QLE.20.003 – Landscape stewardship for sustainable local food systems

Route: Quality of the living environment

Cluster question: 015 How can we make agricultural production systems more sustainable as the worldwide demand for healthy, safe food continues to grow?

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and Alternative Food Networks (AFN)s are gaining momentum. New initiatives such as Herenboeren and Land van Ons have been recently added to the classic initiatives such as direct farm-gate sale and allotment gardens. The recent lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a surge of interest in such initiatives and studies suggest that these impacts have the potential to last. CSA and AFNs are contested. Proponents hail the importance for community-building, local food security, biodiversity, and ecosystem service (ES) provision, while their agronomic efficiency, outreach in society, food safety, and biodiversity and ES gains are also contested. This discussion is framed within the ‘land sparing vs land sharing’debate, which have evolved into a paradigm clash. We aim to get beyond this clash. While realizing the Dutch agricultural and food system requires transition rather than incremental efficiency gains, we acknowledge the importance of efficient production system globally. However, efficiency is not the silver bullet. Its applicability is context dependent. Similarly, CSA and AFNs might -in specific contexts- be able to deliver their promises. What is unknown is how CSA and AFNs work and what they can contribute in the Dutch context of (peri) urbanization and intensive agriculture. Together with some CSA/AFN initiatives, we will: (1) Quantify their role in community building, local food security, biodiversity, ES and trade-offs among these; (2) Identify success and failure factors (context, organization, and governance support); (3) Analyze their spillover and tradeoffs to larger scales with regards to community building, food security, biodiversity, and ES; (4) Explore their potential at the Dutch scale through participatory development of spatially explicit scenarios and its potential contribution to sustainable production of healthy and safe food and quality of the living environment; (5) Set out pathways towards full utilization of this potential.


biodiversity, community-supported agriculture, ecosystem services, food security, landscape quality, landscape stewardship

Other organisations

Aeres University of Applied Sciences, tbd., Universiteit Twente (UT)


Organisation Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)
Name Dr. ir. CJE (Nynke) Schulp
E-mail nynke.schulp@vu.nl
Website https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/nynke-schulp