As a nutritionist, I love this statement. As a communicator, I couldn’t agree more. Yesterday’s (unsuccessful) finger wagging techniques to get you to, “Eat your vegetables because they’re good for you” have given way to a focus on inspiration and authenticity – two themes I encountered with abundance at the inaugural Amsterdam Produce Show and Conference (APS) earlier this month.
Compared to its older Produce Show cousins in London and New York, APS was purportedly smaller, more down to earth and ‘gezellig’ (a favorite Dutch term loosely meaning ‘cozy’). Held at the iconic Westergasfabriek, the rustic and inspiring venue set the tone that this would be anything but a stuffy corporate conference.
But the participants were the real stars of the show. Farmers and processors, nutritionists and package suppliers, retailers, trade associations and public health authorities were all there to see, talk and taste produce – and the importance of getting more of it. Packaging and processing innovations to improve convenience, marketing aimed at making vegetables and fruits ‘on trend’ and even cross-sector initiatives to inspire and encourage increased intake were topics that rounded out the show.
One of the sessions I found most inspiring was from Gerjan Snippe, an organic farmer who spoke about the importance of perfecting the organic production model in order to provide innovative and sustainable solutions to consumers. His talk made sense from a big picture perspective, but became a whole lot more interesting the next day during a visit to his farm and processing facility, Bio Brass, on one of the beautifully-organized conference tours. Gerjan and his team illustrated the importance of sustainable organic crop rotation and showed us first-hand how his company’s efforts produced some of the most sustainable and delicious beet roots around. I, for one, was inspired — not only to eat more beets, but also because I learned more about the promising future of organic farming as a tool — just one of many — that we’ll need to use in order feed the world.
Chef Erik welcomes us with coffee and (beet) cakes, then later a lunch of (beet) burgers, (beet) salad, (beet) salmon marinade, (beet) chutney and, well, you get the picture.