news-10 February 2023 - written by:Marieke Karssen

Above all, never ask for more than is really necessary," but also "Go talk to your municipality right away," and "You won't succeed without a permit.

Just a few of the various pieces of advice that would-be food forest owners receive and give each other. They can sometimes literally not see the wood for the trees. So complex is the various regulations for different destinations where food forests can occur and fit in the Netherlands. Even we, as course providers, can only advise to a certain extent, because the situation differs per municipality and per province.

How do you change the world? With more courageous officials, politicians and advisors!

food forest policy

Of course there is a difference between Groningen and Limburg. One area has oily clay and vistas and the other hills and loess soil. Each region also has a different landscape history, but above all: different officials, politicians and policy advisers. Because, even within one and the same province, food forests are warmly welcomed in one municipality and not in another.

We suspect that officials, policy staff and consultants such as engineering firms and stewards do not intentionally want to make life difficult for would-be food forest owners, but often do not know themselves.

Food forests renew everything

Food forests are innovative on virtually all fronts and existing legislation, but especially existing policy, is not always geared to this. Archaeology, cultural history, water management, biodiversity, heat stress, food transition, circularity etc etc. This complete anthology hits the desk as soon as a food forest plan is put on the table. And then it looks like nothing else, and you don't know whether these people really understand it and you also have the complexity that before you know it trees have to become nature and then the tendency to just say no is great. Then you're always right, as it were.

But in the light of the really big problems of our time, of course, that doesn't sit well at all. The Dutch landscape is in dire straits. What the world really needs are civil servants and advisors who, armed with the latest knowledge about nature, landscape, biodiversity, food forests and their regulations, are able to really judge plans on their merits and then actively help to get that food forest done. With new regulations, but preferably within the existing regulations and prepared for the soon to be active environmental law.

Food forest training for professionals

And that is why we have developed a special compact training for the official and the consultant. Two days, full of hands-on experience with two types of food forests, exclusively for the professional audience. We teach this two-day course on April 6 and 20 in two recognizable situations. The first day focuses on food forests and urban/recreational issues and the second on food forests and the many issues surrounding rural areas and the relationship between agriculture and nature.

You'll learn what a mature food forest feels and looks like. You'll learn how social food forests, in the middle of communities, work and what's involved. You'll learn about farmers who want to start food forests, and you'll also learn from each other. Because you can bring your practical questions so we can address them during the course. You will be taught by Wouter van Eck and Liesbeth van Bemme and we aspire to turn this course group into a community of practice that continues to help each other. Also after the course.

For it is simply true: without the first courageous civil servants and advisors, we will not change the world! Regulations need to be changed and this needs to be done in consultation and well, preferably all over the Netherlands.


Learn more about the course and register soon. .