The initiative was taken by the Veiling van Hoogstraten, one of Flanders' biggest horticultural auction houses. Because of the warm weather, the sector is battling an overproduction, which causes prices to drop. "We decided to cut down on the supply side", the auction house explained. "When there is an excess, we first supply organisations for the poor, but this year there are just too many vegetables."
The auction house clinched a deal with the owners of some Antwerp heathlands, dumping tons of perfectly good tomatoes and peppers. The land owners hope the veggies will make their grounds richer in minerals and help to battle the drought. The aim was to mix them with the soil, but as this hadn't happened immediately, the local Mayor had inspectors write a ticket.
As a single mum, I would have welcomed some free fresh vegetables
But meanwhile, indignation reigns among local residents. "As a single mum, I would have been happy with some fresh veggies", Marjan wrote on social media. Chris said: "Is this the way that our western society deals with a food surplus?" Brecht Mayor Luc Aerts said that what happened is beyond the municipality's authority.