Food security in an urbanizing society

Professor Han Wiskerke will be participating in a very interesting and innovative course about food security in an urbanizing society. The course is being offered by Wageningen University’s  Centre for Development Innovation and will take place 2 June 2014 until Fri 13 June 2014.

Course objectives

  • understand the basic premises of the metropolitan food cluster, sub-sector and spatial planning approaches , and how these can be integrated to ensure nutritious food to all strata of rural and urban communities;
  • be able to understand and intervene in complex rural-urban planning processes from an integrated, holistic and multi-stakeholder perspective;
  • have strengthened skills to develop and facilitate multi-stakeholder processes.

Target audience

Participants need to have several years of professional work experience in one of the following fields: rural and/or urban planning, local sub-sector, agribusiness cluster development and/or spatial planning, rural/urban livelihoods governance, sustainable development or other relevant areas. Proficiency in English is a must.

For more information, see: 

Rationale for the  course

Due to continuing rural-urban migration, over 50% of the world’s population now lives in densely populated urban areas. They rely heavily on all sorts of markets for their daily food needs. These are supplied through overstressed, complex agro-logistical networks that often fail. This course focuses on how rural production and urban market systems can be integrated such that rural and urban communities can access nutritious food that is both affordable and acceptable.

Agricultural production and markets from a spatial perspective

With increasing urbanisation, rural-urban food systems are essential in ensuring food security. The Metropolitan Food Cluster (MFC) approach, in which food production and market systems are integrated into a holistic, systemic and spatial manner, is slowly gaining a foothold in the rural and urban planning agendas. The model incorporates innovative change processes with technical, social and cultural aspects in an adaptive manner, addressing the challenges of complex food systems.

This new course focuses on how MFC and other innovative approaches can be adapted to better facilitate rural-urban integration, and to enhance food chains such that access to nutritious, adequate quantities of food to urban dwellers can be assured while sustaining the viability of the of the production areas.

In this exciting, highly interactive course, participants will get access to the latest concepts developed within the wider Wageningen UR community and brokered to them by the leading experts themselves. Through this network of excellence, participants will be fully acquainted with the new, innovative but very practical MFC approach. This flexible approach integrates territorial based sub-sector and spatial planning models with agri-logistical network and cluster planning concepts.

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About FoodGovernance

Jessica Duncan is Associate Professor in Rural Sociology at Wageningen University (the Netherlands). She holds a PhD in Food Policy from City University London (2014). Jessica’s main research focus concerns the practices and politics of participation in food policy processes, particularly the relationships (formal and non-formal) between governance organizations, systems of food provisioning, the environment, and the actors engaged in and across these spaces. More specifically, she maps the diverse ways that actors participate in policy-making processes, analysing how the resulting policies are shaped, implemented, challenged, and resisted, and she theorizes about what this means for socio-ecological transformation. Participation and engagement is at the core of her approach. In turn, she is active in a broad range of local, national and international initiatives with the aim of better understanding participation processes with a view towards transitioning to just and sustainable food systems. She is involved in several research projects including ROBUST, HortEco & SHEALTHY. Jessica is published regularly in academic journals. She recently co-edited the Handbook on Sustainable and Regenerative Food Systems (2020). Her other books include Food Security Governance: Civil society participation in the Committee on World Food Security (2015) and an edited volume called Sustainable food futures: Multidisciplinary solutions (2017). Jessica has received several awards for her teaching and in 2017 she was awarded Teacher of the Year for Wageningen University (shortlisted again in 2018 and 2019, longlisted in 2020). With the funds she has received for these awards she launched a story-telling workshop for students and faculty, with storytelling trainer, Emma Holmes. Jessica is on the Editorial Board of the journal Sociologia Ruralis and is an advisor to the Traditional Cultures Project (USA). She is a member of the Wageningen Young Academy and sits on the Sustainability Board of Experts at Wageningen University.