3.2. Description and analysis of actual relevant trends, initiatives, etc. in the current sub-system.
A) The local consumer and D) the tourist industry
To engage the local consumer in the sub-system ‘Feed Texel’ the following initiatives are currently established on the island (the list might not be complete). These vary from brands to raise awareness, to special food related events.
Texel Culinair is an annual three-day event in the second weekend of September. Almost thirty restaurants take part in this event for which they create amuses to show the tourists, and the locals of what the island has to offer in the culinary field .
Texelse Kost is a corporation in which both consumers and producers are united, and it focusses on Sustainably and Locally produced foods that are good for everyone. Their main goal is to reduce the food kilometers (and thus the amount of fossil fuel used), the corporation also focusses on improving the overall environment of the island. This because most connected producers work without the use of chemicals, pesticides or medicines for the animals.
They’ve established three different kind of labels for the connected producers.
- B / Biologisch
- M / Moestuin
- G / Gangbaar (regular product, with minimal use of pesticides)
The corporation also focusses on keeping the current economy up to standard, they believe in letting the farmers be able to farm. This does mean that the farmers can determine their own prices for the products they have produced .
Echt Texels Produkt
‘Echt Texels Produkt’ is an association (Association for Texel Products Promotion) that promotes the marketing and consumption of locally produced products. This does not only include foods, but also wool and other products. The association established a trademark for these products and in order to be allowed to carry this brand the product has to meet certain requirements :
- 75% of the raw materials used for the product should be from Texel
- 75% of the production, processing, marketing, etc. should happen on the island
Another initiative is the Texelse Vangst, which is a cooperation of fishermen that show market their product apart from the others by ensuring that it is locally caught and fresh fish that they sell.
Restaurants using locally produced foods
Not so much an initiative as it is a trend, is that it can be seen that more and more restaurants are serving locally produced foods. This will allow not only the consumers but also the tourist to eat locally produced foods and as such grow the market for the producers.
Changing consumer (local and tourist) mindset
Also more of a trend that works very well the previous trends and initiatives is the broad (national and global) trend that more and more people start to care about what they eat, where it is produced and the way it is produced. Where the focus is more and more on consuming regionally grown, fresh and ‘honest’ products.
A trend that could be a little less favourable for our goals is the trend that more and more people want to eat superfoods. This is not a bad thing in general if it weren’t that most of the so-called superfoods are very exotic foods originating from tropical countries. These will be very hard to grow on Texel. Hopefully this trend is one that will not last for too long, otherwise some complex solutions will need to be though of for this.
Also more interactive initiatives are present at the island. From these initiatives, not only the local consumers can profit, but these are also very fun and interesting for the tourists, such as:
The Tasty Tour by Anne Hottentor is a route (by bike) of circa thirty kilometres around the island; and durign this route you’ll visit farms and specialty shops that sell local products. This routes are based on certain recipes. So for each recipe there’s a corresponding route and grocery list available. The route and recipes are bound to the seasons and there are two different booklets available for this; a summer and winter edition .
Texel Catering | Cooking Workshops
Texel Catering hosts cooking workshops in which people are learned to cook a specific dish. These dishes are often based on products that are locally produced .
B) The local producer
Texel is very active in terms of producing food. It is astonishing how many initiatives you can find with some simple research. A lot of those initiatives focus on exclusive, handcraft or sustainable products. Honest, green, sustainable, healthy, local, eco-friendly, quality and responsible are keywords which return in nearly all descriptions of the initiatives or trends.
The following is a list of found initiatives. Likely it is not a complete list, but it gives an impression of the broadness of initiatives.
-Biologisch-dynamische Zuivelboerderij Sint Donatus
-Biologisch-dynamische boerderij de hooge weyer
- ‘Voedselcollectief’ (Food collective)
o A non-profit organisation for consumers and producers to accomplish a sustainable community.
o garden where you can collect your own fruits and vegetables
- ‘Texelse kost’
o Corporation which collects food and tries to connect consumers and producers in a sustainable way.
- Cheese farm
o Cheese with local ingredients. With unpasteurized milk
On the cheese farm Wezenspyk guided tours are given to show the visitors how Texelse cheese is made. All the cheeses from this farm are made from milk, fresh from the cows or sheeps on the island itself .
- Texel’s Beer
o Local beer (also exported)
o Local wine
o Locally produced with local ingredients and fresh milk
o Biological mushroom plantation, which is harvesting the Shii-Take mushroom.
o Research on the island is done to see what the possibilities are for seaweed as food. This is done in Texel’s own “Seaweed Science Center”.
- Asparagus and potatoes
o Small scale business ‘Keijser’ growing asparagus and potatoes in Den Burg
- Potatoes which can grow on saline ground (also other crops)
o A farmer has developed a potato race which can grow on saline ground.
