Dutch Futurist: Scenarios for the future of urban farming
A few examples from the Netherlands: volunteer gardens with a restaurant, like Hutspot Hotspot in Rotterdam, urban farm companies like Uit je eigen stad, high tech indoor growing systems like Simbi City, or Plantlab.
By Freija Van Duijne
I am futurist, trend-watchter and strategist at the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the Netherlands. My background is in Human factors psychology. I did my Masters at Leiden University and I did a PhD in Delft University at the faculty of Industrial design engineering.
The Citizen grower
Lots of people who live in cities share the wish to be active in food production. Kitchen gardens are popular among young and old. The barren grounds and rooftops look tempting to these gardeners. People start to ask the city government if they could use these parcels for growing food. Some cities have pro-actively responded to this demand and made maps of available parcels and rooftops.
People use the food that they grow to sell on neighbourhood markets. Near a garden complex there is often a restaurant, where meals are served made from fresh neighbourhood produce. The unemployed start off as waiters and other personnel in the restaurant, making it easier for them to find a paid job later on. Schools and children are involved. They are physically active and learn about healthy food.
City councils are happy with this movement and develop additional education programs to help people learn about the nature of food. They also facilitate the growers’ movement in all sorts of ways, for instance by making it easier for businesses to donate or act as barter in a project. In this way the city, businesses and citizens connect through the growing of food.