The Rural Sociology group will recruit an Assistant Professor in Agrarian Sociology (Tenure Track). For more information see: https://www.wur.nl/en/vacancy/Assistant-Professor-in-Agrarian-Sociology-chair-group-RSO-Tenure-Track-.htm
On the 25th of September, the Foodscapes cluster of the Centre for Space, Place and Society (CSPS) organised a critical food studies work shop on the food sharing economy. We invited Karin Dobernig from Vienna to talk about the research that she conducted with her colleague Karin Schanes.
Karin gave a very interesting and inspiring talk on “Collective Action Around Food Waste: Investigating the determinants and characteristics of participation in food sharing initiatives”.
After the talk there was plenty of time to discuss food sharing in more detail. We tried to link the concept of foodscape to that of food sharing, and raised and discussed various questions. For instance, to what extent is food sharing an urban phenomenon? When sharing food, who is liable and should food savers and food sharers accept responsibility? How is this organised in different countries? Also, to what extent does food sharing cross the binary opposition between consumers and producers? Who are the recipients of food sharing, and should they always be in need? There were no clear answers to these questions that can easily be reproduced here, but the discussion was insightful.
This was the first activity organised by the Foodscapes cluster. We much enjoyed the presentation and the discussions. Hoping for more inspiring meetings in the future!
On Thursday 27 September 2018 Valiz and the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture will host a programme dedicated to the launch of the book entitled ‘Flourishing Foodscapes – Designing City Region Food Systems’.
About Flourishing Foodscapes
Flourishing Foodscapes is a book about the the social and spatial organization of networks and systems of food provisioning. It explores, highlights and discusses strategies and designs for creating future-proof city region food systems by addressing the social, economic, and ecological vulnerabilities and sustainabilities of current and future foodscapes, as well as how the spatial qualities of the rural and urban landscape and its use need to adapt and change. A key argument in the book is that food not only has to do with nutrition, but that it links up with and influences a multitude of domains; from health to (eating) culture and from employment to climate change. It has a major impact on the city (especially on consumption and distribution, and, to a lesser extent, on production) and on rural areas (mainly production), but also the relations between city and countryside, close by as well as far apart. Thinking about food-related problems and challenges is becoming increasingly important. These issues influence our planet and way of life, but also our everyday existence.
Flourishing Foodscapes transcends the field of bottom-up initiatives and private projects. If we really want to design more sustainable food systems, we will have to think more structurally about changing food provisioning at different levels of scale. Flourishing Foodscapes links research, case studies and spatial design and takes a step towards a more comprehensive approach to food issues, building on inspiring practices, projects and designs from all over the world.
Programme Book Launch
The book presentation will take place on Thursday 27 September 2018, from 17.00 to 19.30 at the Academy of Architecture (Waterlooplein 211-213, Amsterdam). The programme is as follows:
- 17:00–17:05 Opening by moderator Saskia van Stein (director Bureau Europa)
- 17:05–17:10 Welcome by Madeleine Maaskant (director Academy of Architecture)
- 17:10–17:30 Introduction to the book by the editors and main authors Han Wiskerke (Professor of Rural Sociology, Wageningen University) and Saline Verhoeven (landscape architect and researcher)
- 17:30–18:00 Reactions tot the book by Froukje Idema (Programme Manager Food, municipality Ede); Martin Woestenburg (rural sociologist and journalist); Arnold van der Valk (Professor emeritus of Spatial Planning and co-founder of the Food Council of the Metropolitan Region of Amsterdam)
- 18:00–18:25 Discussion led by Saskia van Stein
- 18:25–18:30 Presentation of the first copy to Hanneke Kijne (Head of Landscape Architecture at the Academy)
- 18:30–19:30 Snacks and drinks
This programme is free of charge, but if you plan to attend please register via email@example.com
The Foodscapes cluster of the Centre for Space, Place and Society (CSPS) is pleased to announce the following workshop:
Foodscapes of the sharing economy
25 September 2018 – 13.45-17.00
Room C 62 in de Leeuwenborch (Hollandseweg 1, Wageningen)
During the recent decade, new modes of food provisioning have emerged under the guise of the sharing economy. A dominant picture of initiatives in the sharing economy is associated with platform capitalism and the gig economy. Yet, a variety of initiatives are using the tools of the sharing economy to promote sustainable consumption, thereby reducing our dependence on commercial activity and reducing the use and reliance on material possessions. This seminar will scrutinize the interconnections of the sharing economy and food, people and places. We are interested in food in the sharing economy, how exchanges are performed, by whom, and to what end. We want to provide an embodied understanding of food and place in the sharing economy. We are interested in issues of social, spatial and environmental justice, health and well-being in the sharing economy.