- sea lettuce
o To use as fertilizer, former by-catch of the shrimp fishery.
Meat & fish:
- Lamb and mutton
o The most well-known export product with high quality. Even so high that a lot is exported and lower quality meat is imported (bron?)
o Texel’s beef producers focus mostly on high quality beef races. They try to keep the cows in sight (out on the land) as much as possible.
o Shrimps caught on the ‘Waddenzee’. Also doing tours for tourists.
It strikes that Texel food producers are exploring technologies to deal with modern challenges such as the potatoes on saline soil. Those technologies can have a very broad application in for example countries where is starvation due to rising of the sea level. Furthermore there are some initiatives with a more social focus. Like the ‘Zelfpluktuin’, where you can pick your fruits and vegetables by yourself. Those kinds of initiative are educative and engages people to think about food consumption. Overall Texel can be described as a relatively active community concerning food consumption and production.
Trend and mindset:
You can see that farmers and other food producers have a different mindset considering sustainability and food production compared to food producers on the mainland. The island is highly reliant on tourism, the farmers therefore are too. Since the tourists visit the island because of the nature, this directly affects the arable farming. This is translated in planting different types of flowers along the borders or letting these areas be used by animals. Farmers are also mostly responsible for the way the nature represents itself, which is what attracts the tourists to the island. The appearance of the nature is dominated by the agricultural patches which are caused by ‘ruilverkaveling’. The farmland forms an important part of the identity of the island. Moreover, farmers on Texel are changing their management more and more from regular to biological or biodynamic.
C) The local government
The government of Texel could take a look at other initiatives in Europe in order to learn and find legal pathways through the maze of EU regulations. An interesting and very comparable case is the sustainable transition of the island of Samsø. This island is located in Denmark where the government support has been very important in increasing Danish renewable energy production. The government does something extraordinary: the subsidies the renewable energy market since they argue that that renewable energy market is no longer necessary or compatible with competitive markets . Also the Dutch government takes already this kind of steps since they set taxes on polluting fuels and subsidies for example, solar energy . On local scale the actions of the government of Samsø are fairly different. In context the island is very comparable: comparable amount of square meters, comparable amount of inhabitants, comparable culture of trust among the residents and both the island's main activities are farming and tourism. Samsø differs from Texel during the fact that they have another main activity on the island: renewable energy. The island is 100% self sufficient on the field of energy, due to a project initiated by the residents themselves in 1997: the RE island project. Before this period fossil fuel had to be transported by tankers. In order to be more self sufficient, the residents formed energy cooperatives and organized seminars on wind power. By 2001, fossil-fuel use on Samsø had been cut in half. By 2003, instead of importing electricity, the island was exporting it, and by 2005 it was producing from renewable sources more energy than it was using . Is the Texel community comparable in the case of such incredible community leadership? The community of Samsø did not do all the work alone. They were stimulated by several actors. ‘Its main partners were Danish Energy Agency, Århus Regional Authority and Samsø Municipality. Other partners included Samsø Business Forum, Samsø Farmers Association and Danish Ministry of Energy. In 1998, Samsø Energy Company was founded to implement RE projects, especially wind turbine and district heating projects. Together with Samsø Energy- and Environmental Office they also organized campaigns and meetings [...] For awhile (1998-2002) it was also a part of the EC’s ALTENER Programme that encouraged the development and expansion of an already-viable market for renewable energy sources by, among other things, promoting islands and small cities towards becoming 100% reliant on renewable energy. Subsidies were received from this ALTENER programme ’. What we could learn from this program is that in order to change something at Texel we first have to present clearly the problem of ‘unnecessary loss of energy by transporting their food around the globe’ to the residents. The next step would be to convince them that they have power as a community to change things in their local surroundings by showing them explanatory projects such as Samsø. At the same moment the local government should do what ever lies in their power to stimulate this project in the niche fase. Ones it is picked up by the full Texel community it will grow by itself. Important to reach the goal is to set clear goals. The strict deadline of 10 years really set the community of Samsø in motion to achieve something extraordinary.
At Texel Urgenda (the organization for sustainability and innovation that want to make the Netherlands, together with companies, governments, community organizations and individuals, faster sustainable) started several initiatives to also set a development in motion comparable to Samsø. Unfortunately not all developments were effective, was told to us in the lecture given on the 3th of december. According to Antoin Maartens Texel is far more connected to the mainland than the other islands: all services are still on the mainland. Terschelling, Vlieland and Ameland have their own dentists ect. And this is the core of the problem: the Texel community is less strong than the the community at Samsø. This strong community is the main driver for change. According to Antoin Maartens we need more drivers for change in the governments of our villages. More sustainable educated people in the local government of Texel could steer the developments in a good directions and stimulate the community.
. M, Saastamoinen. (2009). ‘Samsø - renewable energy island programme’. CHANGING BEHAVIOUR