Science - October 9, 2009

Food4you puts Wageningen in the spotlight - for a bargain

Sponsors are paying for the food festival. Critic says money would be better spent on teaching and research.

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Food4you started for the third time on 7 October. Wageningen UR is organizing this festival featuring food, diet and a healthy lifestyle together with the vocational education centre Rijn IJssel and a dozen businesses and other organizations. The high point is in the centre of Wageningen on Saturday 10 October, when the general public has free access to the festival. The focus will be on grains in all their different forms.
Bash
Viola Peulen, the head of Communications, explains that the Food4you budget, totalling nearly three hundred thousand euros, was provided by sponsors including the municipalities of Wageningen, Ede and Barneveld. Wageningen UR is providing the expertise. The sponsor money is being used to pay the staff costs for the project manager, says Peulen.
The project manager Sil Traas, associated with Wageningen UR's Communication Services, thinks the festival is definitely worth the effort and the budget of three hundred thousand euros. 'There are a couple of points in the year when you get the chance to show what we do at Wageningen and what we have achieved', she says. 'The Food4you festival puts the spotlight on Wageningen and is open to a diverse public. Our target group is from eight to eighty.' Traas says the festival aims to show a wide‑ranging group of people what is going on in Wageningen and the surrounding area when it comes to food and diet. 'A bash for consumers, but one where a lot of knowledge is presented in an accessible way so that people are able to make their own healthy choices.'
Laboured
However Fre Pepping, a researcher at Agrotechnology and Food Sciences General, is critical. 'I feel the festival focuses too much on food. It should be more about what Wageningen has to offer across the board', he thinks. Pepping also thinks the link with Food Valley is laboured. 'The money could have been much better spent on teaching and research.'
'Food4you is still developing', counters Traas. 'It is possible that the festival will become even broader in the future.' She continues: 'The region Wageningen is in, Food Valley, wants to make everything that goes on in the field of diet and health visible to a wider public. Food4you is the perfect platform for that.'  
 

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