13.45 – 14.00 Walking in
14.00 – 14.15 Introduction
14.15 – 15.00 Karin Dobernig and Karin Schanes: Collective Action Around Food Waste: Investigating the determinants and characteristics of participation in food sharing initiatives
15.00 – 15.15 Discussion
15.15 – 15.30 Coffee break
15.30-16.30 Roundtable discussion
With Karin Dobernig, Karin Schanes, Esther Veen, Oona Morrow, Stefan Wahlen
About the foodscapes cluster:
The Foodscapes cluster brings together a variety of academic researchers and PhD candidates at Wageningen University, who are engaged in the multi-disciplinary domain of critical food studies.
Op 11 september 2018 van 13.30-15.00 verdedigd Meino Smit zijn proefschrift getiteld: De duurzaamheid van de Nederlandse landbouw, 1950-2015-2040. De verdediging is live te volgen en ook terug te kijken via weblectures.wur.nl.
Het volledige proefschrift (klik op de link) is te downloaden via WUR-Library. Hieronder de samenvatting uit het proefschrift:
Dit proefschrift gaat over de duurzaamheid van de Nederlandse landbouw. Deze is in de periode 1950 t/m 2015 sterk afgenomen. Dit als gevolg van een toename van het gebruik van energie en grondstoffen, een toename van het landgebruik en een afname van de hoeveelheid arbeid. Verder zijn de opbrengsten en de arbeidsproductiviteit veel minder gestegen dan tot nu toe werd aangenomen. Meer gebruik van energie en grondstoffen betekent ook een hogere emissie in CO2-equivalenten en als gevolg daarvan een emissiereductie die veel groter moet zijn dan in het regeerakkoord is aangegeven. De landbouw moet omschakelen naar een lage-input kringlooplandbouw. Voor het jaar 2040 is een schets gegeven van een duurzaam landbouwsysteem, dat kan voldoen aan de eisen die op basis van het akkoord van Parijs worden gesteld, voldoende voedselzekerheid biedt en een aanzienlijke vermindering geeft van de door de landbouw veroorzaakte maatschappelijke kosten.
The EU funded MSCA ITN project www.susplace.net is coming to an end in 2019 and for that matter a Final Event is organised to celebrate the results of the 15 research projects so far and the effort the project makes to further sustainability transformations as a science and as practice. One can now sign up and submit an abstract for a contribution. For more information see: www.lyyti.fi/p/susplace2019
Recently students of the Master programme Organic Agriculture (MOA) of Wageningen University launched the first edition of the MOAgazine entitled ‘Organic Times’. The magazine (Organic times online) is written and edited by MOA students and provides some insights into the programme, study and student activities and a variety of issues linked to MOA, including book reviews and organic recipes. As chair of the MOA study programme committee I have enjoyed reading the Organic Times and am proud of the time and energy the students invested in developing this magazine. It reflects the enthusiasm and commitment of this great and dedicated group of international students as well as the interdisciplinary character of the MOA programme.
Susan Drion, MSc-student Organic Agriculture, Wageningen University.
Below the Executive Summary of the MSc-thesis “Financing Future Farming: an exploration of alternative financing constructions to enhance sustainability at farm level“.
The full thesis can be downloaded from the WUR-Library by clicking on the hyperlink.
De thesis bevat ook een Nederlandse samenvatting. Zie ook haar eigen website: waardenscheppers.com
The pressing ecological and economic state of Dutch agriculture begs eagerly for the acceleration of the sustainability transition in this sector. Access to sufficient capital is a major bottleneck in this transition. Established ways of financing agriculture, i.e. via a bank loan, becomes increasingly harder. This warrants an exploration of alternative financing constructions. This research aims to study to what extent alternative financing constructions enable farmers to achieve sustainability on farm level. It aims to find out how and why these constructions work well, how they are realised and what features of possible best practice can be extracted from them. This research is limited to the context of Dutch agriculture and to financing constructions that yield monetary returns. Alternative financing constructions are defined by the underlying investment logic to create social and natural returns and by the novelty in the mechanisms used.
