Someone talked about fermenting. We might get our Weck Pot back out. Who knows… You inspire the ‘Green fingers’ so that we can choose the right plants and you think about harvesting for a year. Of course there are also stories involved. That’s for the ‘Troubadours’. You help water the thirsty, feed the hungry while we are at work. But if you have to, you also provide the necessary fun because when it comes to parties, you are the leaders. We are curious about what other ideas will come out of the bus? The water is already in our mouths.
Did you know that Saint Job was the patron saint of incurable diseases who was invoked against leprosy, syphilis, hemorrhoids, rashes, ulcers, scratches and bumps, melancholy … in short against all forms of misery and pain . He is also the patron of musicians and minstrels . So that’s all right. Because this is the group of storytellers, creatives, carnivalists, artists and musicians,… For example, Jan Louies is already on board and Netwerk Aalst is also present. But Sandy Claes and Rozan Van Klaveren of Luca School of aerts also conduct research into connectedness with nature. We dive back into history and team up with the City’s Heritage Cell to dive into our time machine. Looking for it it was and could be. But did you know that trees make noise and that Bert Baten makes music with them? Too many to mention. You can help us to shape all those fun stories from the past and present. You provide the fun factor, humor and entertainment. We make the wonderful stories that we collect tangible not only in our Smuljungle, but if possible we make noise so that everyone can hear it. Maybe even far out of town.
The green fingers
This is of course what everyone immediately thinks of when you talk about a food forest or gourmet jungle as we call it. We’re doing it a little differently than usual. Why? Many food forest projects fail because after a very successful planting day, the sauce does not take hold and a few people are left alone. That’s because not everyone got the chance to make it their own. We must first become a group to gain knowledge so that we can establish our common goals. Besides only if you have a real connection with nature, or rather our nature, will you actively take care of her. We have completely lost that connection. By the way, that has nothing to do with knowledge about nature or the number of kilometers you travel in the forest. We have to reactivate our senses by first learning to feel, look, taste, listen to what is already there.
We rediscover Aalst and allow ourselves to be amazed again. We visit other food forests and learn from the tips of others. If possible, we roll up our sleeves here and there, because people learn by doing. That has given us enough material to think about so that we can then design our Smuljungle in Aalst ourselves under the watchful eye of Bart Backaert and our green wise men.
We learn cuttings, propagation and all about seedlings. Because planting materials cost money. We make plant sharing, exchange, … accessible to everyone.
If you have your own garden, we can help you turn that garden into a delicious jungle. We dream aloud that sooner or later everyone in Aalst will have one. But maybe you have other dreams. We would like to hear it.
This team collects knowledge and research about nature connection. Together we further develop the educational offer. Who do we invite to our webinars and courses? We are working together with Roos Steemans of Co-Hogeschool Odisee on a toolkit for education. But we also dream aloud of a collaboration with Sandy Claes and Rozan Van Klaveren from Luca School of Arts , we think about research projects about how we can connect even better with nature. We collaborate with the Forest Therapy Hub on the healing powers of nature. From webinars with smart people to learning networks with other organizations such as Mos Vlaanderen. about how you build communities to create food forests, and how you take people along in that change. How we like to disrupt education to primary care for those who want to start a large food forest project themselves.
We look at which training and courses are still available. Collect all information about fairs and fun trips and share it in our network. Knowledge must be shared and is there for young and old. You are never too old to learn. Besides, no one has a monopoly on all the truth about nature.
The core team
That is what you could call the day-to-day management. We ensure that all activities are carried out safely. That everyone knows what happened, when and, above all, why. We take care of communication with the neighborhood and the City and are also the first SOS point of contact in that area. We keep the lines of communication open with our partners. Cooking costs money and being smart about budget is just as important. There is also a team that contributes to all volunteers and ensures that it remains fun for everyone. Because sometimes passion takes over and we lose people along the way. We also need to take care of those who may not have it so easy so that they can participate too. Mobile, less mobile, young or old… we think anything is allowed.