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Feasibility study: Amsterdam Harvest City Farmers Market

September 10, 2012

On Sunday, two days after B and I arrived back from our honeymoon, we took the boat over the Amsterdam Noord to the Tolhuis Tuin. There a friend was having a birthday get together at the new city farmers market. It was a perfect day with sun and blue skies. More and more of these types of markets are popping up in the area, this was the first market of this kind put on by Farming the City. I had heard about Farming the City before and am pretty excited about their work. So I was happy to see them at this market as well.

During the celebration festivities I took a moment to go and speak with Anke from Farming the City to find out more about their work and discuss the idea of composting.

From our discussion I learned a few new things. First, they are starting a project around growing mushrooms from coffee, which sounds very cool and is something I would like to get involved in, especially if I can help turn it into a viable business / financially sustainable model. I hope to help out on that project.

Second, Anke made a great point about where the focus of urban sustainability is at the moment when it comes to food and also on what is missing. She made the point that many of the interesting and new projects right now are related to production, namely in urban agriculture. There is a lot happening around urban farming and producing food in urban areas. Anke pointed out there is much less developed and being developed around the distribution of said food and the removal of it. She gave the example that if you are a farmer, when asked how you get your produce to a market in the city the answer is that you probably truck it in yourself. So you have many small producers bringing their produce into cities in a very fragmented and non-sustainable way. The same goes for distribution to restaurants. Does a restaurant have the time or resources to source from multiple different producers who will distribute different things at different times? Especially when the other option is ordering everything and anything you need from one supplier, it poses a difficult challenge both for the restaurants who may want to find and source more local products and for the suppliers who need to figure out a way to tap those markets.

The overall point being that urban sustainability is a large issue and many pieces of the circle need to be addressed in order to make real and lasting progress. I happen to think that waste removal and waste as a resource is another major element of this circular puzzle.

That’s all for now. ~Chloe

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