Looking back on the Dutch Agri Food Week in Venlo
The Dutch Agri Food Week has come to an end. Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo was the stage for nine events, and campus director Saskia Goetgeluk is happy with the results. For many people, Dutch Agri Food Week was their first introduction to the Venlo campus.
This was the first major DAFW held at the Brightlands Campus in Venlo. What’s your take on the event?
“We organized nine events in seven days at the campus. In total, we had around 1000 visitors to the events. All of the events were set up in coordination with the Brightlands organization but put on by the parties involved. Pigs in the Pigture for example, is a great initiative from Varketing that encourages people to think about the future of pigs. The launch of the CollEGGtor, an automated egg-collection robot, was organized in cooperation with Blue Engineering.
The reason that we grouped all these events together during the Dutch Agri Food Week is that this sends a stronger signal about what the sector stands for. This is ultimately also the goal of the Dutch Agri Food Week. If the many responses and my own observations are any indication, I think we achieved this goal, so we’re pretty pleased with the results.”
Nine events! What’s the common thread? Where did all these visitors come from?
“All of the events were tied to the three campus themes: healthy and safe food, future farming and the biocircular economy. When you see who came to the events, you notice a great diversity in visitors. There were people from business, clients and suppliers, entrepreneurs, knowledge institutes, institutions, schools, scientists, college and high school students, people from politics and civil servants. They had a great variety of meetings to choose from with workshops, interactive sessions, launches, interesting speakers plus entertainment.”
What were the responses from the participants?
“Organizations had a really positive experience and feel that Brightlands generates high visibility for its own organization. This is of course the Campus’s intention, to give organizations a platform. The DAFW yielded a lot of new contacts. The great thing is that many of the 1000 visitors had never been introduced to the campus before. We were able to show them what goes on here, and the kinds of things that are possible such as collaboration and co-creation, talent development, the growth of start-ups and the development of science for business.”
How does it benefit the agro-food sector and the region?
“We succeeded in shining a spotlight on the influence Venlo and Limburg have on the agro-food sector. Venlo is now the second Greenport in the Netherlands thanks in part to its strategic international location in Central Europe. The Brightlands campus boosts the economic structure of the province, and also that of the Netherlands as a result. Additionally, one-fourth of the food consumed in the Netherlands comes from Limburg, the province is the largest producer of seeds and starting materials, and 60 percent of the Limburg landscape is managed by farmers who are active in food production. The Dutch Agri Food Week did a great job of putting these factors in the limelight.”
Worth repeating next year?
“What do you think? Of course!”
‘We want more!’
“Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo knows better than anyone how essential innovations in the agri-, food and horticulture sector are. During the kick-off of Dutch Agri Food Week on October 5 at Villa Flora, the impact of these innovations could be seen, tasted and discussed, and visitors learned how the connections are created – both with consumers as well as between companies – and where the creativity and energy lie. The program is chock-full and relevant, and held at a beautiful location. We want more!”
Roel Schutten, board member of the Dutch Agri Food Week Foundation