Tag Archives: ecology and biodiversity

about mushrooms

Today’s professional mushroom growing is an energy-consuming process. But it is perfectly possible to grow your Oyster mushrooms, your Shiitake’s or lesser known edible mushrooms in an energy-friendly and ecological environment. This can be done with a minimum of work, time and space. Okno is inviting mycologist Ann Van Belle to introduce you into the world of mushrooms with a practical demonstration followed by a lecture and Q&T-moment.

Professionele champignonteelt is vandaag de een energieverslindende activiteit. Nochtans is het perfect mogelijk om oesterzwammen, shiitake’s en andere eetbare zwammen op een duurzame manier te kweken. De oogst is dan wel bepaald door metereologische elementen. Voor eigen gebruik hoeft dit echter geen belemmering te zijn en je kan jezelf gedurende een groot gedeelte van het jaar regelmatig van verse paddenstoelen voorzien. Aan de hand van een demo en lecture vertelt mycologiste Ann Van Belle hoe je dit met een minimum van tijd en ruimte kan klaarspelen, zelfs in de stad.

jardins en fête – bibliothèque Pechère

40 tuinen te bezoeken op zondag 25 september 2011
Na het grote succes van de edities in 2008,2009 en 2010 en dankzij de steun van het Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest (Leefmilieu Brussel), beleeft het initiatief Tuinen in Feesttooi dit jaar haar vierde uitgave. Het grote publiek zal nog eens de gelegenheid krijgen om 40 privé- en semi-private tuinen te bezoeken, de ene nog origineler dan de andere, vol verrassingen!
Er zullen enkele tuinen bezocht kunnen worden die van Natagora het label “Natuur in de tuin” gekregen hebben.
De eigenaars van deze tuinen, de ontwerpers of voor het evenement opgeleide gidsen zullen het publiek uitnodigen om de charmes van deze “geheime tuinen” te ontdekken.

[flashvideo filename=http://opengreens.net/wp-content/plugins/flash-video-player/COG.xml width=448 height=252 displayheight=260 overstretch=false thumbsinplaylist=true /]
TV Brussel, Vandaag – 25 september 2011

experimentele tuin op een plat dak:
De hedendaagse experimenten van het internationale project TIK (Time Inventors’ Kabinet), in Brussel, gesteund door OKNO, zijn geestelijke verwant met de antieke tuinen, tuinen uit de renaissance- en barokperiode waar wetenschappen, kunsten en filosofie zich vermengen tot één enkele kunst. Men heeft het mis om een tuin alleen maar te zien als een charmant plekje met bloemetjes en vogeltjes …. Volgens Michel Le Bris, “moeten de twisten van tuinmannen worden gezien als metafysische twisten” (Le Paradis perdu. Parijs, Grasset, 1981). Op het plat dak van een saaie garage in het centrum van de stad vindt u een moestuin met kolen, een honingbosje, oude olijfbomen, bijenkorven, jonge vijgenbomen,… die gedijen in een vulkanisch substraat met het stadhuis van Brussel als achtergrond, alles goed georkestreerd door enthousiaste kunstenaars.

article in the magazine of the René Pechère foundation:
http://so-on.be/SO-ON/articles/pechere_OpenGreens.pdf

link to the online newsletter of the bibliothèque René Péchère: http://www.bvrp.net/Portals/0/Newsletters/RENDEZ-VOUS%20AU%20JARDIN%2018/HTML/

desert numerique 2011

Annemie Maes participates in the workshops, presentations and experiments of the festival Desert Numerique. She will present okno’s OpenGreens project. Desert Numerique is an artistic event gathering media artists, curators, producers, scientists, activists and publics around practices linking art, science and technologies; an invitation to bring digital arts in a unusual place, the village of Saint-Nazaire-le-Deesert (Drome, in France). It aims to transform the village into an electronical oasis, an effervescent laboratory.Desert Numerique combines a summer’s professional network meeting in the countryside and an exhibition made as an extension of the host village itself.
all info: http://desertnumerique.incident.net/2011/
http://www.youtube.com/user/bidouillelectronique#g/c/DEEE0B4657A267A7

wasteland soundwalk

A soundwalk in Thurn & Taxis + workshop: create your own OpenGreen and connect to the database.

In the morning Jonathan Prior guides us through the sounds of the city during a silent soundwalk on the wasteland of Thurn & Taxis. How does Brussels sound? Can sound create a space? These questions are asked and explained, while we listen to the ecological aspects of public spaces. During this guided tour Jonathan Prior lets us experience the public space in another way. Take your waterproof shoes and your camera to register the sounds as images.
In the afternoon Danielle Roberts and Annemie Maes introduce you to the OpenGreens database. With the image material of the silent soundwalk we ‘recreate’ the wasteland of Thurn & Taxis in the OpenGreens database in a collective way.

