1. You play an important role within the community of Texel, what have been the main reasons for starting this label? What is, in your opinion, the main strength of the Texel product?
Our global driver in the beginning was to give more publicity to the real local produce of Texel together with its quality. The main strength of this label is that it really is from Texel itself and always of high quality.
2. You are most probably familiar with the different actors within the food production community, what was needed in order to convince this community to join your label?
At first, there was also a certain ‘Stichting Stimulering Texels Product’ on Texel, which tried to put a few local product on the market, but hardly succeeded. A collaboration has existed with us, but no concrete results were obtained from this. In general, the agricultural sector does not show much interest in this, but last year a company growing artichokes joined us. Before that, also a company growing asparagus has joined us and they also produce a certain Texel potato. This already leads towards the following conclusion: the main strength of our association lies in lamb and cow meat, as well as cheese, fruit and (farmers) ice cream. Next to this, also beer that uses barley from Texel and on a small scale mushrooms.
3. Which groups or communities exist on Texel (such as collaborations between farmers or consumers) which whom you collaborate and thus are already much involved?
We do not work together with consumer groups, for as far as they exist. The same holds for (national) agricultural organisations.
4. The actors need to comply with certain guidelines. As such, 75 percent of the production needs to take place on Texel and also 75 percent of the resources for this need to come from Texel. Did the companies that join you, already comply with these guidelines or are there examples of companies that actively changed their production in order to meet your guidelines and get your label?
In case companies want to register, we first invite them for a meeting in which we tell them what these guidelines and restrictions are in case they want to become a member of our association. Sometimes, this meeting already shows that they do not meet the rules and as such no request is started. As for now, there are no companies that we know of that have changed their production in order to meet our rules. However, we do know of retailers that have changed, for instance, a restaurant that adapted its menu to meet de guidelines.
5. Our final goal is to create a diet on Texel, including its resident as well as the tourist, that comprises completely out of locally produced food. We are aware of the fact that this requires a dramatic change of the diet, since exotic and nationally grown products can no longer be imported. Could you describe the typical diet of a resident of Texel of the current day? And do you think that the average resident is willing to change his diet so dramatically? Would you have an example of products that are not grown Texel at the moment, but would be a part of the diet that could not be left out?
Having a diet consisting of only Texel produce would be a utopian situation in my opinion. First of all, small-scaled production will have financial complications for the consumer. Next to this, it seems as a real challenge to me to provide the residents (13.000) as well as the tourists (40.000) with a local diet. The composition of the soil as well as the climate would also not be suitable for this. I am under the impression, that the residents would not be willing to undergo such a dramatic change as well as long as the Aldi, Jumbo, Lidl and AH are present and still provide a different diet. To support this, most of the products that the resident really want in their diet are not produced on Texel itself.
6. You also use the label as a way to let the tourist experience the typical Texel feeling, in the sense of a marketing tool. Would you think of a 100% self-sufficiency in food on Texel to be a way to attract more tourists? Do you know of tourist coming to Texel, specifically for this (if so, could you name a product for which this is the case?)?
Personally, I do not think that the self-sufficiency would be a way to attract more tourists, except for a few idealists. It is also not known to me that at this moment tourists are already coming to Texel for the locally produced food. In some individual cases, it could be the decision making argument, for instance for people that only stay a day from the province of North-Holland.
7. We think that starting a platform where the agricultural sector, the restaurants and retailers and other residents will collaborate towards the goal of 100% self-sufficiency would be a possible strategy. The to do this could be to publish an online and hardcopy version of a magazine such as the Allerhande, in which local products are highlighted and columns will appear of producers as well as consumers and which also states recipes. Have you ever thought of such an initiative? Are there already organisations present such as these that collaborate? And do you think proposing such a platform will be received positively?
Such a platform does not yet exist. It has been tried once to work with a magazine, next to our annual folder. This should have been financed by advertisements of multiple members, but they were not willing to do so, since they can only spend their promotional budget once. I cannot really say anything on whether or not such an initiative would be positively received. Often there are opposing interest present, strange as it may sound.
8. Would you be focussing on new production techniques as well?
Since our association is just a coordinating organisation and doesn’t produce anything itself, this would be a question for the producers.
Our contact Wout Stam agreed with having his contact information being shared. Therefore, if you want to contact him about any more information, you can do so by sending an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org