Food festival Food4you should focus on nature as well, says Tia Hermans, who manages the Nature, Landscape and Rural Environment domain. She is campaigning to stop nature being treated as a secondary issue within Wageningen UR.
Hermans says the Executive Board is continually lobbying hard for the agri-food sector but does not do the same for nature and green spaces. She has had that feeling for some time now. But it was the final straw when she read the Executive Board's reaction to the coalition agreement in the De Gelderlander newspaper. In it, spokesman Simon Vink regrets that the 'successful formula' in which food production is linked to green spaces is being undone. They will no longer both come under the same ministry. 'Crocodile tears', says Hermans. 'The Executive Board does not advertise that successful formula. They are always talking about food and agriculture as the sectors we are really good in but never nature.'
According to Hermans, that was also reflected in the letter the Executive Board sent (on 12 July) to the coalition negotiators. In it, the Board advocated a strong core ministry for agri-food. 'We are being pushed into a defensive position through such statements, whereas nature is actually the precondition for everything else. Without nature there is no health, no food and no favourable conditions that will attract businesses. I thought the Executive Board knew that, but that is not what they are saying.'
'I admit that I should take some of the blame myself', continues Hermans. 'It seems we are not getting the message across properly. So, from now on nature and food should always be mentioned in the same breath. I am going to contact Aalt Dijkhuizen to see how we can link the topic of green spaces to Food4you next year. Away with the one-sided approach. The green domain is meaningful and essential.'