Who are the Knights of Astrée?
The Knights of Astrée, is a collective project, open to all of us, for the benefit of all, nature, insects, animals and humans.
It is a community adventure, bringing together around the same goal, the same values, and the same coat of arms, the defenders of insects foraging and lovers of nature. It is open to all those who wish to put a little of themselves in the protection of our biodiversity, accompanying the creation of a small corner of paradise, in the heart of the French countryside.
To join us in the adventure of the Knights of Astrée is to participate in a daring project and make a citizen gesture not only for the planet, but also for oneself.
Where to find the domain of the Knights of Astrée?
Fontsémont, La Roche-Posay, Vienna 86
- 1.7 hectares of ancient vines
- backed by a forest
- presence of a dry pond during the acquisition
- within a perimeter to protect drinking water catchments: limiting pesticides
The edible forest is located at the Place de Fontsémont in La Roche Posay. You may know this name from the famous cosmetic brand.
La Roche Posay is a charming city in Vienna that welcomes more than 8,000 curists and their families each year. A city with velvet water, people have come a long way to treat many skin diseases for centuries!
Vienna is also the land of Futuroscope, Angles on the Anglin and its sorcerer’s rock, the Pinail Nature Reserve in Vouneuil on Vienna, Montmorillon the city of writing, and much more.
Discover its gentle hills and shimmering valleys.
What is an edible forest?
Like a natural forest, an edible forest is composed of a wide variety of plants ranging from mushrooms to trees. As an adult, this nursery brings fruit, is able to live without watering, feeds itself and creates a micro climate. This forest garden is divided into “plots” called guilds.
It is composed of honey and nectariferous species. The flowering takes long months and allows to attract the foraging insects, develop pollination, repel pests and unwanted plants. She’s self-fertile.
What is a Guild?
The forest garden is divided into “plots” called guilds.
It is a delimited companion plant space that contains 3 or more layers of plants (ground covers, bushes, trees) that help each other. This set of flowers grow together and help each other. Composed of a major plant surrounded by its allies, there is a tree, a vine, shrubs and herbaceous plants.
Here is an example of a guild on the domain of the Knights of the Astrée.
- Moroccan mint (6): low herbaceous, blooms in August and September
- our lady’s coat (7): ground cover plant, blooms in July and August, very honey-bearing.
- Jerusalem artichoke (8): rhizome, produces fruit from October to December
- Blueberries (3): shrub, produces fruit in August and September.
- Red red bushes (4): shrub, fruit product in June/July
- Argousier (5): shrub, produces fruit in September and October.
- Kaki (1): canopy, produces fruit in November and December
- Wild bean (2): a climbing plant installed on the khaki, blooms from July to September, produces fruit and tubers.
The origin of the Project
The idea for this project was born in the Highlands, Scotland, where the legacy of the Lairds deserves to be protected. By representing the Reforestation Initiative ofHighland Titles in France, we met people who awakened our chivalrous soul. It was time to act! In France too, nature needs defenders. Thus were born the Knights of Astrée.
Foraging insects are endangered all over the world. Pesticides are not their only enemy, the lack of biodiversity limits their habitat and restricts their food sources. Imagine eating fast food every day: you won’t die, but you’re getting weaker.
An edible forest, a place of refuge and a source of food, is now our quest.
Our journey began: the search for a suitable ground for the project, a specialist in the design of edible forests, nurseries and gardeners… As well as a short tour in Mouscron, Belgium,to confirm our decision.
After many detours, everything came to us from the Good Corner : the forest would be born in La Roche Posay.
In addition, the acquisition of a traditional orchard near Aigurandes would allow the first knights to be picked until the edible forest matures.
Then came a new help of fate: the meeting with Walter, ofAtmosvert,
who was returning from Devon in England, after a visit to one of the pioneers of this nourishing system, Martin Crawford.
Walter agreed to design the first plans for the Domain of the Knights of Astrée.
The coat of arms of the Knights of Astrée
We gather behind a coat of arms inspired by a family crest.
Here’s no interpretation:
Threeroses, symbol of the gift of love and regeneration: one for nature, one for animals, one for humans. The red color, called ‘mouth color’ is the attribute of knights.
A drop to represent the velvet water of the Roche Posay.
The gold background represents the richness of diversity and the strength of a community.
Why the Knights of Astrée? In everyone’s mind, a knight is a respectful being, ready to fight for a cause he finds right. Audacity, hospitality, nobility: timeless qualities for the knights of yesterday and today.
Do you know the legend of Astrée?
Astrée is the goddess of justice. It represents the cycle of nature. In some legends she is the daughter of Themis and Jupiter, in others she is the daughter of Astraeus and Aurora. In the past, immortals lived on Earth among humans. After being introduced to the secrets of nature, Astrée passed on her knowledge to men through the ages. Peace and harmony reigned on Earth.
Unfortunately, the greed of men again provoked wars. Astrée fled into the heavens and became the constellation of the Virgin. She left a promise: to return once peace returned.
Astrée is also the heroine of Honoré d’Urfé’s river novel, The Astraa.
Knights of the Astraa: His beginnings
Purchase of the land in Fontsémont,
La Roche Posay
Planting the 400 square meters of the first guilds according to Walter’s schemes
Curage of the old dry pond
Planting a hundred trees on the whole site
Planting a hedge of bay shrubs with the aim of organising ‘harvest and confection’ meetings in the near future!
The Knights of The Astra: A Multiple Mission
"Working with nature, not against it"
With the support of many specialists, and with your help, we can act boldly, effectively, and sustainably.
monoculture insects that harm their health.
Create, at the heart of our French countryside, many spaces of biodiversity, to maintain sustainable ecosystems, with the minimum of human intervention.
Densify, diversify, and strive towards a system of abundance where all, plants, animals, humans, we support each other and sustainably
Develop educational materials to conduct awareness campaigns, in schools and with local actors.
Nature thanks you
By offering the members of the project, and sponsors of the nascent forest, a consideration.