White Paper Innovative Food Sector GroningenReframe Groningen took the initiative to write a position paper on Reframe and how to strenghthen the food perspective in economic, social and health policy.
Wide, waving fields of wheat, endless acres of potatoes, strong and stately farms, a lively trade and a powerful food industry: the character of Groningen is traditionally definedby our food. What we eat, where we work, what our environment looks like: for centuries, nutrition has played a decisive role in our lives and food has been the strength and the character of Groningen. Monumental buildings in the city and surrounding lands are a daily reminder of this.
Over the past few decades we seem to have lost much of the strength of food. At the start of the twenty-first century, it seems to be a negative factor at best. Although the productivity of agriculture in Groningen is large and the products are good and cheap, these qualities also have a downside that is becoming increasingly evident. On average, we have unhealthy diets and eat too much, we have not found enough alternatives for work in the agricultural sector, the countryside is emptying, and the diversity of the landscape is at risk of being lost due to upscaling of production.
Some of these developments are – although far advanced – not irreversible. An effective approach, fuelled by an integrated view on food and the economy, offers perspective on a new, positive contribution to nutrition and health, the economy, society and the landscape.
Connections for Responsibility
This way, we see a clear connection between seemingly unrelated problems. When these connections become visible, a perspective emerges to address these problems coherently. Realising the influence on – and responsibility for – food once more in the broadest sense of the word can contribute to greater innovation, to the development of new products and processes, to social sustainability, new and different forms of employment and cohesion, to environmental sustainability, maintaining the quality of the landscape and biodiversity, to individual well-being, and other nutrition makes a positive contribution to health.
The aim is to reverse several negative, related developments: the increasing dependence on the global food economy, limited or unilateral innovation in the food sector, the loss of regional employment, the growing pressure on the landscape and biodiversity, and the advancing, negative influence of harmful food to our health.
Based on the most current scientific insights, this white paper comes to an integrated view and translates this into concrete policy proposals and innovative tools.
Authors: Paul Buijs, Hein Braaksma
Contributors: Gert Noordhoff, Christine van der Vorm, Hiltje van der Wal, Bettina Bock