img 9190_300Tree Planting Event 2010 Update

The first annual sunbeams tree planting event took place in March 2010 and was a runaway success which exceeded everybody's expectations, with over 2,200 trees being planted in what has since become an annual event. In May 2012 we took a trip back to where it all began and we are happy to say that the spalings planted that day are doing well and, whilst not quite a forest yet, are growing strongly. Photos of the trees as they are now, and the event itself, can be seen in our online album.


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  • Biodiversity and Children
    Biodiversity and Children What could be more rewarding than spending some time with your children observing life in your garden (or even your balcony or park)? Whether it is planting some seeds and watching them grow into veggies, or watching butterflies visit a flower and roll out their long “straw” to drink nectar, if you just take the time, your garden will give your children a moment of internal quietness while they witness amazing buzzing activity. Before you start, try to make enough free time in order to enjoy nature’s activities with the family. With a bit of patience and flexibility, you can involve even small kids in the preparation phase and pick and choose your favourite activities: 1. Give your children their own little plot of land or their own plant container. Ownership is important here! No mum/dad or big sibling needs to interfere in the young child’s personal approach when it…
  • Nature’s Helping Hand
    Nature’s Helping Hand Summertime is here! Before you head off to your summer destination, you can plan ahead with some help from nature. Don’t let minor stings and aches spoil your travel fun! Put together a natural first aid kit so you are prepared for the unexpected. When traveling, it’s always easier to have things close by and avoid the emergency scramble to find things and/or communicate your needs in a foreign language.  All it takes is a few trips to an organic store and a pharmacy to take care of the essentials.  So what are some emergency essentials to keep on hand?  The Belgian Red Cross has a First Aid kit available for around 20 euros and contains all the basics including bandages, an emergency thermal wrap, etc.  In addition, here are some natural remedies (in alphabetical order) to get you started. Arnica – a tube in gel or cream form of…
  • Mobility with Kids
    Mobility with Kids I live less than 300 metres from a large grocery shopping complex.  Due to my lack of a driver's license, this proximity to the shops was of primary concern when we chose our house (right behind price!).  Yet shortly after moving in, I realised that my dream of popping up at the shops to do the weekly re-stocking of groceries had turned into a nightmare for one reason - the kids.  In my dream, I had never bothered to work out the seemingly impossible logistics of transporting three small children (at the time, all under 5), four large bags of shopping and my own, increasingly lagging morale, for 300 metres.  What had initially seemed a hop, skip and jump from the house was suddenly more daunting than a marathon.  Finally, after yet another epic excursion with me trying in vain to strap babies to my body, toddler in pushchair, bags of…
  • Forêt de Soignes Tree Planting Event - March 2012
    Forêt de Soignes Tree Planting Event - March 2012 We are happy to report that our tree planting in  the Forêt de Soignes / Zoniënwoud on 18 March was a complete success. More than 500 of you joined us and planted nearly 2,500 trees! Our heartfelt thanks to all you who came along or contributed. You can browse though some pictures of the event in our online album.
Welcome to Sunbeams
Monday, 27 June 2011 21:39

Organically Brussels

As a foreigner coming to Belgium, one of the first ‘checks’ I needed to make on my expat list was finding organic grocers and restaurants in Brussels. In my search, I discovered that Belgium has whole-heartedly embraced the au naturel food movement and has a well-established organic scene. Not only is Belgium one of the strictest European countries when it comes to monitoring the production of organic food, but it also has an abundance of delightful little restaurants and markets hidden all over its capital city, just waiting to serve you!

Published in Articles
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 14:26

Let Food be Thy Cleaner

Conventional household cleaning products often contain ingredients that are harmful to both the environment and health. Sure, there are eco-friendly alternatives that are safer to use, but did you know that you can use certain food items in your kitchen to clean the house? Not only are they cheap and safe, they work great too! If you have these three ingredients in your kitchen, you can easily and effectively clean your house without the need to use a lot of commercial cleaning products!

Published in Articles

Sweden is developing standards to help consumers make conscious choices about the impact of their decisions on global warming. Products with at least 25% greenhouse gas savings will be marked in each food category, starting with plant production, dairy and fish products. The label is a joint initiative by the Federation of Swedish Farmers, two food labelling organisations and various dairy and meat co-operatives. Read more..

Published in Positive news
Thursday, 29 April 2010 15:32

Eco-challenge: Get a Weekly Organic Basket

get access to a weekly organic fruit and vegetable basket in your neighborhood!

There are many reasons to do this:

  1. For your health: you will get a nice amount of fruit and vegetables every week, they are as fresh as they can be and they are organic and to say it with Michael Pollan's words: this is REAL food;
  2. For the environment: buying locally reduces your ecological footprint avoiding food miles (transport of your food) - even the fair trade ones come by boat which is less polluting than airplanes - it reduces packaging (no plastic involved);
  3. For your taste: nothing tastes as good as these fresh and organic treasures;
  4. For the wellbeing of traditional farmers versus the big food industry: both the local ones and the fair trade partners in developing countries;
  5. For biodiversity: some of the vegetables are almost forgotten and have become unavailable in our supermarkets, but taste lovely and are very nutritious.

