The world population grows possible from 6 to 9 billion people in 2050 and the global diet shifts from vegetable to animal products. This combination of population growth and dietary change challenges us to look to sustainable food systems.
It is a complex challenge that requires a food transition: a long term transition to sustainable production, processing and distribution and a more balanced, sustainable and healthy diet. In the National Sustainable Food (2009) the Ministry of EL & I has the ambition that the Dutch share in the global food system is sustainable within 15 years. The Ministery sees the Netherlands as a testing ground and as a catalyst, because the solution of global challenges offers market opportunities for the Dutch agri-food chain.
Cities play a crucial role in the sustainability of our food system. With the rollout of the cities more than two-thirds of the Dutch population lives in urban areas-are. Therefore liveability, space use, social cohesion and sustainability are high on the administrative agenda. A renewed link between the city and surrounding country (agriculture) can help to solve part of the above issues. Dutch cities are explicitly part of this proposed pilot project of food transition.
The goal of this project is to support the development of urban agriculture into a full social and economic activity:
- To connect and strengthen initiatives around urban agriculture
- To underpin and enhancing the potential of urban agriculture
- To broaden the knowledge for teaching, research, policy and entrepreneurs
The professionals in the cities are the key players that urban agriculture can help to anchor both administrative and physical . The knowledge and action agenda of the network is central to the project. This agenda is an important outcome but also a starting point for further activities such as research, advocacy, promotion. In addition, the project aims to contribute to inspiring and professionalize urban agriculture within and outside the network.