I'm Assistant professor at the Rural Sociology Group of Wageningen University. Besides teaching and supervising thesis students, I'm involved in research on regenerative agriculture, food provisioning and place-based development with a particular focus on the transformative practices, joint learning and innovation and institutional reform.
Coordinator: Stichting Boerengroep(Peasant Foundation) is looking for a new coordinator starting April 1, 2023. The coordinator is a spider in the web of students, farmers, interest groups and educational institutions. The coordinator initiate activities, supports initiatives of others, and maintains the Boerengroep network. More information at https://www.boerengroep.nl/vacancy-coordinator/
A commons is a social organizational system where all interested parties participate in the collective use and care for common resources with an emphasis on open access, fair usage and long-term sustainability. While commons have received substantial scientific attention, we know little on how commons’ systems emerge and are sustained over time; in other words, the common-ing practices. The thesis investigated how forest are commoned and become the basis for building thriving communities both in rural and urban areas. It followed a case-study approach with two cases in Galicia (Spain), and one in North region of Portugal (North-western Iberian Peninsula). Methods included interviews, participant observation and a Participatory Action Research (PAR) project where people’s meaningful experiences in forests were collected and shared with the broader community to understand the role of affects in driving participation. The thesis offer understanding on why/how humans engage in caring for their places, and why is this relevant for sustainability transformations.
Abstract Regenerative agriculture is a diverse, highly contested, and rapidly developing sustainable agriculture movement. It has been lauded for its transformative potential, and criticized for its incoherence and susceptibility for corporate co-option. At the heart of regenerative agriculture is an effort to engage with soil life rather than bypass it; this ethos and the messiness of the movement indicate that a range of novel human-soil relations may emerge within this space. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with members of intermediary organizations – research institutes, consultants, and NGOs, among others– that are active in promotion and advocacy for adoption of regenerative practices in order to explore these changing human-soil relations. Interviews focused on conceptualizations of soil (life), forms of analysis and knowledge production around soils, regenerative soil management, and the larger goals of regenerative agriculture, including addressing climate change and improving the economic situation of farmers. Results were subject to narrative analysis, which indicated that respondents acknowledged the fact that soils are living, rather than inert substrates reducible to chemical and physical criteria. Soil biology was understood and engaged with to different extents, and a wide range of analytical tools were used to scrutinize soil, including microscopy, genetic testing, measurement of soil organic carbon, among others. Overall, narratives indicate that a wide range of human-soil relations can be identified within regenerative agriculture, including care, exploitation, and relatively novel mechanisms of commodification and financialization of soil life through the development of soil carbon credits. Further, results indicate that this variation is produced by differences in human approaches to understanding, analyzing, and managing soil life; different approaches to producing knowledge about soils facilitates the creation of different kinds of relations. Building on the narratives, it is argued that the human should be theoretically (re)centered in the social science study of regenerative agriculture and human-soil relations, in order to maintain a uniquely human sense of responsibility to address, among other challenges, climate change. Similarly, the role of alternative ontological outlooks on soils and nature in food system transformation is discussed.