Rural European Parliament  
Rural European Parliament
The third edition of the European Rural Parliament (ERP) will take place between 18 and 21 October 2017 in the little village of Venhorst in the rural parts of Agrifood Capital North East Brabant-region: by the people of Venhorst, for the people of Europe (www.erp2017.eu).
 
The ERP seeks to express the voice of rural Europe, to articulate the concerns of rural people and to promote self-help and action, in partnership with civil society and governments. It grew out of the work of three European networks: the European Rural Community Alliance ERCA, the PREPARE Partnership for Rural Europe and the European LEADER Association for Rural Development ELARD. At present, the ERP is a European network of 42 national partners from all over Europe, representing 150 million inhabitants of rural communities.
 
During this four-day event a number of sessions will focus on food, design and gastronomy as innovation drivers for creating strong and resilient regions and communities. In 2018 Agrifood Capital Northeast Brabant will be celebrating their European Region of Gastronomy-year: ”We Are Food” (http://wearefood.nl/en). They want to share experiences with many others at the ERP. Agrifood Capital North East Brabant will demonstrate during the ERP that local food cultures are an important source of innovation.

Traditions developed over centuries form the vital ‘DNA’ of food cultures and regional gastronomy. Therefore, local knowledge is an important potential source of new ideas as well as innovative products and experiences. Building pride is an important element for encouraging new economic models - be that in sustainable tourism or innovation in agrifood. One workshop, in particular, will be addressing the topic of ‘downsizing food waste’ which will be high on the agenda for our region the coming year. In this workshop we learn more about food that never reaches our mouth.
The Food Waste Factory in Veghel (‘de Verspillingsfabriek’) is an inspiring experiment with an alternative approach. The Factory produces high quality food – true gastronomy – with leftover-ingredients from other food production processes. At the same time it also creates meaningful work for a considerable group of people with a distance to the labour market. Keynote speaker Mr Pieter de Boer will introduce the topic. He will make the link with the INTERREG project Food Heroes and the World Design Event at the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven starting later that week (http://www.ddw.nl/en/article/food-heroes-kicks-off).
 
The aim is to inspire other rural regions to follow this path and go home inspired. Perhaps in the future they will also become a European Region of Gastronomy, thus demonstrating the strong effect of food and gastronomy as drivers for innovation by rural communities. 

Contact:
Organizer: Province of Noord-Brabant