An update about the research

Friday, November 25, 2016 - Published by Alfred Kazemier
After a couple of exploratory meetings, the framework was finally set to give the ReFrame-research in Groningen the so-called green light! This green light was given at the start of Foodweek, which involved several educational institutions such as the Hanzehogeschool and AOC Terra. The official mapping research started in September and we will give a summary of its progress thus far.

The mapping research set up by the HanzeHogeschool, AOC Terra and area cooperative Westerkwartier has taken shape really fast in the last couple of weeks. At first, the research detected that in a radius of 42 kilometers surrounding the city of Groningen, there are over 5500 companies involved in food, which gives us a lot of possibilities! The researchers created an app in which it is possible to distinquish and select several themes regarding food processing and types of food. It also contains a list of questions for interviewing the stakeholders and a map which shows all the data. A lot of students are now doing the fieldwork by taking interviews at every food-related company in order to map out their function, to see if these companies are open to discussing themes concerning sustainability and climate and if they have a visualization of current food chains and are interested in getting involved in a local food chain. So, an elaborate research on the supply side is taking place!

 

But, the execution of the ReFrame-project is not only about getting a grip on the possibilities that the surrounding areas of the city have to offer; it also concerns the demand of the customers in Groningen. Which is why we set up several meetings with one of the biggest wholesale-companies in Groningen, HANOS. The goal is to set up a food hub in HANOS to explore the possibilities for a regional food system. HANOS is very willing to cooperate and function as an experimental living lab and offered to research the demands of its biggest customers. Are they interested in buying food from the region and what are the requirements considering price and quality? And which regional products are customers interested in? The food chain for some products are also being mapped out to see how the price for food products is determined. HANOS is also exploring the possibilities of setting up a food processing hub, which is an essential part of setting up a regional food chain as food often travels to foreign countries and back for the food processing aspect.

 

As both areas of research are advancing and taking shape, we will gather for a meeting in the new year to see if we can already find some possibilities in match-making the supply and demand in the region and taking the next step in setting up a regional food network. We know that there is still a long way to go and there will be some difficulties along the way, but we are taking the first important steps in setting up a regional food system!