Category: article

le journal du patrimoine on the virtues of the Urban ArtFarm

download here the pdf, article by Emmanuelle Dubuisson :
journal_patrimoine

honing ontleed

Dat honing de eigenschap heeft om bacteriën te doden, is al eeuwen lang bekend. De zoete stof wordt gesmeerd op wonden met als doel infecties tegen te gaan. Deze volkswijsheid klopt. ‘De antibacteriële werking van honing is al wel aangetoond’, stelt Kwakman, die op 1 juli hoopt te promoveren. ‘Waarom honing die eigenschap heeft, was niet helemaal duidelijk.’
Honing lijkt eigenlijk helemaal niet zo’n geweldig middel tegen bacteriën. Al die suikers, dat zou een eldorado moeten zijn voor de micro-organismen; voedsel volop. ‘Dat is niet zo’, zegt Kwakman. ‘De suikerconcentratie in honing is ongeveer tachtig procent, veel te veel voor bacteriën. Alle soorten leggen in onverdunde honing het loodje door stress.’
Maar honing doet meer. In matig verdunde honing wordt het enzym glucose oxidase actief, dat de suiker afbreekt. Daarbij ontstaat een beetje waterstofperoxide, net genoeg om sommige bacteriën te doden, maar zo weinig dat het geen negatieve effecten heeft. Tot zover was de medicinale werking van honing wel bekend.
Sommige onderzoekers speurden verder door een enzym (katalase) aan honing toe te voegen dat het waterstofperoxide meteen afbreekt. ‘Maar ook na de neutralisatie hebben sommige honingsoorten nog steeds een sterke werking’, zet Kwakman zijn belangrijkste onderzoeksvraag uiteen. Hoe komt dat?
meer: honing ontleed

timeless, hyeroglyph beekeeping: the hieroglyph sign for ‘bee’
In ancient Egypt, the bee was an insignia of kingship associated particularly with Lower Egypt, where there may even have been a Bee King in pre-dynastic times. After the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, this symbol was incorporated in the title usually preceding the throne name of pharaoh and expressing the unity of the two realms, He of the Sedge and of the Bee. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee_%28mythology%29

article : traveling through OpenGreens

A pertinent question in the OpenGreens research is: Can artists make translations between biology, entomology and technology?
Don’t expect a balanced answer to this issue. This topic is a source for a long debate, one that has to be conducted collaboratively among the larger group of Time Inventors. Our shared work can become a common investigation into time relations within biological and circumstantial ecologies, through the lens of aesthetics. A preliminary end point could be the process unveilings, talks and artworks at the TIK final presentation in May 2012.

Download the full article here: Traveling through OpenGreens.

More stories from the OpenGreens here : more stories from the OpenGreens

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.

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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/

SoftBorders – festival & exhibition in Sao Paulo

go to the ehibition website
download the exhibition catalogue: click here

A border, by definition, is simply a line separating two political or geographical fields. The word itself connotes political, economical, cultural, and psychological zones, along with conflicts and their conflicting positions. The same word also inhabits the act and the possibility of trespassing. Diverging thoroughly from this idea, this exhibition focuses on such projects and works that question the circumstances and limits of their territories of research, as well as the capacities and possibilities of the medium they choose to work with.

One of the main intentions of the “Soft Borders” exhibition is to duplicate the operation logic of the Upgrade Network in a gallery space, and to function as an “interface” to aggregate all possible means of perceiving and interpreting the word “border” by the Network. Yet, interface is a protocol that manages a border.
Although the exhibition displays different methodologies, technologies, motivations, and approaches, each and every work shapes, covers, and fills the volume of the gallery space in like attitude. It is the common language of the Network, which values equal distribution, sharing of information and production in tune with a similar mental and productive frequency. Parallel to this basis, the title “Soft Borders” also contains a strong indication of the word “software”, which operates on common languages (follows a code) shared and known by those who are correlated with it. In this respect, the expectation of this exhibition is to build new links and to explore new possibilities through and with the audience by sharing the common language of the Network.
(Basak Senova, curatorial statement)

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.

artisjok wild garden
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)

leefmilieu brussel : info fiche groendaken

Net als in andere agglomeraties ontbreekt het ook in heel wat Brusselse wijken aan tuinen. Diverse vormen van (milieu)hinder, zoals verontreiniging, stof, lawaai en overstromingen worden steeds groter. Groendaken dragen bij tot meer natuur in de stad en tot de oplossing van heel wat milieuproblemen.
Bijdragen tot een toename van de oppervlakte groen en van de biodiversiteit en zorgen voor een betere waterretentie door zowel platte als hellende daken te beplanten met langzaam groeiende gewassen of, nog beter, met ware tuintjes.

Meer info : download de info-fiche eco-bouwen van leefmilieu brussel

melissa : the origin of the word honey is feminin

Beekeeping goes back throughout history and was an art that was closely related to goddess worship in the ancient world. Bees are a matriarchal society, closely related to the feminine.

MELISSA – “bee” was the title given to Aphrodite’s high priestess at the honeycomb-shrine of Mount Eryx, where the Goddess’s fetish was a golden honeycomb. Pythagoreans perceived the hexagon as an expression of the spirit of Aphrodite whose sacred number was six. She worshipped bees as her sacred creatures because they understood how to create perfect hexagons in their honeycomb. In Her temple at Eryx, the priestesses were melissae, “bees” and the Goddess herself was entitled Melissa, the Queen Bee.
Seeking to understand nature’s secrets through geometry, the Pythagoreans meditated on the endless triangular lattice, all sixty-degree angles, that results from extending the sides of all hexagons in the honey comb diagram until their lines meet in the centers of adjacent hexagons. It seemed to them a revelation of the underlying symmetry of the cosmos.

The bee was usually looked upon as a symbol of the feminine potency of nature, because while creating a magical elixir, known for its preservation properties, they were also pollinating flowers, increasing plant fertility, and abundance.

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colony collapse disorder

Colony collapse disorder (CCD) or sometimes honey bee depopulation syndrome (HBDS) is a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or European honey bee colony abruptly disappear. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, the term colony collapse disorder was first applied to a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of Western honey bee colonies in North America in late 2006. Colony collapse is economically significant because many agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by bees. European beekeepers observed similar phenomena in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, and initial reports have also come in from Switzerland and Germany, albeit to a lesser degree while the Northern Ireland Assembly receives reports of a decline greater than 50%. Possible cases of CCD have also been reported in Taiwan since April 2007.
The cause or causes of the syndrome are not yet fully understood, although many authorities attribute the problem to biotic factors such as Varroa mites and insect diseases (i.e., pathogens including Nosema apis and Israel acute paralysis virus). Other proposed causes include environmental change-related stresses, malnutrition and pesticides (e.g. neonicotinoids such as imidacloprid), and migratory beekeeping. More speculative possibilities have included both cell phone radiation and genetically modified (GM) crops with pest control characteristics, though experts say no evidence exists for either assertion. It has also been suggested that it may be due to a combination of many factors and that no single factor is the cause.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colony_collapse_disorder

Politics of Change: the newspaper

download here: Politics of Change, the Newspaper