The demand for food is increasing worldwide. In order to meet this demand in a healthy and future-proof manner, some changes must be made in the production process and consumer behavior. To make this change happen, a collaboration has been set up by partners within Regio Foodvalley. The Regional Deal boosts research into innovative food supplies. The deal has three separate parts that together form a whole: the agricultural transition, increasing awareness about healthy food and knowledge development.
The first part focuses on stimulating new forms of agriculture. The main theme is the development of more sustainable production techniques, while considering viable business models for farmers. The use of new methods and production techniques can potentially reduce emissions of harmful substances, such as nitrogen and particulate matter. In addition, changes in land use contribute to a better soil structure and clean surface water. Reducing the environmental burden and improving soil structure and water quality help to increase biodiversity, clean air and healthy water. The pilot project “Boer aan het Roer”, in which farms are used to test innovations for future livestock farming, is a great example of this.
The second part of the deal focuses on encouraging residents to eat healthier. The participants in the deal want to entice people of all ages to eat healthy food. It is important to learn from an early age what healthy food is and how to get it. We also investigate what is needed to make healthy and sustainable choices easier, at home and at work. We will work on tailor-made nutritional and exercise guidance for children with cancer and adults with cardiovascular disease or colon cancer. For this we work together with hospitals in the region. For the elderly, it will be examined - among other things - whether animal protein can be replaced by vegetable protein without loss of muscle strength. The knowledge gained about healthy and sustainable food will be used in the education of healthcare professionals at secondary vocational education, higher vocational education and university education.
Innovation and knowledge sharing
The third part focuses on accelerating innovations and sharing knowledge. New products and technologies are needed to produce healthy and sustainable food. This is being developed by companies in collaboration with knowledge institutions and social organizations. Due to the social urgency, we help companies to speed up this process. We do this by investing in the required facilities, but also by investing in training people who will soon be able to produce new products. Finally, it is crucial that a social dialogue takes place about the importance of sustainable and healthy food. To achieve this, we invest in the World Food Center; a platform for national dialogue, education, participatory research and experience and as an international showcase for the Dutch food policy of the future. And a themed food attraction that will annually take 330,000 visitors on a personalized food adventure from 2023.
The Regional Deal Foodvalley is a multi-year collaboration between the government, the Foodvalley Region, Wageningen University & Research, Utrecht University, the province of Gelderland, the province of Utrecht, LTO Noord, VNO-NCW center and the Vallei en Veluwe Water Board. To implement this, the cooperation has been organized and ratified by a regional cooperation agreement, which means there is more than 73 million euros available to get started with the three components. Ir. Mariken Fellinger has been hired as regional deal manager to supervise the implementation of the deal in the coming years.