Food transition in practice

Lara Sibbing translated her PhD research into a food policy fairy tale.
Sibbing during her performance last Sunday. Photo guy Ackermans

Last Saturday she performed in Loburg cafe. Lara Sibbing, who was a food policy official in Ede and part-time PhD student of Public Administration and Policy, decided to make a play about her PhD research.

In the play “Sita and the hamburger war”, Sita seeks a way to save her city, which threatens to succumb to the effects of a broken food system. On her journey, she encounters ‘cowardly politicians, brave government officials and everything in between.’


An increasing number of Dutch municipalities have food policies. During her PhD research, Sibbing investigated whether local governments succeed in putting these food policies into practice. Municipalities often formulate abstract targets without concrete measures, she concludes. This thwarts the transition towards a healthy and sustainable food system.

One of the reasons behind this effect is the food systems approach, which is popular in Wageningen, says Sibbing. ‘A great concept because it details all the elements for a sustainable food policy. But the danger in this systems-thinking is that it leads municipalities to formulate abstract goals and activities, in which they link issues such as food waste, animal welfare and environment, but fail to pinpoint the concrete issues. This renders the food policy apolitical, and difficult policy decisions are not made.’ Effective governance requires courage, she concludes.  


Sibbing aims to make her research accessible to civilians. After her play in Loburg, she engaged in a discourse with the audience on the question of what role municipalities have in the food transition. She performs in the Stingerbol Ede on 17 November. Entry tickets are 3 euros.

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