Supporting ecosystem resilience by eating seasonal and local food

By Malin Böhne and Yana Mechielsen of the Green Office Food Committee

One of the main issues with the current globalized food system is that it focuses on specialization and monocultures, which, by definition, represent the exact opposite of diversity. These monocultures are heavily reliant on agrochemicals which actively degrade soils, destroying habitats, or simply kill off plants and animals which are considered ‘pests’. Eating foods which are seasonal and local means that the crops can be grown more in harmony with the local ecosystem and alongside other plant and animal species, rather than in opposition to them. It also means that ecologically rich environments in other pieces of the world are not being chopped down or burnt to grow the food we consume here in the Netherlands.

Recipe: Swiss chard risotto

With the recipe below we hope to inspire you to spice up your daily meals with some Dutch players. We have taken risotto (the rice of which is grown in Italy) and put a local twist on the dish by using swiss chard alongside vegetables easily grown in the Netherlands such as onions. Enjoy!


  • 1 small to medium sized onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced
  • 250g risotto rice
  • 150ml white wine
  • 1L vegetable stock
  • 200g young swiss chard leaves, cut in stripes or squares
  • Salt & pepper
  • 40g parsley, chopped



  1. Peel and dice the onion and fry it with a bit of (olive) oil in a tall pot.
  2. Add the risotto rice and deglaze it with white wine and let it simmer for 1 min. Slowly add vegetable stock so that the rice is always covered with it. Let it cook and add more stock again and again. After 25 min the rice should be done.
  3. Meanwhile, peel and dice the garlic and wash the swiss chard leaves, dry them with a towel. Stack them all on top of each other and cut them in stripes or squares. In an extra pan fry the garlic for 1 min in olive oil and add the young leaves.
  4. Mix the swiss chard with the risotto, add salt and pepper and garnish it with the parsley.
  5. Add vegan parmesan cheese (see below) on top.


Vegan parmesan


  • 100g cashews (also broken ones possible - mostly cheaper)
  • 1 tbsp yeast flakes
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • Garlic powder


  1. Add all the ingredients in a tall container and blend it.
  2. Store it in an airtight container for several months.