Shaping the food future of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region
How can we organize the food system in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region in a more sustainable and democratic way? This is the overarching theme of the activities of the Food Council Metropolitan Region Amsterdam. On Friday the 15th of March 2019 they invited Prof. Cristina Grasseni to give a presentation on her work on the networks of Solidarity Purchase Groups in northern Italy, known as Gruppi di Acquisto Solidale, and think along with members of the Food Council about possibilities for growing the solidarity economy in the Dutch context.
Food Council Amsterdam Metropolitan Region
Food Council Amsterdam Metropolitan Region was founded in 2017. Its aim is to contribute to the transformation of the regional food system: a more sustainable system that provides healthy food for all groups in society, the origin of which can be traced, without the exploitation of people and exhaustion of natural resources. They do this by connecting citizens, entrepreneurs, administrators and experts from various sectors and disciplines around the theme of food.
A Dutch solidarity purchase group?
Solidarity Purchase Groups (Gruppi di Acquisto Solidale) are alternative food procurement groups, in which a group of citizens organize themselves to buy food directly from small local producers, and distribute this food amongst their members.
The audience, consisting of members of the Food Council MRA and various other interested parties, were invited to think about possible applications of this type of collective food procurement organization in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region.
The interest in joining a Dutch version of a solidarity purchase group was high amongst the people that were present. However, the audience also pointed out various cultural and economic differences in the Dutch context and compared GAS with existing initiatives such as VOKOs (voedselcollectieven) in the Amsterdam region, some of which involve students from our own Institute!
Jeffrey Spangenberg, one of the co-founders of the Food Council MRA, proceeded with updates on the projects the Food Council is currently working on: ‘We Make the City’ and ‘Project De Nieuwe Markt’ (the New Market Project). For more information on the activities of the Food Council MRA, please consult their website: http://www.foodcouncilmra.nl/