“Eating is an agrarian act” said Bart Pijnenburg at a meeting last Thursday in Amersfoort. So we ate together with 50 people a meal based on regional products and lots of garlic from the farm Eemlook. The meeting was organized by Transition Town Amersfoort, the Eemlook and two consultancies Mensenland and Eemstad Lab.
“We” were all those interested in progressing new thinking about regional and urban food production and consumption. The Amersfoort food strategy; this was the topic. There is no such a thing yet, and the meeting was meant to inspire each other and the city government to undertake action.
There were lots of ideas; after a few brainstorm sessions at least 25 ideas were presented – in an elevator pitch situation. From community gardens to Meatless Monday, and mobile cooking units to dine in a field, the variety of ideas surprised many people. Maybe some of these ideas can be submitted to the “Sustainable Food” call of the Ministry of Agriculture it was concluded. Well then, be prepared for heavy competition.
At the launch of this grant-funding on the 9th of June at least a hundred people were present to explore their opportunities for submitting a project. This high interest is starkly contrasting the amount of funding available; half a million euro with individual project limits up to 75.000 euros. This funding is – according to the explanation that day – an experiment which may or may not be repeated. The piecemeal funding is underlying one of the three policy goals; to enable Dutch consumers to choose for sustainable food products. A bit meager I thought given the huge ambition to become ‘world leader in sustainable food production in 15 years’.