In the Dutch province of Gelderland, members of Cultivate! support a network of agroecological food producers. The network has established novel governance arrangements and practical collaborations that weave it together and link it with other societal actors (such as local governments and academics).
The producers work together on the creation of new markets and pick-up points, the exchange of tools, advocacy on access to land, knowledge and machinery, education, outreach and visibility and agroecological production methods. The network is connected to a growing base of active, engaged citizens organized around access to healthy, sustainable and affordable local food.
Collaboration allows small scale, agroecological food producers to strengthen both their production systems and their political and economic position through direct connections with citizens, in a societal environment that is strongly focused on anonymous, industrial food production and neoliberal markets in which farmers nor citizens have a voice.
This work is supported by the provincial government of Gelderland. In addition, national- level connections are very strong. StreekWaar is a focal point of the Dutch food sovereignty platform entitled ‘Voedsel Anders’ (which comprises of active citizens and producers across the country), and the national peasant organisation ‘Toekomstboeren’ (La Via Campesina Netherlands). This allows for continuous interaction with citizen and farmer groups, learning exchanges with initiatives in other regions and political advocacy work on land and food at the national and European levels.
To support this network, Cultivate! employs action-research and supports processes of facilitation, exchange and political advocacy, at regional, national and European levels. Our support aims to gain insight into and boost the further development of these novel territorial land and food governance arrangements.