Check out a selection of addresses, recipe books, season calendars and more in our article.

Published in Eco-challenges
Friday, 09 April 2010 20:46

Eco-challenge: Eat Less Meat

Monthly eco-challenge: Eat less meat!


The "eco-foodprint" of eating meat has been underestimated and here are just a few examples: 

  • Cattle are producing 18% of all green house gases.
  • 78% of all agricultural land is used for cattle (fodder and grazing).
  • More than 2/3 of all agricultural production in Europe is used for fodder.
  • To produce 1 kg of meat, you need 15.000 litres of water, while 1 kg of grain or potatoes only need 1.000 litres.
  • Water pollution, deforestation, energy use, air pollution, loss of biodiversity, more waste and antibiotics in our food are but a few other negative effects on the environment (see the FAO document “Livestock’s Long  Shadow” for more details).
  • The well-being of the animals has often been totally neglected, especially in big farming industries

What can you do?

  • Eat organic meat and meat from small-scale farming where the well-being of the animals has been taken into account.
  • Eat less meat and replace it with alternatives like fish (see our sustainable fish guides), beans, peas, lentils, tofu, seitan, cheese, eggs or other sources of proteine.
  • Alternate between different types of meat (the bigger the animal, the more it pollutes).
  • Take smaller portions of meat when you eat it and "beef up" your plate with veggies instead.
  • Try out all kinds of vegetarian dishes and be creative when you barbeque.
  • Join in with the Donderdag Veggie Dag ("Thursday Veggie Day", introduced in Ghent by the Ethical Vegetarian Alternative)
  • Or just go vegetarian!

If you want to know more on the impact of your diet on our planet, read Jane Goodall’s “Harvest for Hope. A Guide to Mindful Eating”. The book is also sold at Sunbeams events.

This article was originally published in the June 2009 edition of the Sunbeams newsletter.


Published in Eco-challenges

foodbasket by will merydithSome organic farmers prepare a selection of their vegetables and/or fruit in “baskets” on a weekly basis. The baskets comprise mainly locally grown vegetables and fruit, but sometimes (e.g. in winter time) the local ones are complemented by some bio (often fair trade) ones from abroad. The local ones are harvested and selected by the farmer each week. You don’t always know beforehand which vegetables or fruit you’ll get ( will send you an email two days in advance specifying what you'll get), but they’re always in harmony with the seasons and freshly picked – and they taste delicious!

There are various suppliers to choose from in Belgium, each with their own payment method (upfront or after delivery), ordering system (online, by phone, ad hoc, monthly or even via annual membership), and place of delivery (a pick-up place or delivery to your doorstep). We put everything you need to know to get started is in this article.

Published in Articles
Thursday, 25 February 2010 14:03

Spotlight on:

reason2be logo

Give something back

We, at, are always thinking about how we can operate the business more efficiently and ecologically. Our grocery home delivery service lends itself perfectly to collecting as well as delivering. So we have come up with several ways to utilize the deliveries for more than just food delivery. We collect items for recycling, reusing, disposing and trading. The ‘sustainable services’ we offer are a non-profit element of the business, and give our customers the chance to give something back. The ‘sustainable services’ are as follows.

Published in Articles
Wednesday, 24 March 2010 21:47

All About Fish

Sustainable Fish

If you've been wondering which fish you can still buy with good conscience, without depleting the ocean from endangered species and knowing that your fish was caught in a sustainable way without harming other sea animals, then this small step is for you. An excellent ressource is - that is, if you know what the fish is called in Dutch!

Published in Articles
Wednesday, 24 March 2010 20:58

Start a New Habit: Buy Seasonal Food

If you buy your fruit and vegetables from the supermarket or corner shop, it can be difficult to know which of them are in season right now. Season calendars give you an overview of the local seasons of the vegetables and fruit available here in Belgium. They are either in Dutch or French (or both of them), so you'll want to know how what you want to buy is called in Dutch or French (See, you'll increase your language skills along the way!)

You can download one of these season calendar and hang it up in your kitchen: Velt (PDF download) - Brussels Observatory for Sustainable Consumption (PDF download) or the one from Research and Information Center of the Consumer Organisations (PDF download).

Alternatively, you can order a handy hard copy for your handbag (or reusable shopping bag) at the Brussels Environment Institute.

For our list of Organic Food Shops and Markets click here.

Published in Small Steps

Photo by Anushruti RK on flickr!Have you thought about the difference in taste of a nice deep-red strawberry in its high season or a pale pink one in wintertime? But it is not only a problem of taste… Did you know that 1 kg of strawberries transported from Spain to Belgium causes 2,5 kg of CO2 emissions and that 80 tons of out-of-season strawberries are imported to Belgium each week? While local strawberries harvested in season produce only 0,2 kg CO2? Did you know that transport by airplane generates 177 times more greenhouse gases (GHG) than shipping does? And that a cooled truck is almost as bad as an airplane when it comes to GHG?

Published in Articles

gallery: tree planting 2012