What future do 60 livestock farmers have among 2 million city dwellers? The open peat meadow landscape of Midden-Delfland is appreciated and used by people from Rotterdam, Delft, Vlaardingen, Schiedam, Pijnacker and The Hague. Until now, the beautiful landscape was the main reason to keep urbanization at bay. The city is sometimes experienced as troublesome by the farmers, but also contains opportunities. Working on the future means farmers working on sustainability, responding to the challenges of the future, and working on their relationship with the city. It is about innovation and collaboration, because the city and the countryside need one another. By means of future-oriented agriculture, the countryside can remain relevant for the city.
The innovation network Midden IN Delfland (MIND) helps farmers develop their innovative, sustainable ideas with others and make them work. The MIND set-up is an initiative of the municipality of Midden-Delfland, IODS (Integral Development between Delft and Schiedam) and the Province of Zuid-Holland and is carried out by the municipality of Midden-Delfland, Wageningen Research, Imagro and Pantopicon.
The network is built on the basis of the following principles:
- Active experimenting
- Using the motivation and ideas in the area as a starting point
- Organizing meetings between city and country
- Working on broad sustainability and a diversity of landscape services
- Support people who want to take initiative
- Offer challenge and inspiration
- Develop a MINDset of innovation, learning and collaboration
- Sharing experiences
- Continuing to expand the network
Midden IN Delfland
The experiments form the heart of the innovation network Midden IN Delfland. They are set up by teams of farmers and city dwellers. Among others, they work on a nature-inclusive farm, a social Bokashi-chain, a new generation of young cattle, more farmer contact with the city (‘close to the farm’), an energy-neutral farm, a mobile dairy plant for processing into local products, and a gentleman farmer’s initiative. Where necessary, the teams are supported by the network and have access to knowledge.
MIND organizes various activities. There are innovation sessions to develop ideas, thematic sessions and excursions to offer inspiration, and an annual event to showcase the network’s results. Of course, all meetings are also meant to bring people together and to promote learning.
MIND is connected to other innovation networks for agriculture, including the South Holland Food families, the Commonland Peat farming project, Greenport Westland Oostland, and also the cities of Rotterdam, Delft and The Hague.
Wageningen Research provides the project management for MIND and contributes to the process design, monitoring, the supervision of a number of experiments and the input of knowledge.