Wageningen team awarded Top Visionary title for their vision for the Dutch Food System 2050

Published on
January 13, 2021

Wageningen researchers Imke de Boer, Evelien de Olde, Kawire Gosselink and their team have been selected as one of the top 10 “Visionaries" of the prestigious international Food System Vision Prize. Their team shared a holistic vision of a healthy and circular food system in the Netherlands in 2050, entitled ‘Re-rooting the Dutch Food System; from more to better’. The 10 winners will each be awarded $200,000 in recognition of their bold ideas for tackling some of the world’s most pressing food systems challenges.

The Food System Vision Prize was launched by the American Rockefeller Foundation, in partnership with SecondMuse and OpenIDEO. Over 1300 teams from around the world submitted their vision for a healthy and regenerative food system in a region of their choice for the year 2050.

Re-rooting the current Dutch food system

The vision of the team De Boer/De Olde/Gosselink includes re-rooting the current Dutch food system. A team of farmers, representatives from nature and agricultural organisations, and Wageningen scientists worked on this vision. According to the initiators, redesigning the food system is only possible if all actors in the food system contribute.

In the new system, healthy food is produced for everyone, with respect for our planet and all the people and animals that live here. For example, this means that, in 2050, arable farmers will grow several crops in strips, and that pigs and chickens will only eat biomass that is not suitable for human consumption. Plant-based and healthy foods are normal, easy and appealing. The Dutch will eat more local and plant-based products. Advertising soft drinks and other products with empty calories will be prohibited. Moreover, roofs will be green or have solar panels. Economic prosperity in 2050 will be measured on the basis of the National Societal Product instead of the Gross National Product.

“It’s possible to create food systems that nourish people and protect the environment,” said Roy Steiner, Senior Vice President, Food, The Rockefeller Foundation. “The Food System Vision Prize supports these diverse, game-changing solutions and hopes that they can inform an inclusive dialogue of how to transform the ways in which the world produces and consumes food at the upcoming United Nations’ Food Systems Summit.”   

Exploring the theme with stakeholders

In February this year, a series of events at Pakhuis de Zwijger will feature the vision. The themes will be explored in depth and with a wide range of stakeholders. De Boer: “I am happy to see the enthusiasm about the vision and I feel hopeful that we can take meaningful steps during this series.”

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United Nations' Food Systems Summit

Later this year, The United Nations’ Food Systems Summit will gather key players from the worlds of science, business, policy, healthcare and academia, as well as farmers, indigenous people, youth organizations, consumer groups, environmental activists, and other key stakeholders. Attendees will be focused on the same goal - to advance concrete actions and solutions that can bring about tangible, positive changes to the world’s food systems.

Top 10 Visionaries

The top 10 Visionaries were selected based on their potential to inspire real, positive and bold transformation within specific food systems. Collectively, the Visions include over 100 solutions capable of boosting resilience and future-proofing food systems to tomorrow’s shocks, which the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be essential.

"As we shift from reacting to the effects of COVID-19 to rebuilding a future that is built on self-reliance and resilience, these Visionaries are beacons of light and living models of a better tomorrow,” said Kristin Coates, Senior Director SecondMuse. Sara Farley, Managing Director, Food Initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation agrees, “Each of them shows us that through collaboration, design, and planning, we can be prepared for future shocks and we can thrive in the face of challenges. But more intrinsically, we can all be protagonists in our own future."

“Systems change work cannot be done by a few organizations working in silos. The Finalists represent efforts that have coalesced many voices and perspectives — a key ingredient for systems-level transformation,” says Matt Ridenour, Food Portfolio Lead at IDEO.

The full list of top Visionaries

Arakunomics:  Focusing on the regions of Araku, Wardha, and New Delhi, India, this Vision empowers tribal communities and seeks to ensure environmental sustainability, fair profits for farmers, and food and nutrition security for all.

Lima 2035: This Vision for Lima, Peru imagines a regenerative and nourishing food oasis by 2035, intending to secure climate-resilient running water for all in Lima's fragile desert environment, returning it the green Eden that it once was.

Re-rooting the Dutch food system - from more to better:  This Vision from the Netherlands outlines a transformed, circular Dutch food system that safeguards natural resources, promotes a healthier and more sustainable plant-based diet, and recycles unavoidable losses and wastes.

Kwayeskastasowin Wahkohtowin: This Vision from Canada’s Prairie Provinces aims to create a just and sustainable agrifood system while addressing the process of decolonization and reconciliation between Indigenous and settler populations.

7Gen Food System:  Led by the Sicangu Lakota people, this Vision for the Rosebud Indian Reservation of South Dakota, USA outlines a regenerative agricultural system that creates economic opportunities for tribal members; increases the accessibility of locally produced, nutrient-dense foods; and re-establishes the Lakota as primary stewards of the lands.

Food Innovation Nervecenter: This Vision from Lagos, Nigeria, identifies six key food challenges for the region, from food waste to aging farmers, and outlines a multi-faceted plan to build a more regenerative and nourishing food system to meet them.

Eat Right: This Vision from New Delhi, India, looks to create a national movement toward healthier diets through a systems-based approach of reducing food waste, improving hygiene and sanitation across the value chain, and increasing access to and affordability of healthy foods.

Restoring Nairobi to “A Place of Cool Waters”: This Vision for Nairobi, Kenya aims to develop a more equitable, just, and sustainable urban space, where access to nutritious food is a reality for everyone.

Stone Barns Center: This Vision from the Hudson Valley in New York, U.S. seeks to bring about a new food culture—rooted in the ecological, nutritional and communal potential of organic agriculture—through groundbreaking culinary experimentation.

From Mama’s Kitchen to Metropolitan Beijing: This Vision from Beijing, China imagines a plant-based dietary transformation for the world’s most populous nation, contributing to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.