Platform31 knowledge and network organization for city and region

And the empire, what can you do?

Ministry of LNV is in negotiations with national supermarket chains. They try to convince them to give regional food a place on their shelves. “We as a central government can try to push this process, but no more. European laws and regulations prevent us from favoring regional farmers and producers. After all, we are one European market,” regrets Nancy Meijers. in conversations with their local supermarkets.But it is still difficult to get food from the regional food chain on the shelves, although it is sometimes possible with some franchises.

Does your own catering already come from regional food chains?

“Yes, that’s what we started with,” both discussion partners respond. In addition, the municipalities are in dialogue with local restaurants, health institutions and schools. “If all (semi) public institutions undertake to buy from the regional food chain, it provides purchasing security. This security is necessary for farmers and producers to choose the short chain and for investments in sustainability in the longer term, ”explains Janneke Bruil. Farmers are currently experiencing a major risk. If they commit to sustainable production and sell regionally, they do not know if customers will come. Therefore, it is important that institutions in addition to consumers also commit to the regional short chain.

Regional food is often more expensive. As a City Deal, you want it to reach out to people on a smaller budget. How do you handle it?

The City Deal municipalities are in dialogue with the Salvation Army, churches and food banks to see how they can achieve cooperation with regional farmers. And in some cities, people get bypassed discounts on products from the regional short food chain. Wageningen municipality is in dialogue with the town halls to see if they can put more local food on the menu. “It would be nice if, for example, a local fruit cart is regularly available there,” says Janneke Bruil. “We also think it’s important to stimulate initiatives for the neighborhood’s kitchen gardens and urban agriculture so people can grow their own food.”

What obstacles / challenges do you encounter?

There is currently a lack of knowledge among municipalities and producers on how to set up regional short food chains. “As City Deal cities, we bring together successful experiences and existing research, for example on reaching the consumer,” says Janneke Bruil. However, if that knowledge is available, the right processing and storage facilities are not always available locally to process regional raw materials, such as cereals, for example for bread. There is another major obstacle, namely the increasing pressure on the available Dutch soil. “The Netherlands is small and there are many different spatial requirements in the countryside. Think of nature, housing, solar parks and the transition to sustainable agriculture. These space requirements make land prices high, which means that sustainable regional farmers can hardly take over existing farms,” ​​explains Nancy Meijers The leases are also short-lived at the moment, so farmers do not know how long they can use the land, which makes it unattractive for them to invest in, for example, the land.

What makes it difficult to reach the consumer?

“The short food chain often feels like the long bicycle chain for the consumer, while today’s consumer seeks convenience,” jokes Janneke Bruil. A solution to this logistical problem is necessary for success. Municipalities are trying to bring together regional products to make it easier for consumers. Examples of solutions are the realization of pop-up outlets in vacant retail properties, the establishment of stands in local markets, the involvement of residents in the establishment of collection points and dialogue with the supermarkets.

Leave a Comment