As part of the Imagine project, which aims to tackle youth unemployment by providing them sustainable job prospects in (peri-)urban agriculture, a visit of Duurzame Kost, project partner, took place on September 5, 2019. Objective: understand the economic model of the social enterprise while discovering the Strijp-S, a former industrial district converted into a creative and cultural center.
Founded in 2015, Duurzame Kost combines sustainable food production with professional reintegration.
Each year, the social enterprise produces 25 tonnes of vegetables and 3 tonnes of fish for local customers, such as multiple restaurants or the neighborhood's "Fresh-Market". Production is done through aquaponics. This system, relatively unknown in Europe, combines both aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (growing plants on water) in a circular logic. Thus, fish provide the nutrients needed for plant growth and plants in turn filter water for fish. One of the major advantages of this growing technology is that it requires 90% less water than gardening in the ground.
A SOCIAL GOAL
In addition, the company reintegrates disadvantaged people, in close collaboration with local authorities. Currently, 15 people benefit from a particular support and thus have the opportunity to develop horticultural skills but also social skills.
AT THE HEART OF THE FORMER PHILIPS DISTRICT
Duurzame Kost takes place in the Strijp-S, a former industrial park in Strijp district in Eindhoven. Most of the buildings in the neighborhood belonged to the famous Dutch technology company, Philips. However, in the early 2000s, the company left the "City of Light" to set up its headquarters in Amsterdam. It was then that the public-private partnership between VolkerWessels, the city of Eindhoven, and various real estate investors was set up to give the neighborhood a second life. Creative businesses and housing were created in the old industrial buildings.
A GROWING AREA
Since this transformation, no less than 2,500 people have moved in there, more than a thousand companies employ 3,000 workers and nearly one million visitors are registered each year. Last May, the district was awarded the prestigious NEPROM prize, rewarding quality territorial development and good public-private cooperation.