Integrated research on sustainable agriculture that incorporates realistic acknowledgement of the impediments to the success of this process are seldom voiced in more that banal terms such as “market economy” “farmers markets” etc – going beyond green activists and urban hippies day dreams proves more than challenging; Her is one response reported by Damian Holmes of World Landscape Architecture
How can rural dynamics be employed to adequately cope with the global challenges that we are currently facing and how can these challenges once again turn rural areas into a system that works? The Veenkoloniën (Groningen peat district) is a rural area in the North of the Netherlands that is facing a number of major economic, social and ecological challenges. As an agricultural area, the region is part of a global system. Consequently, its challenges are not caused by internal factors, but by the global food system and this system’s impact on the area, i.e. the social, economic and ecological environment that it creates.
The new agricultural model requires a new production system: an intelligent seven-year crop and livestock rotation that integrates temporary nature areas. Processing is divided into a cooperative network of local, regional and national processing hubs: a choice is always made between transport costs and the benefits of scale. This results in development opportunities at all levels of scale and renewed social significance for the food industry. The infrastructure network is adapted to facilitate these new development opportunities and to ensure that the production area can once again be accessed and experienced by both consumers and producers alike.