Deepening our roots in the places where we live

In the South Veluwe catchment area, we connect cultures and economies to our place. We take the principles of agroecology as our starting point. In this way, we take deeper root in the area where we live.

This is bringing residents from different cultures, ages and backgrounds together. They are grandparents, parents, children, teachers and students. They are farmers, researchers, entrepreneurs, cooks, artisans, activists, artists, policymakers, students – and they have many other roles.

In a world of extraction and disintegration, we rediscover from our deep past ways of collective care. We apply them in today’s world. In doing so, we cultivate resilience for the well-being of future generations, recognising the interdependence of all of life.

The South Veluwe bioregion

The South Veluwe bioregion incorporates the Ede, Wageningen, Rhenen and Renkum. The landscape and culture have been shaped by the glacial hills and the river Rhine, and the resulting differences in altitude and water flows. Some of the most resilient agricultural practices began here thousands of years ago thanks to glacial formations and soil diversity. This is one of the oldest bio-cultural areas in the Netherlands.


From the Ice Age to the Romans, the bioregion was a thriving area with a mix of hunting-gathering and forestry. Ancient burial mounds and remnants of Celtic fields where grains such as emmer wheat, buckwheat and spelt were grown, are still visible and bear witness to this. 7000 years ago, these grains were brought by migrants from the fertile crescent, now known as Turkey and surrounding areas. It was a time when people still knew how to live in symbiosis with nature and understood their roles as custodians of their place. Their actions were based on interdependence and community spirit.


About 2,000 years ago, the Romans came to conquer the area. Even though they eventually retreated south of the Rhine, this was a pivotal moment in colonialism. At this point, we began to lose our plant knowledge, our territorial economies, our collective role as guardian of our place, and the spirituality associated with it. This devolved into a growing culture of individualisation, extractivism, competition and scarcity that persists to this day.

Back to the future

Life in our basin is threatened by climate change, drought, pollution, loss of living soils and biodiversity and growing social conflict. Our place and the world around us are facing devastation, disintegration and despair.

However, in our basin, a considerable reservoir remains of ancient knowledge, practices and places that resonate with all life. Not without reason are many pioneering agroecological farms located in the bioregion. Many inhabitants and organisations in the basin are engaged in ecology, agriculture, healthcare, sports, education and culture. By connecting these within a collective story, we can once again create a culture that serves life.


For us, building affective relationships is the basis of care for our place and each other. We connect cultures and economies through the principles of agroecology. In doing so, together we offer answers to water, biodiversity and climate issues, as well as to our economic and cultural challenges. In this way, we take deeper root in the area where we live.

Some 150 people from the bioregion are actively involved in this process. These are people from diverse backgrounds, young and old and with roots in all corners of the world. In 2023 and 2024, these people met several times. We shared stories from our catchment area to get a picture of its qualities and potentials. We went far back in history to be able to look far ahead, hear from pioneers and set intentions for the future. We drew up an action plan with six lines of action.

Since then, we have been building a culture of care in our catchment area in various ways. One way we are doing this is by strengthening and connecting local initiatives within a larger story. We are also shaping a territorial economy that serves community spirit and all life.

A major role is played by a bioregonial cooperative linked to a collective processing facility and a bioregional fund. We are setting up new initiatives for education with and about nature in our basin. Artists depict the urgency and dream of a culture of care. And we connect exemplary places in, for example, agriculture, care, culture, education and sports. As residents, we thus take back our role as collective guardians of our place. This is how we are taking deeper roots in the South Veluwe bioregion.