In October 2021, the Danish government announced that it was allocating 1 billion kroner or 168 million euro to ramp up plant-based food production. This is one of the largest investments into plant-based by any country to date. Join me and Rune-Christoffer Dragsdahl, the Secretary General of The Vegetarian Society of Denmark, as we discuss the details of the agreement and what it means for the future. It’s not just about politics, it’s also about culture, history, and relationships.
- 9:30 The history and cultural significance of vegetarianism
- 19:00 How the Vegetarian Society of Denmark got started
- 42:00 Details of the agreement
- 56:00 Tips for other countries looking to do something similar
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Analisa Winther, Nordic FoodTech 1:58
Hi Rune-Christoffer. You are the Secretary General of the Vegetarian Society of Denmark. Today, we’re going to discuss this fund for plant-based foods that recently launched in Denmark. The fund is for 168 million euro and is the largest investment in plant-based research and development by any EU country to date, which is kind of really cool. But before we dive into that, I think we should start with a little bit of your backstory and who you are like, when did you first become a vegetarian? Are you even a vegetarian?
Rune-Christoffer Dragsdahl, Vegetarian Society of Denmark 2:32
I was born into a vegetarian family. In Denmark, we have a kind of boarding school for adults called højskole. It sounds like high school, but it’s really for lifelong education with all sorts of courses possible. There are like a hundred of them in Denmark. My father founded such a school back in the 1950s after the Second World War. That became an alternative place really inspiring people on different visions of society, which also included visions for food and agriculture as well. So, I grew up in a place that was different than much of society with a very open mindset. They decided to serve vegetarian food as a way to ensure that people’s minds were also kept open regarding what they were eating.
Analisa Winther, Nordic FoodTech 3:26
And for people listening that are not familiar with what a højskole is, can you just explain that a little bit more? Why is that so interesting and what was the alternate vision for society they held?