#01 Provide the youth with a healthy school lunch
Start young and make sure children know where their produce comes from.
The new trend. Roof top farms, all roof tops filled with vegetables. And the square meters that are left in the city can be used to plant food or flowers. “Nonsense”, says Rob Baan. “Urban farming paints a pretty picture, but is commercially unviable. A square meter in the city is a lot more expensive than what agriculture can provide. They tried it in the Hague, with a greenhouse on a rooftop. From that rooftop, you can see the best horticultural area in the world; the Westland. Madness. Now that the project has gone under, there are new opportunities. We can use it as an embassy for our sector. The part of the city where the building lies is the most unhealthy part of The Hague, perhaps even the country. I want to prepare school lunches there, help cure diabetes type 2 and combat overweight with healthy, fresh food. Horticulture can make the city healthier, I want to prove it there. It’s already happening in Venlo for example.
#02 Tailor fresh food to the individual
Choose healthy plant based food that fits your needs
“No person is the same. But we do all eat the exact same foods from the supermarket. That too has to change,” says Rob Baan. On the 9thof October 2018 he received 100 guests in his company’s futuristic kitchen. Earlier they had given samples of their DNA, and that evening they each got a dinner adjusted to their unique metabolisms. A chef specialized in nutrients prepared this “Vers+ dinner”. There are two important issues: Firstly, show that if people adjust their nutrition to their metabolism, there will be multiple health benefits. This goes for everyone, but can make an especially big difference to athletes or people with certain diseases. And besides, it’s just fun to see that you are lacking folic acid and that you can fix that with just a bit of extra broccoli. Second, pay more attention to the nutrients that vegetables really contain. There is a lot of extra value that we can add to fresh food, showing what fresh really means, that is ‘Vers+’ (Fresh+) We are world champions when it comes to the amount we can grow per square metre. Our next step should be to grow the healthiest, most sustainable and best tasting vegetables in the world.
#03 Go for the 80-20 principle
80% plant based food from local sources should be the standard
Actually it is a double 80-20 principle. Go for 80% plant based food with only 20% of your nutrition comes from animal products. But also: get 80% of your food from local sources, with only 20% coming from further away. Dutch Cuisine promotes this concept. How does this Dutch Cuisine fit into Baan’s plan to get the Dutch delta healthy in 5000 days? Easy. The Dutch kitchen has fallen out of fashion but has a lot of interesting recipes and ingredients, which can all be sourced locally. More than fifty restaurants support the Dutch Cuisine manifesto, which concerns itself with elevating food with seasonal ingredients, which is good for the earth, natural, honest, diverse, and which we buy, cook, and consume consciously. That entails 80% vegetables and 20% meat or fish. Dutch chefs such as Jonnie Boer, Niven Kunz, Albert Kooy, Bas Cloo, Jim de Jong, Jef Schuur and Leon Mazairac have embraced Dutch Cuisine.
#04 Food as medication
Bringing more knowledge about food to the medical world
Voeding Leeft (Food Lives) is a club of professionals in the healthcare and medical science sectors. Scientists, dieticians and doctors are developing programs. The idea: combating lifestyle-related diseases with a healthier lifestyle. One of the great successes is the diet with which diabetes type 2 can be cured. Medications that people are taking now merely suppress the disease. The Voeding Leeft Foundation, which Baan is director of, is a not-for-profit enterprise and provides education and information.
#05 Ensure those less fortunate also have access to fresh food
Distribute leftover food through food banks to the people who need it most
Baan: “Mart Valstra just does it out of pure charity and started this project with volunteers. It’s a simple idea that he once brought up in a meeting with a minister, A collection point for fresh vegetables and fruit for food bank packages. While the economy might be booming, there are around a million Dutch citizens living under the poverty line, and about 130.000 households are dependent on food banks every week. The food packages the food bank provides mostly contain processed factory food: too much sugar, saturated fats and too little fresh vegetables, fruit, fish, and fiber. Up until those eating from the food bank at less healthy than the rest of Netherlands. The new distribution center was opened in September by minister Carola Schouten.
#06 Healthy food in the cafetaria
Serve a plant based company lunch with little salt, sugar, and saturated fats
Rob Baan has been struggling with the tax authorities for a while now. “As an entrepreneur you’re going mad with all the regulation there is to ensure the health and safety of your employees. You’re allowed to give someone a bike to get to work, refund safety shoes, sand corners of tables to ensure nobody hurts himself, but the free healthy plant based lunch I offer my staff is taxed with 80% since they see it as extra income.” But Baan isn’t just fighting them about the money. “It’s about the principle and the health of my employees.” He believes that all company restaurants should follow his lead. You can expect employers to supply safe food to their employees.’
#07 Fight against the waste of healthy food
In a waste factory any non ‘perfect’ food can be utilized instead of thrown away
Every year we in the Netherlands throw away 5 billion euros worth of food. Often there isn’t even anything wrong with it. The Verspillingsfabriek (Waste Factory) wants to combat this. Initiator Hutten got hold of a ‘wasted’ factory building in Veghel, and had refrigeration and production spaces installed. The Verspillingsfabriek has the knowledge and expertise concerning food waste and has collected this in one place. Hutten also aims to share his knowledge with likeminded partners and initiatives to combat food waste on a global scale.
Horticulture needs to take place closer to the city
Rob Baan said the following in a blog: “In 2050, there will be 10 billion people, mostly living in the cities. The food challenge is a double one: we don’t eat properly and don’t produce sustainably. A city like Rotterdam needs around 2000ha of horticulture to fill everyone’s stomach. But that’s not even necessary since the average person in Rotterdam barely eats a 100gr of vegetables a day. What the citizens in Rotterdam do eat is 80.000ha worth of meat. That’s 4 IJsselmeerpolders.” His conclusion is strong and concise. “If we can make sure that the Netherlands doubles its vegetable intake, from our youngest to our oldest inhabitants, then our healthcare, our people, and the planet will flourish. Its healthy and sustainable, and by exporting this knowledge, we can solve the worldwide food challenge. The horticulture will regain its position and mission; supplying healthy food to the cities.”