Canton Fribourg visits Foodvalley

Earlier this week we welcomed a delegation of the Fribourg State Council in Foodvalley as innovation heart of the agrifood sector in the Netherlands. Fribourg is a rural area and arable farming and livestock farming are important for the economy. The canton of Fribourg has developed a food strategy with many representatives from the agro food sector. The implementation of this strategy has been delegated to the existing Food & Nutrition Cluster.

The delegation was interested to see how innovation is organized and stimulated in the Netherlands Thanks to a lot of inspiring and enthusiastic professionals, we could not only present the current state of innovation in agrifood in the Netherlands: the delegation members could see, taste and experience the innovations themselves!

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The two day program contained several presentations, innovation tastings, workshops and an excursion. After a bird’s eye view introduction to the state of innovation in the agrifood sector in the Netherlands, the participants rolled up their sleeves. They developed their own recipe for a healthy snack inspired by Katja Gruijters’ story on the ‘Biggerbal’ (or ‘Dikkerbal’). In a crash course in fermentation processes from Christian Weij, they made their own fermented veggies.

Gerard van Deelen (municipality of Scherpenzeel / Regio Foodvalley), Mariken Fellinger (regio Foodvalley) and Jessica van Hees (municipality of Ede) gave insights in the interplay between the different regional stakeholders in innovation in the agro food sector. Elise de Jong (FoodvalleyNl) explained how Foodvalley operates to speed up the developments in Personalized Nutrition, and work towards the goal of Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice.

Liesbeth Luijendijk and Irina Sheftel showed how OnePlanet Research Center was established and has grown to what it is today: a renowned research institute focussing on creating breakthroughs in Precision Health, Nutrition & Behavior and Precision Agriculture, Food & Environment.

Finally, Jan Dirk van de Voort passionately shared his vision on natural cattle breeding and shared his experience in changing his family farm to from a regular efficient ‘tech centered’ dairy farm to the current natural dairy farm, and how this results in the famous Remeker Cheeses. Of course, the delegation gladly tasted the different products. Jan Dirk admitted that the changes he made on his farm were to a great extent based on traditional Swiss animal husbandry practices!

As different as the Netherlands and Switzerland might look on first sight, the similarities when it comes to agro food and related challenges was striking. It was a great pleasure to welcome this delegation at FoodX and we are looking forward to future collaborations.