The Arnhem – Nijmegen City Region displayed its ambitions concerning food innovation during EWRC 2020

The European Week of Regions and Cities (EWRC) is a major yearly event in Brussels about regional policy. This year’s edition completely took place online, in October. Although there was no physical event, the ambitions of the Arnhem – Nijmegen City Region were not lessened in the slightest. Geert Ritsema of Bureau Brussel – the Brussels office of the Arnhem – Nijmegen City Region – told us before the event that the Farm to Fork strategy would be a priority. To that end, a video was produced, and an extensive programme drawn up.

Geert Ritsema

Geert Ritsema is one of the representatives of the Arnhem – Nijmegen City Region in Brussels.

“Last year was the first time that businesses were also involved with the EWRC, and this was a great success. Administrators and directors of public authorities and businesses know the importance of representing our region in Brussels”, Ritsema said.

“Networking is harder this year and it is all a lot less exuberant than in previous years, but we want to leave a powerful impression, albeit online.”

Sometimes I joke that Brussels looks to us for their agenda. Still, it’s true that the Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategy contain lots of elements that we have already been working on.

Strong proposition EWRC 2020

That powerful impression was made in collaboration with Think East Netherlands, a cooperation initiative with members such as the provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel, developmental agency Oost NL and a great number of trade organisations and knowledge institutions. That broad representation of the City Region focused on food and agriculture this year. “Even in this online incarnation, it’s a huge event with a great number of workshops, so it’s important to have something that makes you stand out. We believe that our region offers a strong proposition with regards to innovative agriculture and food.”

We believe that our region offers a strong proposition with regards to innovative agriculture and food.

During the EWRC 2020, the region organised three online workshops concerning food and agriculture. “The first is about creating a circular version of agriculture and food production, the second about digitising in agriculture, and the third is about the protein revolution that is moving us towards plant-based proteins. Furthermore, we pay attention to a quite different theme altogether: e-mobility, something our region is also at the forefront of.”

Visualising food innovations

In order to give a clear impression of our region’s strengths with regards to food and agriculture, a short film (which can be viewer at the top of this article) has been produced, which is being sent to specific members of the European Commission. “The video is about food innovations in our region. One of the initiatives that is covered, is Radboudumc’s FoodforCare, a beautifully relevant project. Healthy and tasty nutrition brings joy to patients and improves their recovery. It’s also wonderful to see what a swift and clear impact innovation can have. The video also discusses NEXTgarden, the horticultural development area in the municipality of Lingewaard. In Lingewaard, all sorts of innovations are being worked on that align well with the Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy of the European Commission, especially when it comes to energy neutrality, floating solar panels, and innovations surrounding the protein transition, among other things. This could actually be scaled up to a European level.”

Ritsema believes that our region is a true frontrunner in this area. “Sometimes I joke that Brussels looks to us for their agenda. Still, it’s true that the Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategy contain lots of elements that we have already been working on. There are some great opportunities for entrepreneurs and other organisations in our region in that regard. Funds are available for innovative projects, both directly from the region and through the national government. To be eligible, projects should aim for European collaboration. A leading role is not required per se; there are many foreign consortiums that are looking for partners for specific projects. We can support that process.”

Would you like to know more about Bureau Brussel and its activities? Please contact Geert or Arnout.

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