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Towards a new food system?
Walk around anywhere in Amsterdam, and you will see and smell a new urban food scene popping up. Old abandoned warehouses are being turned in to new production centers for young, artisan food makers. The Foodhallen in West, and the Food Center Amsterdam, are justifiably being heralded as examples for the new urban makers trend.
Perhaps the most visible expression of this bottom-up urban food maker trend, is the rise in the number of brewers. There are 1,25 million homebrewers in the U.S. alone, tinkering away and perfecting their brews. That's one in roughly 200 people. According to a survey by the American Homebrewers Association, these homebrewers account for about 1% of total output of beers made in the U.S. In the Netherlands: the same picture, evidenced by the 68 new breweries that opened in 2014 across our country. All these people had to start somewhere. Often that 'somewhere' is there own kitchen. Or a shed in their back garden. Even though these numbers are impressive (68 new breweries on a total of 210 is an unprecedented rise), there are still hundreds of homebrewers with hopes of bringing their beers to the market, but who unfortunately never will. Why? A combination of factors prehibits them for taking the next step. Regulatory factors are one; food makers have to comply with complex HACCP certification rules. Time and uncertainty are another; oftentimes these enthusiastic homebrewers have a job on the side (note: it's amazing how many homebrewers who I've spoken to, who have jobs you wouldn't immediately associate with a brewer. Quite a few of them are lawyers, consultants, etc.). And then there's the biggest hurdle of all: money. Your friends and family may like your brews, but before you go pouring (pun most definitely intended) your savings into a new brewing business, you want to first get some feel of whether your beer will sell.
And it's not just brewers: homebakers, pastry makers, jam makers, and people growing veggies in their backyards experience the same obstacles.
Our mission is to help small-scale food makers in urban areas grow their food business, by connecting them with each other, foodies in their cities, and restaurants, bars and shops. We believe that the best to overcome these obstacles, is by working together to lower barriers to entry, lower costs, and increase your first sales in your city.
We'll be sharing more here, about how we want to bring people together for more, and better, local food.
Image credit: foodhallen.nl
16 FEBRUARY 2015