Future Food Seminar: from challenge to design

October 29, 2015

Following up on our ‘Provocative Seminar on Food’ in May 2015, more than 100 participants from around the world with different backgrounds gathered to find solutions for the future of our food system in October at our ‘Future Food Seminar’.

The seminar was organised by Hivos and the Dutch foreign ministry in the context of Age of Wonderland, a social innovation programme jointly developed by Hivos, Baltan Laboratories and the Dutch Design Week. This programme is based on mutual knowledge exchanges between creative practitioners within Hivos’ global network and the creative high-tech community in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. So the Future Food Seminar likewise brought together a varied audience of international policy makers, designers, researchers, consumers, entrepreneurs, and CSOs.

Independent art curator Nat Muller kicked off by exploring the relationship between power and food, referring to (technological) food innovations during times of war.  Memories of favourite foods often keep people going during such times, so he asked, “What are the food memories that give you comfort?”

Marcel Beukeboom, head of nutrition and food security at the Dutch foreign ministry, invited the audience to think of solutions with him by asking, “What do you bring to the table for partnerships on food with the government?”

Koert van Mensvoort, ambassador of the Dutch Design Week 2015 and head of the Next Nature Lab of the Eindhoven University of Technology, showed his work on new ways of producing and consuming meat. Can we grow in vitro meat inside a petri dish? Koert invited the attendees to visit his in vitro Bistro and check out future meat recipes, asking, “What are your most important innovations in the food system?”

Mr Asaba Ruyonga, the Mayor of Fort Portal, Uganda, works with our Food Change Labs on policies and solutions for a resilient food system. This is part of the larger Food and Energy Change Labs partnership between Hivos and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). He invited the audience to think of ways to feed the low-income citizen in a sustainable way in his rapidly growing city.

Professor Gerard de Vries, former head of the WRR report project group “Towards a Food Policy” and advisory member of the WRR, closed the evening by highlighting the issues of health, sustainability, and the complexity of our food system and how new business models will be needed to make our food system resilient.

The Dutch foreign ministry will hold a two-day follow-up think tank in December 2015 with all the different perspectives provided by the audience and speakers.

Hivos would also like to congratulate Yoyo Yogasmana, one of the Age of Wonderland creatives, who was awarded with the first ‘ECO coin’ for his work on preserving 130 rice varieties in Indonesia without using pesticides. 

A video of the evening and press reports about the seminar are in the See Also links in the right sidebar.