Establishing Flevofood association, a network association of and for food related companies in Flevoland.
The aim is to establish and increase the Short Food Supply Chain (SFSC) within Flevoland and towards the Floriade expo in 2022. Since the start in 2018, the association has already created very important and strong partnerships and collaborations within the SFSC in the Netherlands.
There was no alike organisation to connect the groups of food suppliers (e.g. farmers, processors, retail, foodservice, etc.) when Flevofood association started.
What connects the members is the passion for food products from Flevoland and it’s fabulous quality. From the beginning on networking and exchange activities supported the collaboration. The idea is that by collaborating, more can be achieved than what can be done while working alone. By growing the network, an increase in combined power is developed. This growth leads also to greater benefits for each individual company within the association. At this point FlevoFood sets up a B2B platform to facilitate sales of regional products and promote them at e.g. Floriade Expo 2022.
Cooperation is key. Not only within Flevofood, but also with alike organisations under the umbrella of interregional Taskforce Short Chains.
The main objective is to establish SME competitiveness, by working together on regional, national and EU level, by using each others unique strengths, as data, tools, range, authority, expertise and funding as described in the GAIN model.
- an investment in hours for founders (36K 2 years)
- funding for organizing foodtours and knowledge meetings (15K 5 years)
- funding for knowledge exchange (20K)
- in kind hours of board members
- active members
- diverse network
Evidence of success
We have now approx. 50 members, 15 networkpartners and managed to establish partnerships with all municipalities in Flevoland, other stakeholders as banks and universities. We have inter-regional cooperations within Taskforce Short Chain (B2B platform implementation), from which we really achieving big results in setting up SFSC. This is also supported by the Ministry of Agriculture.
We’ve organized 4 foodtours and 4 inspiring knowledge gatherings, with approx. 350-400 participants.
- start: huge investment of entrepreneurial time, nonpaid, while keep their business’ up and running
- funding for a secretary and project management to increase growth
- change in legal governance structure, requires professional help
Potential for learning or transfer
Most important learning from this practice is the cooperation part between sectors on the different levels: local, regional, national and even on EU level, to establish the relation between farmers and citizens, through the re-connection farmland and cities. Main stakeholders are the Flevofood board (7 members within the different producer groups, and based in all connecting areas), Flevofood association members (currently approx. 50), Province of Flevoland, municipalities, universities, financial companies (e.g. Rabobank).
We started as a network association with similar ideas between the members, and moved towards setting up a SFSC, because all members believed and invested in the urgency of this network to contribute to a sustainable food transition.
Another important learning is to consider the legal set up of the association. A change to a cooperation supported by a ltd is needed.