Past Wednesday I visited a company for the course Good Food I follow at school. It was a very inspiring visit and I’m determined to do a lot more when it comes to eating a local diet. We got a presentation and a tour around the company. We visited: Het Lokaal in Amersfoort.
Het Lokaal (The Local) is a supermarkt. But is not a normal supermarket! They sell as much local food as they can at Het Lokaal. They bring the local food which is grown is Amersfoort all together in one store. This way it gets very easy to shop locally! Het Lokaal isn’t perfect yet, they’re not 100% local but they’re working on it. An example of things they do sell is olive oil. Olive oil can’t be produced in Amersfoort but it’s something many people do need. These products which aren’t local are organic and fair trade, the best option for now.
The presentation about the company was given by Cor Holtackers, the founder of Het Lokaal. He told us a bit about the history of Het Lokaal. Eating local is good for the environment. Avocados are delicious, but they create a massive impact. By buying local the food doesn’t have to travel far and so there’re less emissions. Het Lokaal was also started to boost the local economy. By buying local food you support your own community and not the multinationals around the world. The food industry is almost a monopoly. There are about 10 companies worldwide who own all the food and drinks (see the picture below). These companies decide what the food supply is and they receive most of the money. This way the gap between rich and poor is increasing. Het Lokaal buys from local farmers and this way you support your neighbors instead of billionaires. Het Lokaal is a store but they also have a small restaurant, a bakery, a beer brewery and they also roast coffee their self. And besides all that they also have a lot of community programs to promote eating local. Here’s a short list of a few of the initiatives they run (in Dutch):
– 4 times a year they organize a local market
– Echt Eten in de Eemstad, an educational program
– Week van de Smaak, a week with all sorts of activities around the subject
I want to get back to one thing I mentioned: the coffee roasting. It is sooo important that Het Lokaal does this their self. Just like with food producers there are very little coffee roasters worldwide. And as you might know, you have to roast coffee before you can drink it. And since there are so little companies who do this on a large scale they own the monopoly. This way they offer farmers way too little money (because the farmers can only sell it to these companies who roast the beans). By roasting the beans their self Het Lokaal can buy the beans directly from corporations and give farmers a fair price. At Het Lokaal they pay 3 times the Fair Trade price (which say a lot about Fair Trade unfortunately). But Het Lokaal is doing very good!
Zero Waste and Seasonal
More good news! At Het Lokaal there are many products which can be bought zero waste. The bread and nuts are available package free and I also saw a tap for olive oil. If you aks for it I think even more will be possible. Vegetables are also stored and sold package free. Talking about vegetables, at Het Lokaal you automatically eat seasonal because that’s what’s available locally. No tomatoes in winter for example. During the course Good Food I learned that it’s good to eat seasonal since the vegetables that are available during a specific season often contain the vitamins you need most in that period. Nature is amazing. If you follow a whole-foods plant-based diet you can go a long way with this store.
During this visit I also bought some things myself. A zero waste sour dough bread in my own reusable bag. I learned that sour dough doesn’t contain any yeast. Sour dough doesn’t release all its energy at all once, it does so very slowly. This way you don’t get a boost of energy all at once, but it gives you energy for a long time. The things you learn at such a visit! I also bought a kit for growing your own oyster mushrooms on coffee grounds! This way you can make a new product out of waste. The kit is a plastic bin, but you can reuse that one forever. Once you start growing you can go on forever with the same bacteria. I am so excited to try this!
All in all, you might have noticed that I am very excited about Het Lokaal in Amersfoort. If you are around, go visit! It is definitely a hotspot. This visit also gave me new energy to try to eat more local. I want to focus on it the coming period.