In this research alternative financing constructions are considered new institutional arrangements, embedded in the framework of neo-institutionalism, practice theory, new practice creation and scaling dynamics. To study the alternative financing constructions, a qualitative case based best practice approach is employed. Eight cases of alternative financing are selected, ranging from citizen participation constructions, alternative loans, business participation constructions and collaborations with institutional investors. Over the course of two months, farmers and investors directly related to the selected case sites were interviewed. The technique of crowd-sourcing was used to find cases, reach the target group and get to know the field of social financing better. Twelve blogs were written about the research process and about the interviewed farmers. Also a collaboration with communication partners was set up to make this technique more effective.
By using the grounded theory approach the data was analysed and the following findings revealed itself:
- The key feature that is the foundation of the mechanisms of nearly all alternative financing constructions is the separation of capital and business. Also farmers offered diverse returns on investment;
- The added value of the alternative financing constructions to farmers were mostly the friendly collaboration with investors, which gave them a licence to produce, and the solutions they offer to take over of farms by the next generation;
- The alternative financing constructions were products of a long build up, earlier failing and the right momentum. Farmers experienced little resistance in the process;
- Each alternative financing construction requires certain personality traits of the farmer, the latter is therefore decisive in the choice of financing. Also, the current low interest rates for saving on the bank made it easier for the alternative financing constructions to succeed.
Five features of possible best practice were extracted from the findings.
- Make use of certificates, acting as perpetual bonds;
- Make use of long term lease contracts to access land and buildings;
- Stack capital flows;
- Work with shareholders;
- Loans remain an option.
Finally, one can say that alternative financing construction do enable farmers to achieve sustainability on their farms. However, the scope is limited because novel alternative financing constructions are yet only used by their designers. Further research is required to find out for whom and under which conditions features of possible best practice are scalable, while at the same time harnessing the personal approach to investors.
Keywords: social financing, Dutch agriculture, alternative financing constructions, elements of best practice, sustainability, separating capital and business, new practice creation, scaling
The average age of farmers is steadily rising across the United States and Europe, while the proportion of young and beginning farmers declines. Challenging economic conditions, coupled with agricultural consolidation and rising costs, have led to a decrease in farm successions. Simultaneously, the popular media has reported on increasing interest in agricultural careers among those from non-farming backgrounds.
This emerging population of first generation farmers has largely been ignored by the academic literature, with only a handful of studies that suggest the ways in which these farmers differ from others. This study aims to characterize the values, practices and supply chain relations of first generation, beginning farmers (FBFs). By incorporating concepts from research on farming styles, agricultural paradigm shifts and identity, I investigate to what extent FBFs represent change in agricultural attitudes and practice. To do so, I position their farming styles between the archetypes of the productionist and agroecological paradigms. These paradigms hold specialized, commoditized and production-centric traditions in agriculture on one side of a spectrum, and ecologically oriented, community embedded alternatives on the other. I took a comparative, exploratory approach, recruiting farmers who were both first generation (did not take over a family farm), and beginning (approximately less than 10 years experience) from two countries, the Netherlands and the U.S. state of Maryland. Data collection occurred in two phases: an online survey distributed using snowball sampling, followed by semi-structured interviews with 33 participants (15 in the Netherlands; 18 in the U.S.), selected strategically to represent a diversity of survey respondents. The survey yielded 95 responses that met the inclusion criteria: 38 from the Netherlands and 57 from the United States. Most FBFs were practicing small-scale, diversified agriculture, marketing direct to consumer, and using some level of unmapped organic methods. Interviews revealed FBFs to be motivated by a search for meaningful work, and generally have a strong environmental and community ethic. These principles were balanced with a high valuation of the business of farming. FBFs faced a variety of challenges, predominantly financial constraints, access to land and labor, lack of knowledge and regulatory barriers. Their farm practices and structure were the result of a negotiation between their values and business ethic as filtered through practical constraints. The solutions they employed included small scale, low-investment configurations, direct marketing, judicious application of web-based and small farm technology, strong online and in-person networks, and collaborations to access land, share knowledge and market products. While their practices, relations and values are heterogeneous, overall FBFs represent a shift towards the agroecological paradigm.
Key Words: beginning farmers, first generation farmers, new entrants, agroecology,
farming styles, farmer identity, alternative food networks.
The full thesis From Food Forest to Microfarm can be downloaded from the WUR-Library