Over 800 people gather to build the food movement in The Netherlands

Vandana Shiva was one of the keynote speakers at a two day conference in Wageningen, the Netherlands. She joined over 800 other thinkers and doers who are working to transform the food and agriculture system in The Netherlands and Belgium.
Other keynote speakers included UN Rapporteur Olivier de Schutter and various farmer leaders, as well academics from the Universities of Wageningen (NL) and Leuven (Belgium). OtherWise, ILEIA and Boerengroep were amongst the lead organisations in the preparation of the event.

The conference offered 42 workshops, 15 mini-lectures and excursions on a variety of themes, including local food networks, agroecology, seeds and biodiversity, fair agricultural and trade policies, healthy soils, urban farming, permaculture, food forests and land rights. In an important signal, the event took place at Wageningen University, known for its support for industrial agriculture.

Powerful conference speeches:

“Industrial fertilization is a science of ignorance. In relationship to the living soil, it has zero knowledge”
– Vandana Shiva

“70% of world food production happens on family farms, 30% on industrial farms: that was the reason for the UN to make 2014 the Year of Family Farming”
– Olivier de Schutter

The great diversity and active participation of farmers, students, activists, civil society representatives and other concerned citizens (over half of them young people) from all over Belgium and The Netherlands made the conference into a tremendous success.

One participant said: “I found new ideas, met old and new friends, exchanged experiences and made new connections. We’re all doing our work, but we’re not alone.”

On a special wall at the conference venue, the outcomes of each workshop were collected, suggesting concrete steps to move forward and themes for further exploration.

During the conference, Vandana Shiva and Pablo Tittonell planted the first tree of a new food forest on university campus (see the video).

The conference aimed to help build the growing worldwide movement towards fair and sustainable agriculture systems, where farmers get a fair price and respect for their products and where we work with instead of against nature; a system in which food democracy rules, and not a handful of big corporations.

More information:

* Impressions, outcomes, press reviews and photos are available at and on
* Read the best tweets about the conference, storified by Severin Dery
* Read how blogger Harmony Folz got Fired Up by Vandana Shiva
* Watch recordings of the keynote speeches of:
* Pablo Tittonell (professor agroecology WUR, in English, from minute 34 onwards)
* Hanny van Geel (La Via Campesina, in Dutch, from minute 34 onwards)
* Vandana Shiva (from minute 16 onwards, in English)
* Olivier de Schutter (UN Rapporteur on the Right to Food, in Dutch, from minute 15 onwards): followed by reactions by Gert Engelen (Vredeseilanden, in Dutch) and Sieta van Keimpema (European Milk Board, in Dutch)

The conference was an initiative of the ‘Food Otherwise’ network and was organized on the occasion of the International Year of Family Farming. It was supported by: ActionAid, A SEED, BD-Vereniging, Bionext, Boerenverstand, Both ENDS, Brabantse Milieu Federatie, Centrum Biologische Landbouw, CLM, Cordaid, ELPG, ETC, FIAN Nederland, Greenpeace, Hivos, ICCO, ILEIA, Louis Bolk Instituut, Milieudefensie, OtherWise, Oxfam Novib, Oxfam Solidarité, Platform Aarde Boer Consument , Stichting RUAF, Stichting Boerengroep, The Hunger Project,Transition Towns, Transnational Institute, Urgenda , Chairgroups Rural Sociology and Farming Systems Ecology WUR , Warmonderhof, Velt, Vredeseilanden, Wervel, Youth Food Movement