Join us at Pakhuis de Zwijger to explore how a new model of public engagement can make values and priorities of civil society and the bottom-up food revolution better represented in Amsterdam's developing new Food Agenda.

As the city of Amsterdam is developing a new Food Agenda, CITIES’ food policy experts decided to engage in conversation with other representatives of the civil society to define a new model of public engagement. In the past months, together with Eetbar Amsterdam and Pakhuis de Zwijger, we have been thinking about a strategy to make clear the importance of including David Cameron’s big Society in Amsterdam’s public food agenda. After wondering whether our contribution would focus more on providing direct advice to the city council or defining which hot topics Amsterdam’s urban population would want to include, we opted for a third way, the most inclusive one.

Amsterdam Economic Board and other local public institutions base the development of public agendas and policies on what is known as triple helix. The triple helix is a model to bring together Corporate Businesses, Public Offices and Knowledge Institutions. Together those three “representatives of the innovative side of things” are considered to be able to define trajectories for future urban developments. But the question might be: where are the people?

When approaching such a popular issue, as food rightfully is, it is difficult to exclude the citizens from the picture. Thanks to the research and the work conducted within the framework of FARMING THE CITY, we realized that in Amsterdam (as in many other cities in the global north) there is a growing population of innovative, small-scale food experimentalists. The tacit knowledge developed in this emerging food field is, in our opinion, of immense value. As a consequence, in the case of developing a new food agenda, excluding the civil society from the development phase might result in having a non-updated, and especially non-inclusive Agenda about the future of food in Amsterdam. How to continue?

Without formal public support, but with an embarrassing informal commitment, we decided to take the model of the triple helix and include the civil society, or the representatives of the bottom-up food revolution. On December 11th, at Pakhuis de Zwijger, we will position public and research representatives, corporate representatives and civil society in front of each other answering this question:

“If you would be part of the Amsterdam Food Council, which values would you bring to the table? What would your priority be?”

Before the debate, Wayne Roberts will virtually explain what a food council is.

For the time being, save the date, soon there will be a page available on the website of Pakhuis de Zwijger with all the info you need to participate in the debate about the future of food in Amsterdam.

Created on 04 November 2013

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