We gather at OKNO – Koolmijnenkaai 30/34 – 1080 Brussels at 9am.

international Seed Swap and exhibition on seeds

Through this seed swap we want to draw public attention to a practice that has become increasingly widespread throughout Europe over the past few years and that could be made illegal by the planned EU laws: http://www.seed-sovereignty.org/EN/

Tens of thousands of people throughout Europe are actively demanding that the right to produce seeds remains in the hands of small farmers and gardeners. A diversity of crops has nourished mankind for thousands of years. Seeds that we have inherited from past generations are the basis of life and are essential for food sovereignty.
The big seed trusts are determined to obtain worldwide control. This has been made clear by genetic engineering, patents on plants and animals, the introduction of seed reproduction fees… Add to that terminator technology that destroys the fertility of seeds and the prohibition of peasant varieties. We must prevent the very basis of our food supply from becoming a source of profit for multinational companies.

http://so-on.be/SO-ON/OpenGreen/articles/seed-swap-info.pdf

virtues1

VIRTUES OF A FOREST GARDEN

A forest garden is a garden modelled on a natural woodland. It has 3 layers of vegetation: trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. In an edible forest garden the tree layer contains fruit and nut trees, the shrub layer soft fruit and nut bushes, and the ground layer perennial vegetables and herbs. The soil is not dug and annual vegetables are not normally included unless they can reproduce by self-seeding.
It is usually a very diverse garden, containing a wide variety of edible plants.
Many gardens contain the same things as a forest garden, but usually each is grown separately, as orchard, soft fruit aerea, vegetable patch and herb bed.
What distinguishes a forest garden is that all are grown together on the same piece of ground, one above the other.
Gardens like this have long been cultivated in many tropical countries, and are still in places as far apart as Central America, Tanzania and the Indian state of Kerala.
There are no hard rules about what a forest garden should be. In fact, every one should be different, tailored to the needs of the individual gardeners and their family, and to the unique environment of each garden.

What is the difference between a forest garden and permaculture?
Permaculture is an approach to food growing -and many other aspects of life- which takes natural ecosystems as its model.
Both learn from natural ecosystems. In case of the forest garden it is much a direct copy: a forest gardens looks like a woodland.
In contrary, permaculture is not modelled on the outward forms of ecosystems, but on the underlying principle which makes them work: a web of beneficial relationships between the different plants and animals, and between them and the rocks, water, soil and climate of their habitiat.
Natural ecosystems can be very productive, and they don’t need all the inputs of fossil fuels and other materials that are needed to support our present-day agriculture, industry and infrastructure, nor they emit any pollution.
Permaculture seeks to create systems which have all the desiderable characteristics of natural ecosystems but which provide for human needs. The key to achieving this is to set up a network of beneficial relationships between the different elements we need in a garden, on a farm or in a whole community.

virtues1 virtues2
the permaculture garden of Gilbert Cardon (fraternité ouvrière, Mouscron)

Forest gardening and permaculture are not the same thing, but there is much that they have in common. Both are about putting components together in an harmonious whole, so both have a strong element of design, and both are firmly rooted in a sense of ecology.
Permaculture covers a much larger field than (only) gardening. It includes farming, forestry, town planning, financial and social structures and much more. A forest garden may be a component in a permaculture design, but it is also more than just a part of permaculture. It is a way of gardening, indeed the basis for a way of living, which arose quite indepentdently: it can be practised by anybody who has access to a little piece of land, and who has the desire to try something that is relatively new and yet as old as life itself.

Why should we grow a forest garden?
The most sustainable way to grow food is the way which is most like the natural vegetation of that area. Let’s list some global benefits of growing a forest garden. The greatest ecological problem we face is climate change caused by the greenhouse effect. Growing new trees is one way to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere by turning it back into living wood. There is no reason why many of these desperately needed new trees should not be fruit-trees, planted by the owners of town and suburban gardens – who, at the same time, would gain the bonus of growing nourishing fruit. The ecological benefits of trees do not stop at being a sink for unwanted greenhouse gasses. They also enable the soil to store more water and then to release it slowly, preventing both flood and drought. They protect soil from wind and water erosion.

