In Roeselare in Belgium, more specifically in the ‘Meiboomwijk’ (May tree neighbourhood), a project called Eco garden teams was launched. Neighbours join hands, with the aid of a professional, to garden in an eco-friendly way. Thus, the city council hopes to bring together its inhabitants.
The Meiboomwijk needs more green and social cohesion. This was the outcome of a questionnaire amongst its inhabitants. With the Eco garden teams the city, that initiated the project together with the province of West-Vlaanderen, hopes to catch two flies in one swat.
Front yards replaced by cars.
One Eco garden team comprises several neighbours. They get to know each other in an informal way and in the mean time train their green thumbs.
‘I have lived in Wilgenstraat (Willow road) all my life’, says Hilda Decancq, one of the participants. ‘When I was young there were front yards everywhere. These days they have all been replaced by cars. I have seen the neighbourhood change over the years.’
Turning the trend
The Eco garden teams need to turn the trend. Led by Karien Vandamme, a professional sent by the province, the neighbours gather. First they meet in a community hall and later in one of the gardens of the participants.
Right plant in the right spot
‘I show the group what is possible in the garden of one of its members,’ explains Vandamme. ‘Eco-friendly maintenance is the starting point, but there are no obligations. We try to use as little pesticides as possible. This is perfectly possible by choosing the right plants for the right spots.’