FIRST FOOD MASH RECAP
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Farming the City teamed up with Metabolic and BiteMe to advance a common goal: a more resilient food system in Amsterdam. Recognizing fragmentation among actors, ambulance they co-created Food Mash – a series of events organized to offer effective knowledge transfer and networking to diverse actors. For more, site click here.
FOOD MASH KICKS OFF
Food Mash premiered on November 11th at the OpenCoop, see where participants enjoyed fresh local eats prepared by BiteMe as they settled in. Once everyone was seated, Chris from Metabolic introduced the agenda. This first Food Mash focused on: farmers, producers and growers, but also on making connections.
Organized in a casual ‘living room style,’ the floor was given to participants for a round of one-liner introductions, illuminating the wealth of knowledge and ambition within a packed-house. From biodynamic farmers to solo pizza-preneurs, chefs, restaurants owners, students, logistical workers, food policy councilors, environmental organizations and municipal workers, a diverse group shared interrelated interests and activities under shared goals. Raising issues from producing and utilizing new technologies to addressing scale and logistics, increasing awareness, and unwrapping current infrastructure to elevate a more locally-functioning type of ‘good food movement,’ the first Food Mash was set in motion.
HEARING FROM FARMERS, GROWERS AND PRODUCERS
First-hand insight into what farmers, producers and growers are actually doing generated greater awareness and opportunities. One farmer shared the experience of over 30 years of ‘honest’ farming, with dedication to natural and regenerative cycles. Starting with an emphasis on soil health, plants, animals and consumers then benefit from increased nutrients, while sustaining the fertility and health of the land for future generations.
Here we see a divide between industrial and local farms, between productivity and efficiency and quality and sustainability. While local farmers’ bottom line is maintaining quality and sustainable practices, in order to simultaneously boost output, farmers need greater resources and capital, which results from greater access to markets with a strong consumer base.
One challenge raised is revising cultural beliefs and practices around food. Media have been influential in shaping the current food culture and is influenced by big business. This leads to people expecting food to be on the shelves, cheap and relatively uniform in size, shape and color – despite the fact it is unhealthy for the environment, soil and consumption. What gets lost in communication is the real value of food. Prices are low because governments subsidize big agriculture. Local farmers don’t want government subsidies; they hope the real economic value of food, health and sustainability will become common knowledge of society.
Despite challenges, farmers don’t want to focus on problems, but on finding possibilities and actively sharing and working on them to influence a wider population. Through this process, further issues of logistics, scale and communication will be better equipped to find solutions.
Taking inspiration from the farmer’s stories, the group broke into four subgroups to further explore solutions and make connections before closing the evening with more drinks, snacks and conversation.
See you at the next Food Mash -Find out more here!