Linking Culture and agriculture
as a strategy for a meaningful countryside.
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Castle Groeneveld, Baarn, The Netherlands The Groeneveld Forum 2008 is a two-day symposium to explore whether it is possible, or even desirable, to forge a link between culture and agriculture. The question will be examined from different perspectives in workshops and a mock court case. What would be the best way to achieve these links and what are the possible consequences? The changes in agriculture and the rapidly decreasing number of farmers are generally seen as part of a economic transition. But it can also be seen as a cultural transition with serious consequences for the rural area and the relationship between town and countryside. We already see how food production and the experience of landscape and nature are becoming increasingly removed from people's own experience and understanding. Their impression of the countryside has largely been reduced to the mostly nostalgic images produced by marketeers. Many observers now see increasing alienation between people and farming, food and nature. At the same time we see a strong need among people to fing=d some sence of their origin. People want to see coherence instead of isolation, experience wonder at how things grow instead of taking satisfaction from a guarantedd annual yield. Changes in agriculture and the search for our origins are taking place in a global context. Can sustainability, in the sence of respect for nature and invironment, be advanced by re-connecting culture and agriculture? The Groeneveld Forum will form a much needed platform for these themes to be brought to the heart of policy making. On Monday the 10th of November, different workshops will take place. In the workshop New Creative Rural Partnerships Wapke Feenstra gave a lecture on some of her projects ('The Best Place' and 'Former Farmland') related to the subject. Other guest speakers at this workshop were: Fernando Garcia Diaz artist/farmer Plataforma Rural Madrid, Spain Richard Povall Director Aune Head Arts England Malin Vrijman KULTIVATOR Sweden Michael Hart Chairman Rural Cultural Forum England about the host Kasteel Groeneveld is owned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Kasteel Groeneveld now has the task of developing itself into a dynamic outpost of the Minitry; an interface between policy and society. Its most important task is to contribute to the debate on the shaping of the cultural landscape in the Netherlands.