„am gaertchen“ – a social and organic horticultural farm
The organic horticultural farm "am gaertchen", which was initiated by Forum pour l'emploi to accompany unemployed people on their way back to work realises this project with the help of the organic production of various flowers without pesticides and organic plants, as well as various types of vegetables. All participants are employed there for up to 2 years with a guaranteed minimum wage. In addition, the workers receive social support and are offered further training and language courses.
Regional and seasonal vegetables are grown and attempts are made to discover and fill market gaps. Why all this in organic quality? Because organic agriculture creates jobs and stands for education. The labour-intensive cultivation of vegetables fits perfectly with the main objective of the institution and, in addition, the employees learn how to grow healthy vegetables without chemical additives. Hence, the vegetable fields are not treated chemically and the weeds are plucked by hand. It is important to give meaning to the work and to provide the workers with a role in society.
2 locations with adapted production
The two locations allow the adaptation of the vegetable cultivation to local conditions. In Junglinster for example, outdoor vegetables are grown because of the sandy soil and customers can buy their vegetables directly on site. In Bastendorf, fine vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, courgettes, tomatoes and peppers are grown on an area of around 20 thousand sqm. Flowers are also cultivated here, as well as regional fruit such as apples, pears, plums, but also strawberries and raspberries. In 2017, the orchard was restored and one year later 800 fruit trees were planted.
The projects pays attention to the most suitable crop rotation, which helps to prepare the soil and reduces the risk of disease. The compost and organic manure supplied by the exploitation also help to improve soil fertility. In mutual assistance and trustful cooperation, the product range is also expanded. The production is regularly controlled and bears the label "Bio Lëtzebuerg", which goes beyond the guidelines of organic farming of the EU.
Sales and marketing
The fresh and seasonal organic vegetables and flowers are sold at market prices at the weekly markets in Diekirch, Ettelbruck and on the production sites in Junglinster and Bastendorf, in the farm shop in Diekirch as well as a through weekly delivery service via the subscription box. However, most of the products are marketed through the wholesaler BIOGROS and the retailers, including the Naturata shops.
Through contact with organic farmers and organic gardeners we have come to appreciate organic farming and have finally converted our business to organic. Today we are all convinced of organic! The production of organic food also fits very well with our social mission.