Back to School: Beatrijs joins the Youth Food Movement Academy

Foto: Mirte Ruesen Youth Food Movement

Four years ago I graduated on a toy for pigs in the intensive framing industry. Starting this project I was completely blank to the subject. The only pig I ever met was the one of the petting zoo. And so my adventure began. In a short timespan I was introduced to the world of the intensive farming of pigs. To the smell, the sound, the image, the farmers, the criticism, the veterinarians, scientist and last but not least: the pigs! Designing, testing, evaluating and redesigning for pigs became my daily practice. 

At the same time I was overwhelmed by the complexity of our food system and the lack of communication between the different stakeholders of the food chain. The distance between the farmers, the scientists and the consumers was inconceivably big. Since then my fascination for for our food system, and the huge challenges it is facing, started to grow. 

Since this year I am honoured to be part of the Youth Food Movement Academy, an initiative of the Youth Food Movement. This is an intensive 6 months program for a selection of 25 young professionals - all involved in the food system - from farmers and fishermen to producers, retailers and bankers. 

During these six months, we follow an interactive program which takes us on a journey through the food landscape of the Netherlands. Together we listen, we observe and we taste but most importantly we discuss topics such as: 

• How to feed the 9 billion people in 2050? 

• How can hunger and food waste exist in the same world? 

• Is biological food production sustainable? 

• How can we make consumers more aware of what they eat? 

• What are the effects of GMO’s on the environment and nature?

• What does the future of farming look like? 

The holistic approach of the Academy may not be new to the designer way of thinking, but is new to other professionals in the food domain. I believe and have experienced myself that designers can be of great importance to facilitate the dialogue and to translate the needs, concerns and beliefs of all stakeholders into new valuable products and services. Valuable because they fit the needs and interests of tomorrows food consumers!

If I would have to single out one single domain that will have to change drastically in the coming years, I would put forward the domain of food and agriculture: The current system is totally out of balance and we are facing huge challenges. My ultimate goal is nothing less than contributing to a world in which all people can access and enjoy food, food that is good for people, good for those who grow and produce it and not destroying our planet.

Check out my future posts on my adventures and visit the Youth Food Movement Academy

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