Between ambitions and actions: how citizens navigate the entrepreneurial process of co-producing sustainable urban food futures

K.H. van der Gaast*, J.E. Jansma, S.C.O. Wertheim-Heck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Cities increasingly envision sustainable future food systems. The realization of such futures is often understood from a planning perspective, leaving the role of entrepreneurship out of scope. The city of Almere in the Netherlands provides a telling example. In the neighborhood Almere Oosterwold, residents must use 50% of their plot for urban agriculture. The municipality formulated an ambition that over time, 10% off all food consumed in Almere must be produced in Oosterwold. In this study, we assume the development of urban agriculture in Oosterwold is an entrepreneurial process, i.e. a creative (re)organization that is ongoing and intervenes in daily life. To understand how this entrepreneurial process helps to realize sustainable food futures, this paper explores what futures for urban agriculture residents of Oosterwold prefer and deem possible and how these futures are organized in the present. We use futuring to explore possible and preferable images of the future, and to backcast those images to the present day. Our findings show residents have different perspectives of the future. Furthermore, they are capable in formulating specific actions to obtain the futures they prefer, but have trouble committing to the actions themselves. We argue this is the result of a temporal dissonance, a myopia where residents have trouble looking beyond their own situation. It shows imagined futures must fit with the lived experiences of citizens in order to be realized. We conclude that urban food futures need planning and entrepreneurship to be realized since they are complementary social processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1287-1302
JournalAgriculture and Human Values
Volume40
Issue number3
Early online date11 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

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