HABITUS | enabling healthy habitat development is a specialised consultancy with over 25 years of experience. Habitus is dedicated to creating healthy living environments – habitats. HABITUS has experience working on all levels of scale, stretching from rural areas to urban city centres, from neighbourhoods to business parks, and from companies to the human body – the ultimate living environment. HABITUS distinghuises itself by its focus on the relevance of agriculture and food for these habitats. It initiates, catalyses, facilitates and designs learning processes that enhance the vitality of these living environments, and that accelerate the transition towards a healthier agrofood system in an urbanizing world.
HABITUS focusses on Green Cities, Urban Agriculture, and Healthy Food. A major area of work currently is Personalised Food, a potentially disruptive innovation feeding sustainable transitions in both the health and agrofood sector. See below for a short animation that captures the essence and the challenge of Personalised Food (available in English and German).
“Our habitus is crucial for our planet – our habitat. Our habitus: that is the way in which we face and frame the world, our opinions, our values, our personality traits, our organisational structures, networks, codes, conducts, actions and societal design. But above all: our everyday consciousness of the fact that indeed it matter show we behave and relate to the other, to the place we live and work. And that we want to be responsible for that. That makes the difference between lifeless and a lively planet, between a brooding and an entrepreneurial region, between a beautiful street and a cold, anonymous street, between a dead house and a house full of love and warmth. Between am impaired and a radiant body. It matters, at all levels of scale.“
HABITUS was created by Gaston Remmers. Gaston was trained as a rural sociologist (1998, Wageningen UR), with an agro-ecological background in sustainable landuse (MSc, 1990). Gaston has extensive experience with project development, process design and facilitation and research in the Netherlands and abroad (Mexico, Greece, Spain, Eastern-Europe). He is especially gifted in connecting leadership at different scales (citizens, entrepreneurs, local, regional, national). Over the past 10 years, he has done extensive work reframing and reconnecting the urban and the rural domain, mainly through Communities of Practice and new integral entrepreneurship. Gaston wrote several books issued by leading innovative think tanks. Gaston is multilingual.
“I collaborated with landscape architects, farmers, cultural heritage specialist, planners, citizens, scientists, policy makers, activistst, medical professionals and patients. The purpose was invariably to create a breakthrough in complex, multistakeholder processes. My unique contribition is to destill, out of the contradictions and fuzziness, clarity and a workable red thread, with a view on an attainble future and tangible goals and projects.”
Between 2010 and 2014 I held the Chair of Eco-effective entrepreneurship in Urban Environments at CAH Vilentum Almere University of Applied Sciences (www.kcgroen.nl ). In 2012 I faced cancer. This has strongly impulsed my development as a professional and as a person. We matter as human beings, we make a difference. Leadership is not invested in a role. Let’s not endlesly talk, but take action.
Since 2013 I am volunteering as a Patient Advocate for Inspire2Live, an organisation that inspires people (patients, doctors, researchers) to collaborate in order to get cancer under control and live happy lives in harmony with cancer. (www.inspire2live.org)
In 2014 I co-founded the Platform Patients and Food Netherlands (www.patientenvoeding.nl). Its central mission is to make food count as an acknowledged medical health intervention and prevention strategy. Platform Patient and Food is a non-profit organization, driven by patient advocates of diseases of all strands.
Since 2014 HABITUS is partner in OSA, the Almere Development Centre on Urban Farming, a collaboration between Wageningen University, CAH Vilentum University of Applied Sciences, Flevoland Developmental Agency and Engineering Consultancy Witteveen+Bos. (www.os-almere.nl ).
National daily newspaper TROUW included me in their 2016 Sustainable TOP 100. This is a list, compesed by an independent jury, with the 100 most influential people in The Netherlands regarding sustainability and nature, according to 3 criteria: impact, innovation and broad vision.
Publications and videos
Some recent English language publications:
Personalised Food: the role of patient organisations as emergent critical change agents in the food system (2014)
Building cultural repertoire for urban agriculture (2011)
The value of food: crushed between evidence based and ignorance (2015)
See below for a short animation on the challenges and core issues of Personalised Food. Very useful to spark debate and ignite new perspectives. It was produced by InnovationNetwerk, a Dutch broker on innovations in agro and green, SIGN (innovation broker in horticulture) and HABITUS. The animation is based on an appraisal of the business potential of Personalised Food in the Netherlands, funded by the Amsterdam Chambre of Commerce, province of Flevoland and CAH Vilentum Almere University of Applied Sciences. The appraisal was led by Gaston Remmers in a double role as professional and Patient Advocate at Inspire2Live and Platform Patient and Food. Full report (in Dutch) downloadable at www.habitus.nu/personalised-food.