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Our Hybrid Business team’s visit to The Netherlands – July 2023

Our Hybrid Business team’s visit to The Netherlands – July 2023

FixOurFood’s hybrid business team made a significant contribution to the recent 5th SCORAI and 21st ERSCP Conference, hosted by Wageningen University in the Netherlands in early July of this year. Under the leadership of Ulrike Ehgartner, the team ran a session that explored urban food system transformation in the UK, featuring presentations from various Transforming UK Food Systems (TUKFS) researchers presenting insights from different projects and Universities.

The session focused on innovative approaches to sustainable food systems, with each speaker providing unique contributions:

  • Ben Fletcher, a FixOurFood PhD researcher, discussed tackling challenges in the out-of-home urban food environment through an entrepreneurial ecosystems approach, using the case of Bradford, UK as an example.
  • Alana Kluczkovski, who runs FixOurFood’s vertical farm in York’s Spark, highlighted small-scale food system innovation as a potential driver of regenerative urban development.
  • Steffen Hirth, a TUKFS researcher on the H3 programme from the University of Leeds, and Ulrike Ehgartner, who explores Hybrid Businesses on FixOurFood, shared insights into foraged and ‘semi-wild’ food from urban green infrastructure as a means to develop sustainable and resilient food systems.
  • Kate Burningham and Anastasia Loukianov, TUKFS researchers from the University of Surrey, delved into social enterprise and local community understandings of healthy and sustainable food.

In addition to this session, Ulrike Ehgartner also shared learning from one of FixOurFood’s workshop methods concerning business model innovation for food system transformation within a session focused on  “Sustainable Businesses in the Food Sector”.

This conference emphasized the pressing need to bridge the gap between research and practical action to advance sustainable food systems, with FixOurFood contributing valuable ideas and tangible solutions.

Visit to Wouter van Eck’s Food Forest

After the SCORAI conference Ulrike Ehgartner and Ben Fletcher had the opportunity to visit Wouter van Eck, a dedicated advocate for sustainable agriculture and food systems transformation, who showed us around his food forest. During their visit, Wouter kindly provided them with a culinary tour through his impressive food forest, Voedselbos Ketelbroek.

Wouter van Eck’s work delves deep into our connection with food and nature. His food forest represents a shift in agriculture, incorporating permaculture principles, biodiversity preservation, and sustainable food production. Wouter’s approach demonstrates the intricate balance between ecology and agriculture, highlighting how a harmonious relationship with nature can lead to more resilient and regenerative food systems.

Ulrike and Ben returned from their visit to Wouter’s food forest with renewed inspiration. They witnessed firsthand the potential for transforming our food systems into more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive models. As they continue our journey with the FixOurFood Hybrid Economy project, they carry the enthusiasm and insights gained from this encounter with Wouter van Eck’s visionary work.

Below are some  photographs of some meals created by Wouter van Eck with ingredients from the food forest: