The community of practice which works on improving the regional food systems

About the Food Council MRA

Food is like an elephant in your room, so huge that you no longer notice it. Only when you can observe this elephant from all sides you will realize that it touches upon almost all the important issues in society: health, income, jobs, migration, environment, resources and much more.

Food is a crucial element of our daily lives. Even though food security in the Netherlands is relatively good, and the food system delivers safe food in an efficient way due to the effort of many people at various stages of the food chain. Still, many more jobs can be created to improve the quality of the food streams in the region.

Innovations in these systems come at a high price, especially for consumers. However food and food systems play a key role within the sustainability agenda. Unfortunately, food is rarely considered as a bases for a more sustainable society. Food systems are complex and cross borders of silos, disciplines and tiers of goverment. The food council needs to follow food flows through the entire food system and therefore is comprehensive by nature.

Flows of Food is the kick-off event introducing a food network in the Metropolitan Region of Amsterdam. It invites all parties involved in the regional food system to unite, create new partnerships and foster existing networks.

It addresses pivotal issues such as:

Circular economy

Innovation in smart logistics

Development and export of new technology

Improving health

Landscape design

Six issues, that shall be touched upon, which can be seen as windows of opportunity are:

Creation of new jobs in the food industry

Saving on the costs on healthcare

Improving green areas around the city

Recovering resources from waste

Saving water and energy

Using knowledge and skills of new actors

The food council aims to accelerate transition towards a sustainable society and change the ways we perceive food. The city of Amsterdam is awash of innovative initiatives, networks, ambitions and creativity. By linking this potential to the region, new opportunities can be created. Best food practices initiated by food councils in the UK, Canada, the USA and Germany show proof of the potential of comprehensive food driven strategies.
It's a strategy starting from internal power, creativity and the inherent joy of growing, processing, tasting and cooking food. The food council focuses on opportunities instead of problems.

Connecting the city with its region is a necessary condition to a more sustainable and healthier food system, a food shed or terroir. Currently, most people live and consume in cities, which is why there is a trend of reintroducing food production, processing and even agriculture to cities. Think: using abandoned buildings and plots for urban gardening and edible landscapes in the form of green roofs and green infrastructure.

Scientific studies show that in the near future city regions may be 50% self-sufficient in terms of food supply. One consequence of this is that there is less transportation of food required, which has mitigating effects on climate change.