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    Floriade Dialogues Summit summed up

    How do we build green and healthy food cities for all? This question brought people from all over the world together at the Floriade Dialogues Summit on March 28th in Almere. It was an inspirational day full of talks and discussions about the future of our cities.

    Deputy mayor of Almere Jan Hoek opened the conference highlighting Almere as the chosen location for the Floriade Expo of 2022. And not without reason; Almere was designed as a ‘green garden city’ and has since then evolved in a sustainable and circular city.

    People moving to cities has grown dramatically in the last decades. Currently 70% of the world population lives in urban areas. How do you feed a city and avoid a shortage of food? How do you preserve and manage green areas in a city? Worldwide examples of greener, healthier and more attractive cities were shared during this summit.

    Raj Patel (UK/India), professor and author of Stuffed and Starved, kicked off with a historic overview of seven things that have made our world what it is today: nature, money, work, care, food, energy, and lives. The rockstar of food and social justice explained how capitalism, sexism and racism contributed to our current food system.

    The second keynote speaker, journalist Charles C. Mann (USA), spoke about two ways of feeding cities in the future. The first is in a technological way, meaning an intense land use for a maximum of calories with minimal labour, also called the wizard’s way. The second way is more natural, by giving more attention to the natural ecosystems with networks of smaller-scale farmers: the way of the prophets. Which way will shape our future? That is yet to be decided.

    Following this, Adriaan Geuze (NL) gave the perspective of a landscape architect. He advocates engagement in food production and green cities, If we want to feed the city in a healthy and green way, we have to think about vital suburbs, a place where an exchange between farmers and citizens is possible.”

    The morning programme was concluded with ‘Taste of Flevoland’, where Nadia Zerouali gave a live cooking class tempting the audience with her view on the taste of Flevoland. She prepared whole roasted Flevoland onions, roasted on Flevoland soil. Representative of the province Jan-Nico Appelman shared his love for the landscape by screening a documentary made by Ahmet Polat. The participants of Flevo Campus Think Tank presented, after a few months of travelling through the food landscape of Flevoland, their manifesto in which they plead for more food from the short supply chain.

    During the lunch the visitors enjoyed the many flavours inspired by the representatives of all the different countries: Caribbean fruit & chocolate from Trinidad and Tobago and Tajarin with sage butter from Italy for example.

    In the afternoon it was time for the Talks of the Town, with green and healthy inspiration of eight speakers from eight different cities. They each shared a ten minute pitch of the food challenges their respective cities are facing. The cities covered were New York (Nevin Cohen), Harare (Chido Govera), Turin (Egidio Dansero), Detroit (Devita Davison), Amsterdam (Jaap Seidell), Seoul (Eunsook Moon), Trinidad & Tobago (Alpha Sennon) and Oosterwold (Jan Eelco Jansma). After the pitches visitors were invited to choose a city to engage in an in-depth session to learn about the local challenges and the search for green and healthy solutions.

    Arjan van Timmeren, professor of Environmental Technology & Design – Department of Urbanism at Technical University Delft and scientific director of Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, wrapped up the day with the vital question, “What can we learn from today and how can we start the change tomorrow?” Conversations, discussions, new insights and ideas that explore new innovative connections continued on long after the program ended. Plenty of inspiration to build on.

    We hope to see you next year on March 26, 2020!

    All photos in this article made by: Nichon Glerum