Deepening our roots in the places where we live

In the South Veluwe watershed in the Netherlands, we are working to strengthen the relationships between place, culture, and economy. We are fostering living cultures to improve the well-being of current and future generations, especially in the context of increasing drought, pollution, biodiversity loss, climate change and social disintegration. Defining the collective identity and dream for our bioregion, and cultivating concrete collaborations, is at the heart of what we do.

The South Veluwe bioregion

Our initiative is based in the South Veluwe watershed around the municipalities of Ede, Wageningen and Renkum. This is bordered by the national nature reserve the Veluwe in the north, the river Rhine in the south and ancient glacial hills east and west. This area is home to sandy, clay and forest soils and has had agricultural activities and experiments for millennia.

Many pioneer agroecological farms were established and flourish here, such as Veld en Beek, de Nieuw Ronde and de Hooilanden, for example. An independent association of 40 agroecological food producers under the name StreekWaar has been making an effort for several years now to strengthen biodiversity and the landscape, build living soils and maintain strong relationships with citizens. Cooperation with hotels and restaurants is growing. Together, they provide answers to water, biodiversity, and climate issues, as well as economic and cultural challenges.

Our activities

We collectively recognize the identity and dream for the basin, including by strengthening and connecting existing initiatives (e.g. StreekWaar with tourism), and we set up exemplary places for production and processing according to principles of the commons.

We work together with many other residents of our bioregion, including farmers, researchers, artists, artisans, entrepreneurs, policy makers, students and activists, following the principles of agroecology.
We also cooperate with many organizations in the watershed, including Drinkable Rivers, Wageningen University, Eetbaar Ede, Renkums Beekdal, Commonland and the EU Green Deal.

We see building affective relationships as a foundation for creating a culture of care in our bioregion. In September 2023, we brought 70 people with diverse backgrounds together at the Ommuurde Tuin in Renkum and shared food and stories from our bioregion. Together, this gave us a picture of the qualities and potential of the area. In February 2024 at Remeker Farm we looked at key elements of our far history to then look far ahead, hear from pioneers, and set intentions for the future. In the process, we listened carefully to each other and shared regional paella by the fire. Since then, we have been working to connect and strengthen various local initiatives and to weave together the collective story of our bioregion. This is how we are taking deeper roots in the South Veluwe watershed.

Our vision

Central to our work is the creation of symbiotic relationships between place, culture, and economy, in which we are not outside nature, but part of it. We are interconnected and interdependent. In our view, the foundation of life is abundance, not competition. As humans we flourish in cooperation and symbiosis: a co-creative and co-responsible collaborative process between all kinds of life forms. So that’s what our work in Stroomgebied Zuid-Veluwe is about for us; that people can play their part in fostering more life. As humans we must once again take our roles as custodians of the places where we live, just as our ancestors did and so that future generations can do the same. Starting in the places where we live.