The program proposal Re-Ge-NL was submitted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. It was developed by Next Food Collective, Wageningen University & Research, Groningen University and Utrecht University in collaboration with 54 partners from across the food system. Farmers' cooperatives and networks, chain parties, financial institutions, knowledge & technology providers and educational & research institutions will jointly start implementation in 2024.
Regenerative agriculture combines food production with ecosystem restoration, improving soil fertility, water resources and biodiversity. In addition, regenerative agriculture can make a positive contribution to the social and economic position of farmers. It thus contributes to solving the broad environmental problems of Dutch agriculture and responds to the growing market demand for sustainable food production.
NGF Advisory Committee: "The Re-Ge-NL proposal offers a possible solution to broad agricultural environmental issues and attempts to accelerate the transition. For the average farmer, the transition to regenerative farming is sometimes unfeasible due to lack of knowledge, economic perspective or working examples. Re-Ge-NL addresses these bottlenecks through an integrated systems approach and with bottom-up involvement of farmers. This will demonstrate that and how a transition is possible."
Together to the new normal
The Re-Ge-NL program aims to work with the sector to solve bottlenecks in the transition to regenerative agriculture. By demonstrating in practice that the transition is feasible and attractive, Re-Ge-NL ensures a system change and transition acceleration. The practical goal of the program is for 1,000 Dutch farmers to actually make the transition before 2030 and for at least 10,000 farmers and advisors to gain knowledge about regenerative agriculture practices. The ultimate intended outcome is that agriculture with a positive impact on nature and climate becomes the new normal.
Wouter-Jan Schouten, director of Sustainable Food Systems at Next Food Collective and director of the proposal: "with Re-Ge-NL we are going to create an international example for the transition to regenerative agriculture. This is possible because we are working with a unique consortium of players from across the food system, where ownership for the transition lies with farmer cooperatives and networks who all want to work on a wide diversity of future-proof farmer business models and thereby break the status quo as quickly as possible."
Maarten van Dam, of regenerative farm Schevichoven and agricultural projects agency Farwin: "We are proud of our regenerative permaculture at Schevichoven, but we cannot do it alone. We believe Re-Ge-NL will remove obstacles and greatly accelerate the transition. Simultaneously addressing all bottlenecks such as marketing, knowledge sharing and financing is the only way to meet the urgency and make regenerative agriculture the new norm!"
Through this investment from the NGF, the Netherlands is future-proofing its global leading position in Agri & Food. It also increases the sustainable earning capacity of the Netherlands by reducing environmental costs while maintaining profitable agricultural production, employment and exportable products and services.
About the National Growth Fund
The NGF is an initiative of the Ministries of Economic Affairs and Climate and of Finance. With the NGF, the government is investing €20 billion between 2021 and 2025 in projects that will ensure long-term sustainable economic growth. The NGF invests in projects with the greatest opportunities for structural and sustainable economic growth in the 2 areas of Knowledge Development and Research, Development and Innovation.
About Next Food Collective
The Next Food Collective is a public-private partnership. It was established in May 2023 as a merger of four organizations, Top Institute Food & Nutrition (TiFN), Sustainable Food Initiative (SFI), Carbohydrate Competence Center (CCC) and Protein Competence Center (PCC). Next Food Collective's mission is to accelerate innovations that contribute to a sustainable and healthy food system.