Green Lab Rotterdam excursion – inspiration for all

On 12th to 13th April RUW went on a city trip to Rotterdam with 26 WUR students. We visited a number of awesome urban agriculture initiatives, each one with its own objective and means of existence, ate at the heartwarming Hotspot Hutspot and got inspired by the enthusiasm and faith of our hosts. Thank you for having us!  – by Annika Meuche, Ilsa Phillips & Darja Tretjakova

Day 1: Rotterdam Municipality / Edible Rotterdam (Eetbaar Rotterdam) / DakAkker / Uit je Eigen Stad

After picking up our bicycles we were welcomed at the community centre het Nieuwe Banier for the presentations of Rachna Deenstra (Municipality of Rotterdam) and Paul de Graaf (Eetbaar Rotterdam).

Paul de Graaf giving a lecture on Rotterdam urban agriculture at the Nieuwe Banier
Paul de Graaf giving a lecture on Rotterdam urban agriculture at the Nieuwe Banier

Rotterdam is an interesting case when it comes to urban agriculture. The city has been almost completely destroyed during World War II, and successful recovery required active participation and positive attitude towards the future from the citizens. The city government is thus more involved with its citizens than any other city and is more prepared to take up a challenge or try something innovative when the citizens initiate something. In Rotterdam, many different citizens are engaged in urban agriculture activities, often using low-tech resources. The municipality tries to support these initiatives, not financially, but by giving them space and providing an overall sustainability framework (e.g. city works intensively on circular flows, recycling, biodiversity, climate adaptation). Besides the gardens and small vegetable farms, there are also several famer markets, mainly supported by the increasing interest of consumers in local food. The municipality links these to other areas such as health, education, quality of space, vital regional economy (need for new innovation) and support of regional food council. For example, schools are encouraged to go to the urban farm to teach the kids healthy food choices. The mission is to solve problems in the city first and by doing so contribute to solving of the global environmental problems. It is still difficult to make a living off urban agriculture, so most projects are run by volunteers.

Edible Rotterdam (Eetbaar Rotterdam) is an urban agriculture network that began in 2007 with an expert meeting with entrepreneurs, architects and researchers. The goal is to connect agriculture to the city and to close the food cycle, which is currently not the case. Paul de Graaf explained that there are different types of urban agriculture (e.g. forest gardens, rooftops, hydroponics and aquaponics) that could potentially contribute to urban food production, and each can be used according to the urban environment. There is, however, a lack of investment. It is hard to get private funds to invest in public space. Urban agriculture as a business model can be self-operating, as it is beneficial for health issue, city image and other social issues, but the small scale is often problematic to make the projects economically sustainable. Furthermore, more policies are needed; organizational change should be more directed to reach the benefits of all partners. Labelling the urban produce as organic is difficult, however due to the closeness to the customers it is generally not even needed. Read more

Excursion to GREEN LAB Rotterdam

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What: Excursion
When: 12-13th April
Where: Rotterdam

Discover innovative urban food projects by bike! In the context of the year theme “Urban greens, Rural blues”, RUW is going to Rotterdam. Rotterdam is an example case when it comes to urban agriculture and food production in the city.

How to set up a bee farm in the center of the 600.000-inhabitant city? How to market the products of urban farming and are they safe to eat? How can urban agriculture help solve climate change and social problems? Dont miss the chance to get the answers from the experts in the field!

Preliminary programme
This is the latest program for the trip, it is possible that other activities will be added.

Saturday
– Departure from Wageningen by bus in the early morning
– Introductory lecture from Rotterdam Municipality and Edible Rotterdam
– Visit to DakAkkers – green roof garden and bee keeping
– Lunch in the park
– Bicycle excursion through Rotterdam
– Dinner at Hotspot Hutspot – an organic restaurant run by people from the neighbourhood.

Sunday
– Breakfast
– Visit to RotterZwam – mushroom farm in an old swimming pool
– Lunch
– Visit to Uit je eigen stad – urban agriculture & restaurant  initiative
– Free late afternoon/ evening in Rotterdam. You travel back to Wageningen on your own accord.

Costs
The trip costs €33 per person. This includes: transport to Rotterdam, accommodation in a hostel for one night, all activities, bicycle rental and one dinner. This does not include the trip back to Wageningen, all other food and any personal expenses.

Subscription
There are limited places available. Please subscribe before 24th March by sending an email to ruw@wur.nl with your full name and telephone number. You will receive a confirmation shortly afterwards. Your subscription is only complete when we receive your payment.