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Exploring Foodscapes in Amsterdam-East

January 20th, CITIES welcomed 36 students from Wageningen University on a neighborhood tour, exploring urban agriculture projects and urban foodscapes.

Hosted by the new Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metroplitan Solutions (AMS), sick we started the afternoon with a brief introductory lecture at AMS covering Farming the City, health by Anke de Vrieze of the Old Amsterdam Food Tours. Moving from the lecture hall to the city streets, students were taken on a neighborhood tour, guided by Anke and CITIES’ Luca Brody, who completed her master’s research thesis on local community gardens.

Getting our bodies, minds and senses warmed up, the urban exploration commenced with a visit to the lively Dappermarket. Students were asked to take pictures and make notes. For instance, a fresh vegetable stall directly in front of a McDonalds caught the attention of many. Continuing, we walked through Javastraat, the vibrant shopping street of the Indische Buurt (Indonesian Neighborhood), currently experiencing a gentrification process notable by the many new coffee bars, delicatessen shops and bars recently opened alongside redeveloped social housing into private, pricier units increasingly being filled by millennials. In this area, we visited three community gardens run by a local organization called ‘Oost-Indisch Groen. Founded by a few passionate neighbors with green fingers, the organization develops community gardens in public space, in close collaboration with local government. Their main hub functions out of a location close to Flevopark, where workshops are organized regularly and a kitchen is available for communal activities.

Moving on, we passed the former location of the ‘Valreep’ squatter-run community garden, displaced to make space for new apartment blocks. The squatter’s silent protest is still visible on the roof of the building, reading ‘Your participation is right here’. The slogan refers to the current Dutch policy of the ‘participatory society’, which calls on citizens to actively participate in society.

Concluding the tour, we visited the community garden of Afrikanerplein, portraying a highly successful example of urban transformation through community gardening; once an underutilized and unattractive piece of public space, the square now hosts a well-managed garden welcoming over 50 active neighbors.

Are you also interested in taking your students/colleagues on a tailor-made tour of urban agriculture projects in Amsterdam? Please write to anke@farmingthecity.net to inquire about the possibilities.

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Posted on 26 January 2015 and filed under Projects

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