In december last year the city of Amsterdam presented its official document ‘Food and Amsterdam’. So it was about time to present an overview of the many food initiatives which are taking place in and around the city, during the Food Film Festival.
'The connection between city and the surrounding areas has historically always been very tight. But thanks to industrialisation that connection has been lost,' says Sietske Klooster during an energetic presentation in a almost completely filled Machinegebouw. Klooster is a designer and wants to reconnect modern city dwellers with their food. She hands out little cups of locally produced milk, coming directly from farms in surrounding towns like Weesp and Abcoude. Clearly, Klooster is a woman on a mission. 'Milk has lost its value. Most of the times a carton of milk in the supermarket is cheaper than a bottle of water!'
A lot of citykids these days have forgotten where their milk, and their food in general, actually comes from. Esther Baukema is a school teacher who tries to engage kids on elementary schools with their food. Milk isn’t produced in a factory and according to Baukema, simple things like salt quickly become less obvious when you realize where it is from. Her ideal is that food education becomes an integral part of the education system in Amsterdam again. By giving lessons on food she want to reconnect city kids with the food they eat every day. 'When you take food as a starting point for a lesson at school, you can send kids on a journey to explore the world. Because you more or less state how you’d like the world to be, by buying what you buy.'
Baukema is successful in what she does. After fighting this battle on her own for ten years, her educational idea is now being picked up by the municipality of Amsterdam. Since presenting its own food vision in december 2013, the city is increasingly focussing on the subject of food. That is not as weird as it sounds. Around 20.000 jobs in the city region are somehow connected to food. But that’s not all. Because the scale on which food is consumed in a city like Amsterdam inherently implies a lot responsibility, explains accordeonist Wim Sprenger, paraphrasing Bertold Brecht: 'Erst kommt das Fressen, dan die Moral. Let’s hope we can reverse that trend from now on.'