Marjolein Brasz, Managing Director Foodvalley NL
“The Foodvalley ecosystem: shaping the future of food together”

Shaping the future of food together: building and strengthening the Foodvalley ecosystem so that, together, we can realize the transition to a sustainable global food system. That is Foodvalley NL’s mission. In this interview series, eight members of the Foodvalley NL team share their ideas, ambitions and latest milestones. Today: Managing Director Marjolein Brasz.

What is your dream for 2050?

“That, thirty years from now, our food system will provide food security for ten billion people worldwide. Tasty, affordable, healthy, sustainable food, produced with respect for animals and our planet.”

Foodvalley is on a mission to shape the future of food together. Why?

“Populations rising; urbanization; inefficient raw material use; shortages of water and arable land; the speed of climate change and the damaging triad of obesity, hunger and malnutrition urgently call for a structural system change. For our future, of generations to come and our planet. There are ample positive developments around the globe; innovative technologies, novel ingredients and creative concepts. To achieve systemic change however, more disruptive and faster innovations are needed. These will include adoption and scaling of new technologies, further and different forms of cooperation and unlikely partnerships along the value chain, across sectors and across borders.” As always, we need each other, because we can only do this together. This ecosystem runs on open collaboration.”

How will you support and guide this innovation ecosystem?

“Since 2004, we have been developing and strengthening the Foodvalley ecosystem; an international collective of organizations and companies that jointly work on the transition to a sustainable food system. Foodvalley NL is the independent organization that guides parties through the transition, on direction, process and content, ensuring momentum. All in strong cooperation with corporates, SMEs, governments at every level and renowned educational and research institutions.”

What activities should we think of?

In close cooperation with its ecosystem, Foodvalley NL sets the agenda on innovation themes like Food & Health, Circular Agrifood and the Protein Shift, develops programs, challenges, initiates, supports and connects. We identify and evaluate innovations and opportunities at an early stage and provide the contacts, knowledge and resources appropriate to each specific situation. In this way we enable the ecosystem to accelerate innovation scale-up, companies to grow and develop more rapidly, new activities to emerge and international interest to be generated. This creates a flywheel of scientific development and economic growth that acts as a magnet for talent, creating new, high-quality employment opportunities. The immense global challenges we face need solutions of a similar scale.”

What are you most proud of?

“In the past few months everyone at Foodvalley NL has done whatever it takes to ensure that we are ready to work towards reaching our ambitions for the coming decades. The key task was to develop strategies for the innovation themes and plans that support the ecosystem, such as on human capital, shared facilities, entrepreneurship and global ecosystem development. In spite of the corona-crisis limitations we have taken on new people at all levels, and are building a close-knit team that works well together.

Key to success is the strong connection to our partners in the Netherlands and abroad, and the multiple zoom meetings across borders and time zones. Very efficient, but we’re all looking forward to real human contact again.

And still, we also found time to build, and then relocate to, a wonderful new office next to Unilever, the OnePlanet Research Center, FrieslandCampina and StartLife on the Wageningen Campus in the Netherlands – with all the space we need to welcome you, as soon as this is possible again, and for the next phase of our mission. In the following weeks we will explain in more detail what our strategy entails and how you can enroll in our plans. Stay tuned!”

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