Here I am, in Belgium, more precisely in Brussels’ surroundings for my first stay in Vert d’Iris, a biologic cooperative working on vegetable, fruit, flowers gardening and composting.
The cooperative rent two lands where the gardens are and where I stayed as well. Eight persons are employed in Vert d’Iris, but this cooperative is as well 200 cooperators and many apprentices who are working and learning the techniques of biological agro-forestery system and biological gardening.
During those 10 days with them I could follow Frédéric Morand, my host entrepreneur, in his work and we had many exchanges on his experience and on the cooperative history and current evolution. During my stay he was also preparing the Generale Assembly where the past year activity will be presented and as well the financial projections will be discussed and presented to the cooperators. I could also experiment the work in the garden and share with the employees and apprentices their experience in the cooperative.
In the same time, I did my best to bring my skills and view on biodiversity conservation and forest management to Vert d’Iris and its activity. Amoung the panel of ideas and projets, Frédéric choose two of them. The first was to evaluate the benefit on biodiversity of the gardens cutivated in agro-forested system. The second was about a private forest land where Fédéric was intersted in sharing with the owner the possiblility to manage his land according to Vert d’Iris values. Until now, nothing was done in this forest since the poplar trees were planted almost 30 years ago. Then my goal was to think on those questions: what to do next the poplar harvesting, how it could be possible to integrate Vert d’Iris values on it, with which management axis? Then for my first stay, I started by reading what was already done on biodiversity evaluation on the gardens and I discussed with Frédéric and the owner about their wishes on those projects. Secondly, I went to the field for bat inventory in the gardens and the forest stand as a proxy of biodiversty. This was complemented by vegetation inventory. Finally, for my next stays I will make more analyses out of thoses data acquisitions.
This first stay was very interesting and rich by the diversty of aspects I could deal with. A new country, a new entreprise a little bit different of my own activity but very close in its values, a place to excerce my skills and get new views on entreprise driving. All of this gave me new clues to develop my own activity on new axes even if it’s a long term development and reflexion. I could see in reality what could be the main financial challenge in this field of work which is how to reach financial balance and make previsions on an activity as much dependent on Nature. In fact, Nature and business are opposit but need also to work together to give the chance to Vert d’Iris and its team to spred the idea of an agriculture respectful to environment and human being. In the same time, such aim can’t be acheived without many people, sharing the same values and passion. The strength of Vert d’Iris is really coming from being together for a commun goal.