The area should also be more sustainable in a broad sense, in terms of energy, biodiversity, water quality, and the relationship between city and country. “The future is not certain, people will have to achieve it themselves, but we can create the conditions whereby the area becomes future-proof in the longer term.”

Experience tour

The innovation network celebrates its first birthday on 21 June and will present its first results through an experience tour, among other things. The network may still be young, but Westerink already notes a culture change. “Farmers no longer stand with their backs to the city, but face it instead. They are more open to new ideas and the city, and we have seen the generation of enthusiasm and creativity. Farmers have also started seeking each other out. For example, there is more of a ‘we’ feeling between organic and non-organic farmers.

Many experiments are still in the start-up phase, partly because grant applications take a long time. But the fermentation of the first bokashi heap has been successful and the three farmers working on a mobile dairy plant have now found a cheese maker.

Your area

What does your future look and that of the rural area that you live in or near? What would make the area more attractive for you? How can you help innovate? What will the connection between the city and the countryside look like in ten years’ time? Where does your interest lie? With the farmer, our food, or landscape and nature?

Read and view more