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!
Buying at the farm
Some farms sell their products at the farm itself and we found a website for Flanders. On this website you can find the nearest farm to where you live: www.fermweb.be.
Launched in Belgium in 2009 to encourage employees' environmental awareness, ecocheques are now available for employers to share with their employees as extra benefits to increase ecological purchasing power and make environmentally conscientious purchases. Ecocheques are similar to repas/maaltijd or guest cheques and employers may opt to give employees up to 250 Euros per year in ecocheques. They are not considered wages and therefore are generally not subjected to taxes or social charge implications. No employee contribution to the ecocheque system is required either. The nominal value per ecocheque is not to exceed ten Euros though may be dispersed in greater values. They are valid for two years from their issue date.
This article was originally published in the February 2010 edition of the Sunbeams Newsletter.
Some 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 (Reason2.be 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.
Give something back
We, at reason2.be, 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 reason2.be ‘sustainable services’ are as follows.
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.