How a forest garden works.
First the vegetable layer comes into leaf, then the soft fruit and finally the top fruit. By working in layers, the lifespan of the growing season is extended. The whole volume of the soil can be used, without the plants competing with one another for water and nutrients. A forest garden can make much better use of the available resources –both above and below the ground- than a single layer garden.
The three main products of a forest garden are fuits, nuts and leafy vegetables. Often the distinction between vegetables and herbs is not really made. Anything that is edible and green, cultivated or wild, is welcome in the forest garden. We go for diversity! Many of the plants which are suitable for a forest garden are either taken straight from the wild or have only been slightly modified by plant breeding. Wild plants are on an average much higher in protein, vitamins and minerals than conventional vegetables. Most of the produce of a forest garden (fruits, nuts, salads) can be eaten raw.

There is no digging involved in a forest garden. Soil is not an inert mineral substance. It is an intricate blend of mineral, air, water, organic matter and living organisms. Crumb structure is an important element in fertility. The micro-organisms in the soil are the powerhouse of soil fertility. A lot of essential chemical processes are going on in the soil all the time, processes carried out by bacteria, fungi, algae and other micro-organisms.
In a forest garden, mulch plays an important part in weed control. There are not so many weeds in a forest garden anyway, as digging is the main thing encouraging weed seeds to germinate, and also because any plant that is useful in one way or another is welcome in a polyculture. Many wild plants are edible, and deep rooted ones work at bringing mineral nutrients up from the subsoil. Compost is not digged in, but placed on the surface as a mulch.

The diversity of a forest garden helps to keep it free from serious levels of pest infestation, due to the rich mixture of species and varieties within each of the layers.
Where each kind of plant is mixed in among many other kinds it is much more difficult for pests and diseases to build up. In addition to the benefits of general diversity, there may also be specific interactions going on. Some plants provide food for insects which are predators on plant pests. The greater the diversity of plants and the more they are intermingled the healthier the garden.

Make your own backyard ecosystem. It’s about the fascination of being a witness and a participant in the growth and the development of an ecosystem. A forest garden has a longer cycle. As trees, shrubs and perennial vegetables all grow at different rates they all have different lifespans. They spread and shrink in response to age and different seasons. Completed by the wild plants and animals that move into or out the garden as conditions change, a kaleidoscope of changes is unfolding as each year unfolds.

A forest garden is foremost a home garden. But with its combination of tree fruit, bush fruit and vegetables on the same piece of land it provides in the needs of its gardeners. And more, with the yield of a forest garden we can make a direct connection between growers and consumers, as home gardening avoids the costs of packaging and transport and allows for the return of all nutrients in the food by means of composting directly to the soil that grew that food. It is indefinitely sustainable. It is the basis of any truly ecological way of living that where we do things is at least as important as how we do them.

A forest garden does not need a lot of work, but it does need attention. It needs someone to wander through it regularly to see how it is getting on, it needs someone to inhabit it. This can happen without effort if the garden is at the gardeners’ workplace or living place.

Text inspired by Patrick Whitefield (How to make a Forest Garden)

the bee monitoring workshop 3+4/2

A workshop in which we try to understand the distributed intelligence of social insects (here a bee colony) : their behaviour, ecology and sociobiology. By monitoring the bees and beehives with all kinds of sensors, we study the colony as a community. We will document this research with all kind of media (photo, film, audio, text, code) and we will use the extracted data to make artworks based upon the bees behaviour over time. We try to connect nature and technology in a new relationship of interconnections.

IMG_1037 IMG_1044 IMG_1053 3ddrawing bees2
IMG_1086 IMG_1087 IMG_1088 IMG_1103 Screenshot-6
IMG_1103 IMG_1108 IMG_1104 IMG_1120 IMG_1121
IMG_1131 IMG_1130 sensor_frame_v2.2 sensors_frame_updated Truncated_rhombic_dodecahedron2

To schedule our research and for purposes of documentation, we devide the work into 4 parts, which all will have their pages on the wiki where participants can add information:
1. The Theory + Reading List
2. The new BeeHives
3. The Data Harvesting (Technology)
4. The Artworks and Projects
You can find all info here:
http://timeinventorskabinet.org/wiki/doku.php/bee_monitoring_workshops

connected OpenGreens catalog v.1.0.

Everyday we set a different topic for discussion in our connected OpenGreens exchange corner, at Changing Tents during Burning Ice#4.

monday 17.01.11 – building the hexayurts
tuesday 18.01.11 – the economic value of the honeybee
wednesday 19.01.11 – compost – recycle day, spring cleaning
thursday 20.01.11 – the connected OpenGreens database
friday 21.01.11 – gift economy, the Kanal euro – complementary currency
saturday 22.01.11 – bee monitoring, enhanced beehives
sunday 23.01.11 – collaps

You can download the connected OpenGreens catalog (v.1.0):
http://so-on.be/SO-ON/OpenGreen/COG-catalog/v.1.0-smallspread.pdf
The catalog will function as a basis for discussions at the OpenGreens corner.