Heavy fog clouds limit our visibility and yet we must move forward

The foggy unexplored polders of the education and food system limit visibility ahead and make it difficult to pioneer and effect change. Joszi Smeets cycles through a foggy polder and reflects on the food changers who do step through the fog.
Published on Dec. 15, 2022
Food Hub colleagues walk along the dike with a gray sky.

People in the food transition

Mid-December, the days are short and dark and heavy clouds of fog cover the polder I cycle through each morning on my way to a new day. The fog limits my vision and is also present within me, like a cotton wool cloud lying over my thoughts. The polder is quiet at this time of year, devoid of birds and bees, the only loud ones present are the geese. While cycling, I think of an opinion article Marieke Creemers shared with me this week.


Petra Verdonk, associate professor at the Free University of Amsterdam, gives a statement of support in newspaper Trouw to the striking students who no longer want to be educated for a broken system. Market thinking in education has created heavy clouds of fog in her sector, according to Verdonk. That fog occupies so much space that it deprives many teachers and educators of the view ahead. Thus, they no longer see clearly that they are educating and preparing students for a market that offers them no future prospects, indeed, contributes to killing that future.


I recognize this in my industry. Many a food professional has been trained in an old system. Bigger barns, even more efficient business models and growth as a sacred commodity. Fortunately, more and more food and agri educators are embracing the food transition. Still, as a food professional who wants to operate off the beaten path, your prior education is often insufficient. Moreover, you end up with your food idea in an infrastructure that is outdated.


No technology yet exists to make your product, and existing regulations not made for you limit your options. There is no chain to properly bring your food to the consumer. Simple communication about the value you add is lacking and does not lead to an appropriate premium price. You want to create a future-proof food system, but a food transition has not yet taken place.

Joszi Smeets teaches personal leadership training to a group.

Pioneering in foggy unexplored polders takes so much energy that your faith is tested.

More often than not, pioneering in foggy unexplored polders takes so much energy that your faith is tested. People at the controls of our current food system have been tasked with changing it, but the heavy clouds of fog from the delusion of the day limit the view ahead. I find it challenging to break through this. After all, when you make time to train for a new system you encounter many unanswered questions. Although the outcome is still uncertain, it helps you move forward. After all, learning takes a lifetime, especially in times of change.


At Food Hub, we create innovative food education. For professionals, entrepreneurs and students who still want to move forward in that fog because they want to contribute to a future-proof food system. In our education you will find handholds and theoretical frameworks to analyze change, this helps to zoom out on a transition you are part of yourself. Skills like reframing, prototyping and pitching validate your idea and make you more solid and resilient as a professional. Moreover, you meet peers, from whom you can learn, on whom you can lean and with whom you can exchange.


On January 11, we kick off our training year with a group training Personal Leadership in Agri Food, followed by a comprehensive online training full of tools you can use to stay on course in the fog. We will meet in Theaterwerkplaats Roest, which, although located in the foggy polder, is atop the dike so you can see clearly and far ahead over the Waal and the many tomes of geese flying overhead. I invite you to look ahead into the new year together.