Rotterdam as one of the main ports of the world, has a crucial role in the transportation of food. Much food is imported and exported through Rotterdam. Interestingly, Rotterdam also shows many examples of local food production, new producer-consumer relationships, developing of regional brands, peri-urban farming delivering services to the city (landscape, leisure, care farming, nature-oriented farming) and new arrangements. Peri-urban Midden Delfland is a Cittaslow participant. Close to Rotterdam, the extensive greenhouse horticultural area of Westland is located. Much food is being produced here and there is a well-developed infrastructure in the form of auctions and cooperation of producers. Currently, most food is produced for the world market, but there are initiatives for making the chains more efficient and delivering more food to the regional markets, being located in a highly urbanised area.
Rotterdam City Region (1,2 million inhabitants), a cluster of cities in itself, is in turn part of Randstad conurbation. Together with bordering The Hague Region (1 million inhabitants, Rotterdam Region holds most of the population of the South Wing of Randstad (3.2 million inhabitants).
In this case study, we look beyond the borders of Rotterdam City Region (a government tier that is a cooperation body of municipalities) in order to include functional relationships with for instance Midden Delfland (peri-urban meadow area that is part of The Hague Region) and Westland (also part of The Hague Region). Therefore we will refer to the case study as Metropolitan Region and we will cooperate with Rotterdam City Region, South Wing platform and South Holland Province.
Although Randstad as a whole has a growing population, Rotterdam region is facing a slight population decline. In the meantime, much space is becoming available in the city centre because of harbour expansion into the sea (Tweede Maasvlakte). These old harbour areas are to be redeveloped and urban farming is among the propositions.
In the past, strong spatial planning created a sharp delineation of cities, giving a rural feel to the peri-urban areas and keeping agricultural land prices in check to some extent. However, the government has been very active in establishing leisure and natural areas in the peri –urban. Around Rotterdam, this has led to both cooperation with farmers (Midden-Delfland) and conflict (Albrandswaard).
SMEs involved in this case study will work on urban agriculture in the old harbour areas and in developing a brand for the dairy products of peri-urban Midden Delfland.
Contact: Jeroen Kruit (jeroen.kruit (at) wur.nl)