Food Trucks, new agricultural technologies, bug burgers and the resurgence of the farm-to-table movement. The food landscape is changing rapidly and this changing landscape demands new forms of food and agriculture education. CAH Vilentum University of Applied Sciences, based in Dronten, the Netherlands, and the Youth Food Movement, part of the Slow Food Youth Network, have joined forces and launched a Bachelor program in Food Entrepreneurship. The program offers an interdisciplinary perspective on the changing landscape of food and agribusiness to aspiring food entrepreneurs from all over the world. In one year, students will develop the tools and understanding to build their own authentic food business, and learn how to do business in a good, clean and fair way.
We all eat. There is so much to say about food and at the same time how and what we eat says so much about us. Food is culture; food is identity. Trends follow each other rapidly, and innovations with data and technology constantly provide new business opportunities and chances to help change our food system. CAH Vilentum University of Applied Sciences is one of the largest professional educational institutes in the Netherlands. In the programs currently offered, professionals prepare for their careers in the knowledge domains of agriculture, food, horticulture, agribusiness and animal science.
CAH Vilentum recognized that these domains are inherently interlinked and all subject to change occurring within the food landscape. With this vision and understanding, it decided to launch this new interdisciplinary program.
The content of the Food Entrepreneurship program has been developed in conjunction with the Youth Food Movement (YFM), which is part of the international Slow Food movement. The YFM has a record of involving a broad audience in the discussion on the future of food and agriculture. It has organized the Food Film Festival, and multiple projects that bring farmers, citizens, young food professionals and food entrepreneurs together. For seven years, it has organized the YFM Academy, an interdisciplinary training programme of six months during which young food professionals and students learn more about the food system.
“In the YFM Academy, we see many innovative ideas develop every year, because young people from every part the food chain meet each other. We think that this interdisciplinary approach to the food system should be at the core of any food company.”
– Joszi Smeets, director YFM
The Bachelor of Food Entrepreneurship invites students to take a critical look at the transition that is developing toward a sustainable food system. They will visit leading entrepreneurs: farmers, processors, retailers and start-ups that have been both sustainably and creatively successful in this transition. Alongside these experiences, students will develop skills in every aspect of how to build their own successful food company.
“Encouraging willingness to take action, giving direction to the changing way we deal with food, and making the transition to responsible and honest businesses. Searching for food with true identity and value. These are the motivations for our school to start a program in which entrepreneurs link their practice to larger theories. The cooperation with YFM in this is very important, because linking their network to the program allows students to look behind the scenes of the most innovative food entrepreneurs of today. “
- Tim Menger, Head of International programs CAH Vilentum