‘We are looking for people who are interested in the broad history of the food transition’

Nature and environment

EAT The Food Council was established to inspire the municipality and to connect parties when it comes to healthy and sustainable food. The Food Council consists of residents of Ede municipality with all sorts of different backgrounds. Hilda Weges is a process supervisor at the Food Council from Smaakstad Ede and also works for various sustainable projects where education, research, entrepreneurs and government work together.

“The establishment of the Food Council in Ede fits into a wider development where citizens organize themselves. Citizens’ councils and cooperatives are also emerging within themes such as energy and organic farming,” says Weges. “Citizens believe that change is going too slowly and that they have too little influence. Therefore, they now want to organize it themselves. Food councils can be seen popping up in various Dutch and foreign cities. In Ede, the Food Council is the link between the municipality and residents. We make the noise from the residents heard at the municipality.”

INDEPENDENT COUNCIL “As the Food Council, we provide impartial advice to the municipality on food policy. We want healthy, local and sustainable food to be available to everyone. Affordability is also very important. We don’t want healthy food to be available only to a small group of people and create a ‘food elite’.”

We want healthy, local and sustainable food to be available to everyone. Affordability is also very important

Over the past two years, the Edese Food Council has dealt with a number of themes, such as a healthy food environment for young and old people. Weges: ,,We also looked at the theme of protein conversion and urban agriculture. During the corona crisis, we have again seen how important health is. Biodiversity and climate are also becoming increasingly urgent. We also see more and more how important it is to produce locally and not be dependent on large foreign parties.”

TASTE CITY EDE “From Stichting Smaakstad Ede, I am a process supervisor at the Food Council,” says Weges. “As Smaakstad Ede, we have proposed that the Smaakstad Foundation should organize the Food Council independently of the municipality. A Food Council that operates from within the municipality naturally functions very differently from a council that is independently organized by the citizens themselves. The Food Council fits in well with Stichting Smaakstad’s other activities, such as the online community and FoodFloor, all these activities reinforce each other.”

FUTURE “In my view, the Food Council has great potential, especially in collaboration with Stichting Smaakstad. I envision a broad cooperative where education, research, entrepreneurs and residents work together. If you can involve enough parties, you can set up a whole program and take big steps. It would be a shame if the results achieved in the field of nutrition evaporate. Ede as Food City fits into the region, we have the infrastructure and healthy and sustainable food is a current theme. We really need to ensure that we can continue to support follow-up activities in the field of nutrition, also in the future.”

INFORMAL GROUP Hilda Weges herself has a broad educational background. She started as a teacher in primary school, later she worked as a pedagogical supervisor in both higher education and youth education. “I have also worked with green education for a long time. There I also came into contact with urban agriculture. I am currently working on various projects that all have to do with education, sustainability and greening our economy. I am a process supervisor at the Food and Beverage Council, but not chairman. The Food Council is an informal group, we have no formal structure, we work together as a group. What I really like is finding common ground and achieving something with all these different people, with different backgrounds and ambitions.”

Let’s talk together and try to come up with solutions and suggestions together

CONNECT “We would like to expand the Food Council. We are looking for people who are interested in the broad history of the food transition in the entire chain from plant to animal to human. People who want to think about ways to make the food system more sustainable, local and healthier. You can’t solve everything locally and the municipality can’t fix everything either. Here, too, the citizens themselves have a great responsibility. The Norwegian Food Council wants to bring together parties who can contribute to this. We will look at how the food system can be organized differently, and what and who is needed to organize such a change locally.”

Residents of Ede are wanted for the Food Council from various sectors, such as education, research, catering and retail. But also from community centres, youth work and healthcare. “Food is everywhere,” says Weges. ,,We are of course looking for a good mix of age, level of education, cultural background, and so on. I would also like it if people could use the Food Council or the Smagsbyfonden as a springboard to take their sustainable ideas forward. Let’s have a talk and try to come up with solutions and proposals together.”

More information about (participation in) the Food Council can be found at eatbaarede.nl/voedingsraad or contact info@hildaweges.nl

This article is brought to you by Eetbaar Ede. Food connects Ede; we meet, activities occur and stories are told. Spiselige Ede is the community for healthy, local and sustainable food in Ede municipality. For more information, visit EetbaarEde.nl, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter or Instagram.

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