Logo della Fondazione Giannino Bassetti


Innovation is the ability to achieve the improbable

Intestazione stampa


Temi in evidenza, a cura della Redazione

Home > Focus > Resources from Voedsel Anders

Resources from Voedsel Anders

by Jonathan Hankins [1], 22 June 2022

I recently attended the 2022 Voedsel Anders conference held at Wageningen University on 10 - 11 June. This particular University is a fitting place for such a gathering as it is home to Wageningen Food and Biobased Research institution [2], where 'with our clients and partners, we can create economical viable and sustainable solutions to contribute to supplying a rapidly growing world population with healthy, delicious, sustainably produced food and high quality materials, chemicals and fuels made from biomass'.

I attended the first day of the conference, focusing my attention on city and regional approaches and policies adopted related to food provisioning, reflecting one of the Bassetti Foundation's principle interests: the political nature of innovation and the roles of local and regional governance.

What is Voedsel Anders?

Voedsel Anders [3] is a Dutch 'network of farmers, fisherfolk, scientists, beekeepers, students, artists, academics, policy makers, journalists and other active citizens in the Netherlands and Belgium engaged in building healthy food systems'. The following passage is taken from the website:

While the current agrifood system is depleting the soil and biodiversity, causes major greenhouse gas emissions and squeezes farmers out of business, many local, national and international initiatives show that there is another way. Around the world, we can feed ourselves sustainably with good and healthy food that is produced regionally, with fair prices and dignified lives for farmers, fishermen and citizens, while respecting the environment and biodiversity. This is the system we promote.

Regular readers will know that this is not a new theme for the Bassetti Foundation. Long-time collaborator Cristina Grasseni [4] is an expert in the field of alternative food networks, and we have published together [5] on how alternative food networks can be seen as a grassroots form of Responsible Innovation that is poiesis-intensive rather than capital-intensive (adopting Piero Bassetti's definition of poiesis-intensive innovation).

City Deal: Food on the City Agenda

In 2015 the Dutch government presented its national food agenda for 'safe, healthy and sustainable food'. City governance were to take a central role, as they were to implement practices on a local level. In 2017 three ministries and 12 city areas (Amsterdam, Almere, Den Haag, Ede, Groningen, Leeuwarden, Den Bosch, Venlo, Helmond, Utrecht, Oss, Rotterdam and the province of Gelderland) started the Food in the City Agenda City Deal.

The cities agreed to work together on a national knowledge transfer scheme, invest in developing the national agenda and building integrated local management structures and to promote the Netherlands internationally as a world leader in integrated food management.

These developments were clustered into four themes: sustainable ecological and economic innovation, strengthening regional food systems and chains around cities, health and social inclusion awareness and management innovation.

The overarching goals were described at the conference as offering quality food in the cities, improving and broadening the range of goods available, facilitating political connections and working practices, raising awareness around healthy lifestyles, food affordability and strengthening the bond between the city and the countryside.

During workshop discussions, several issues were raised that may be of interest to Foundation readers including particular legal positions: cities cannot block arrivals as they are prevented in doing so by law. The case of the opening of a third MacDonalds restaurant in one of the cities was discussed, as the city government has no power to refuse permission for its opening other than to propose rules and legislation that would block such moves by default (for example limiting the sizes of new restaurants). The discussion did not however address issues that city planning can raise in terms of bias, such as those seen elsewhere (there is a political debate in Italy regarding the spread and saturation of Kebab shops for example that could be seen to raise inclusion issues).

The cities also work internationally and have particularly strong ties to Milan, as more and more city governors acknowledge the need for action. Find details of all the City Deals (in Dutch) here [7].

Further Reading

Cities Stepping up to the Plate, by Lara Vita Sibbing is based on a PhD carried out at the University of Wageningen which poses the question to what extent do local governments in the Netherlands succeed in bringing food policy into practice?
It is free to download here [8].

