28.05.2020

A fresh perspective on the Dutch horticultural sector 

Henry Gordon-Smith shared interesting insights about Smart Cities and Dutch horticulture's role in this development during the webinar EAT THIS!

During the first couple of EAT THIS! webinars, Dutch thought leaders stepped onto the online stage to share their vision with the audience. Now, two global citizens shared their insights during the fourth session, which took place on May 27.

Henry Gordon Smith was the main speaker. This young entrepreneur, born in Hong Kong and currently living in New York, has become an expert on urban agriculture and connected his vision to Meiny Prins’ story on the Sustainable Urban Delta last week: the need for healthy and sustainable food production in cities.

Henry Gordon Smith is convinced that the implementation of horticulture in cities cannot be stopped. How exactly horticulture is being implemented, that always depends on a combinations of factors, goals and feasible solutions. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach for horticulture in cities. An element that is of growing importance now, is not only the yields per m2, but also what ‘green’ means for a city and its inhabitants. Both cities and the people that live there are asking themselves more and more, in what kind of environment do I want to live?

Henry’s presentation was followed by a dialogue with Dave Chen, CEO of private equity firm Equilibrium. He agreed fully with Henry and indicated that the current crisis will only accelerate the developments towards food systems based on short(er) chains, resilience and with a regional focus. These developments will have a great impact on the future (geographical location and role) of horticulture.

Both Henry and Dave were very clear on the position and significance of the Dutch horticultural sector: Dutch companies provide excellent quality and knowledge, but focus too often on conservative, traditional solutions. The current advances that take place at break-neck speed, call for open minds and out-of-the-box thinking. To this end, attracting outside talents with different backgrounds and competences to work in horticulture is crucial for further development of the sector.

Dave Chen will explain his vision on ‘the future of food’ in more detail during the upcoming EAT THIS! session, taking place on June 3 from 16.00 hrs CET onwards. In the past few years, his private equity firm Equilibrium invested more than 100 million USD in horticultural projects and there’s much more to come. Purpose driven investment and sustainability are key to his business. Curious to know more?