Valerie Ponlot | La fille des saisons
PlaYOURope meets "La Fille des saisons" de Valérie Ponlot.
After hotel school in Namur, Valérie went on to work in Brussel’s kitchens. She then followed a 2-year internship at la Ferme urbaine, an urban farm in Brussels. She is one of the newest recruits and has only just started selling her first vegetables. A major part of the guidance, provided by BoerenBruxselpaysans, is realised through an agricultural test site. Graines de Paysans was launched in 2016 on land owned by the municipality of Anderlecht.
On this site starting projects can test their activity in a secure environment. Within 3 years they have access to a piece of land, infrastructure and tools adapted to their needs. The project owners also receive regular technical guidance, as well as punctual support on financial and commercial aspects, and on ways to find land for their project. Land prices are high and availability is low. As a result the test site privileges agricultural models for (very) small surfaces, in- spired by Jean-Martin Fortier (Québec), la Ferme du Bec Héllouin (normandie), Elliot Coleman and SPIn Farming (Canada). These biointensive microfarms make use of every square inch and maximize productivity. Methodology: Intensive manual labour, heavily leaning on a network of volunteers. Intense production, keeping the soil fertile through the addition of organic matter. The need for weeding is kept low by mulching the surface with plant-based materials or geotextiles. Sharing material resources among farmers / market gardeners. These microfarms are barely mechanised and as a result they require little initial investment.