Wageningen University's Circular Agriculture Research

This online publication [9] (in Dutch) presents a movement from a Dutch national focus on food security, upscaling and efficiency in food production towards a future vision that is centered on seeing production as part of a greater ecological and social system involving minimizing input and waste while maximizing biodiversity. There are sections on (amongst others) technology use, soil, cultivation systems and farm/population relationship building.



Friesland Food Movement

The Friesevoedselbeweging [10] is an open network aimed at bringing a broad spectrum of parties together to build a sustainable, healthy and achievable food system that is circular, transparent and climate neutral and can produce 80% of the region's food needs. The movement brings together farmers and food producers, citizens, villages and urban areas, restaurants, canteens, education and research, civil society organizations and governance structures.

Krimpenerwaard Food Family

Voedselfamilie Krimpenerwaard [11] brings consumers, producers and civic society together to promote local, healthy, sustainable food, very much based on socializing. They host roundtables and a series of projects that are both educational as well as practical. The website profiles some of the producers as well as the projects and other local happenings.

Cycling for Food

Fietsen voor Mijn Eten [12] is a consumer platform and information source promoting cycling to local food outlets. The platform covers more than 20 regions, with a map available for each that guides the rider to local produce. All types of direct sale seem to be present, with routes suggested for leisure shopping trips.

Farmer in the Classroom

Boer in de Klas [13] organize lessons in primary schools given by working farmers. The lessons begin with an overview of the Dutch agricultural system before the farmer describes his or her particular sector and their own (and their family's) working practices. Sectors represented include goat and sheep farmers, milk and dairy producers, chicken breeders, greenhouse production, calving specialists and a host of others.

City Farming Netherlands

Stadslandbouw Nederland [14] has a city food platform as well as running regional living labs and education programs aimed at knowledge building and sharing and improving sociality in food choices. This is a large and well-structured website with links to the national CSA network, descriptions of a range of business models, innovations and social research projects.

Slow Food Choose Local
Slow Food Netherlands [15] has a Choose Local section on its website, aiming at supporting local producers and promoting local specialties. It contains an easy to use map with pins leading to websites, a webshop and blog.


Show/Hide links in this document

Links in this document:

  1. 1] /schedabiografica/Jonathan Hankins
  2. 2] https://www.wur.nl/en/Research-Results/Research-Institutes/food-biobased-research/Research-themes.htm
  3. 3] https://www.voedselanders.nl/towards-fair-and-sustainable-food-systems/
  4. 4] https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/staffmembers/cristina-grasseni#tab-1
  5. 5] https://glocalismjournal.org/collective-food-purchasing-networks-in-italy-as-a-case-study-of-responsible-innovation/
  6. 6] https://agendastad.nl/citydeal/voedsel/
  7. 7] https://agendastad.nl/
  8. 8] https://research.wur.nl/en/publications/cities-stepping-up-to-the-plate-how-local-governments-bring-food-
  9. 9] https://kringlooplandbouw.wur.nl/kringlooplandbouw/kringlooplandbouw/
  10. 10] https://friesevoedselbeweging.nl/
  11. 11] https://voedselfamiliekrimpenerwaard.nl/
  12. 12] https://fietsenvoormijneten.nl/
  13. 13] https://boerindeklas.nu/over-boer-in-de-klas/
  14. 14] https://stadslandbouwnederland.nl/
  15. 15] https://slowfood.nl/kieslokaal/
CC Creative Commons - some rights reserved.
Resources from Voedsel Anders
Articles by:  Jonathan Hankins
Search by:
Search video by:

- Mailing list Subscription - Cookies Policy - Privacy Policy -

RSS Feed  Valid XHTML  Diritti d'autore - Creative Commons Gruppo Fondazione Giannino Bassetti in Facebook Gruppo Fondazione Giannino Bassetti in Linkedin Segui la Fondazione Giannino Bassetti in twitter

p.i. 12520270153