October 25, 2017

Circular Food System: North East Brabant

Project overview

North Brabant, a Dutch province, is one of the most advanced food producing areas in the world. As it seeks to transition towards a circular state, the province took a deeper look at the dynamics within regional agriculture activities and explored the interventions that should take the most priority.

Client: Agrifood Capital

Date delivered: April 2017

Read the report


Project leader

Eva Picture 1 320x320 - Eva Gladek

Eva Gladek

Founder and CEO


Project Description

The Dutch province of North Brabant has the ambition to transform into the ‘smartest and most sustainable’ agrifood region in the Netherlands by 2020. Helping to lead this transition is AgriFood Capital, an alliance of entrepreneurs, government, and academic institutions in the region. It wants North Brabant to be known for innovation and a thriving labor market, as well as a good living and working environment. AgriFood Capital asked Metabolic to develop a framework to help realise this vision by focusing specifically on the North East of the province.


This project built on Metabolic’s extensive work on sustainable and circular agrifood chains, including a major analysis of the global food system for WWF (you can read it here). Drawing from this global understanding and recognizing that more specific principles were needed at regional level to facilitate systemic change, Metabolic created an indicator framework and conducted a metabolism analysis. We evaluated the possible interventions to achieve a sustainable state, and assessed them on feasibility and impact. Finally, we developed a practical roadmap for achieving key interventions.



The report provided a model for circular agriculture in the region, ensuring activities are aligned with the planetary boundaries and accounting for local and regional industry and consumer need. Indicators were created to assess activities against the planetary boundaries and circular economy principles, and has been developed to provide a model for how other regions around the world can apply this approach. The model for circular agriculture was based on a metabolism analysis that mapped material flows in the region, resulting in an overview of the most significant impacts stemming from food production. The report concludes with a vision that deals with these impacts and integrates the indicator framework.