I'm Assistant professor at the Rural Sociology Group of Wageningen University. Besides teaching and supervising thesis students, I'm involved in research on multifunctional agriculture, food provisioning and place-based development. My specific angle is transformative capacity, joint learning and innovation and institutional reform
Woman Maize Traders in Dar es Salaam, source Marc Wegerif
In this new article Marc Wegerif and Paul Hebinck show how small-scale and interdependent actors produce food and get it to urban eaters at a city feeding scale without large vertically- or horizontally-integrated corporate structures. The research from Dar es Salaam, a city of over 4.5 million people, reveals a ‘symbiotic food system‘ that is an existing alternative to the globally dominant agri-business model. Importantly, it can and does deliver at scale and in a way that better responds to the needs of people in poverty; both food eaters and food producers. Neither is the symbiotic food system static, it is growing in response to the needs of the city, but it does not grow through the popular notion of ‘scaling-up’, rather it grows through a much more equitable process of replication. The article gives particular attention to the functioning of market places and how new actors enter into the food system. These reveal that more important to the system than competition are various forms of collaboration based around symbiosis as a core ordering principle. Moreover, the paper shows that the symbiotic food system connects in many, often unexpected, ways the urban and rural spaces in Tanzania. There is much to learn from such a system which develops without significant support from the state or other agencies.
Also published in this Special Issue: Theorizing Agri-Food Economies by Jan Douwe van der Ploeg, discussing how agri-food economies evolve over time. A central thesis of the paper is that different theoretical representations not only reflect the differences in agro-economies and their developmental tendencies, but are also important drivers that actively shape the trajectories that they describe.
This year’s ESRS Autumn School will explore the theory and practice of researching globalization in rural context with a programme led by Michael Woods and the research team from the European Research Council GLOBAL-RURAL project at Aberystwyth University. The theme will examine key aspects of globalization as experienced in rural localities in both the global north and the global south, including agri-food globalization, global economic restructuring, international migration, transnational tourism, cultural globalization and responses to global environmental change, as well as how rural communities and individuals respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by these processes. The Autumn School is aimed at PhD students working on relevant issues in social science disciplines at universities and research institutes in Europe.
The PhD-thesis analysed how the activities and experiences of different actor groups involved in the implementation of the home-grown aspects of the Ghana school feeding programme enabled as well as constrained local food procurement that was expected to link the school feeding programme to local agricultural development. While the primary objective of any school feeding programme is first and foremost to provide adequate and nutritious food to school children, efforts at employing the power of procurement under home-grown school feeding to benefit local agricultural development have been considered as ‘win-win’ in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in developing countries like Ghana. The assumptions that underpin these ‘win-win’ notions of home-grown school feeding, however, ignore the socio-cultural relationships that anchor the everyday activities and experiences of the actors involved in the implementation of the programme. The thesis, therefore, conceptualized home-grown school feeding as a problem of embeddedness and showed how socio-cultural relationships in the activities and experiences of school level governance actors, school food caterers, local food traders and smallholders enabled as well as constrained local food procurement efforts.
The sub-department Sociology & Anthropology of Development of the Social Sciences department of Wageningen University invited two key note speakers for a seminar on Foreign Investment in African Agriculture: Prof. Kojo Amanor (University of Ghana) and Prof. Sergio Schneider (University Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil). The two speakers will specifically highlight the role of China and Brazil.
Prof. Kojo Amanor will present an overview of foreign investments in the agricultural sector in Africa. A specific focus will be on investments from BRIC countries, notably from China and Brazil. Prof. Amanor will debate the new roles of China and Brazil in the context of their own political economies, and wider global trends of geopolitical restructuring. Prof. Amanor has published widely on African Agriculture and co-edited a Special Issue of World Development (Vol. 18, 2016) on foreign invest-ment in African agriculture.
Prof. Sergio Schneider will present an analysis of whether and how Brazilian ideas about family farming and rural development have been adopted in African countries, mostly in Mozambique. Prof. Schneider has published widely on issues related to rural development, family farming and land reform in Brazil.
Venue: Wednesday June 1, 2016; 14.00-17.00 in room C67, in the Leeuwenborch building.
On the 25th of April the Wageningen University will host the event “AGROECOLOGY – bridging science, practice, movement. With key speakers Pablo Tittonell and Irene Maria Cardoso. Moreover there will be dance, local food, music and much more! AGROECOLOGY – bridging science, … Continue reading →
March 17 2016 IPES-Food (Twitter @IPESfood) launched a three-year process of reflection and research entitled: Towards a Common Food Policy for the European Union. IPES-Food will convene scientists, civil society groups, grassroots organisations and policy-makers from various governance levels in order to identify the policy tools that would be needed to deliver sustainable food systems in Europe. Kick-off meeting will be on April 17 in the European Parliament. A concept note Towards a Common Food Policy for the EU can be downloaded. Olivier De Schutter, co-chair of IPES-Food, will lead the process and explained the need for an EU food policy in an address to the European Economic and Social Committee on March 11th in a video:
The SUSPLACE consortium bids you a hearty welcome to our newly launched website http://www.sustainableplaceshaping.net. SUSPLACE is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Commission that explores the full potential of place-shaping practices for sustainable development. SUSPLACE officially kicked-off on October 1, 2015 in Wageningen, The Netherlands and will last till September 30, 2019. The overall aim of the project…
Next to the plenary programme there will be 60 workshops in four parallel sessions on four themes: 1. Agroecology, soil & permaculture; 2. Short chains and urban farming; 3. Fair agriculture and trade policies; 4. Access to land and land rights. You can download the full programme and guidelines on how to register yourself. There is a special programme for kids, so you can take them along.
The plenary programme offers inspiring key note speakers from home and abroad: e.g. Irene Cardoso (Chair of the Brazilian Agroecology Association, Professor of Soil Science), Jyoti Fernandes (farmer and member of La Via Campesina Europe), Sieta Keimpema (Dutch Dairymen Board), Jonathan Karpathios (Greek- Dutch chef, food blogger and gardener), Olivier De Schutter (IPES-Food), Jocelyn Parot (Urgenci), Maryam Rahmanian (FAO) and Jan Douwe van der Ploeg (Wageningen University).
Reclaim the Seeds is a special co-event on Saturday, from 10.00-17.00 in the Forum building.
The Rural Sociology Group supports the Food Otherwise Conference. Jan Douwe van der Ploeg (professor Transition Studies) contributes on Saturday with an overall reflection and convenes a workshop on ‘Gebiedscooperaties: zelfsturing en autonomie’ with speakers from the Northern Frisian Woodlands and Province of Friesland.
By Marc Wegerif. PhD-candidate at the Rural Sociology Group, Wageningen University and carrying out research on food provisioning in Dar es Salaam. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
It was a Sunday afternoon, I sat at a table drinking beer and eating a grilled goat’s leg with Larry and Samuel. We were at the Pugu cattle market on the edge of Dar es Salaam and my companions were and are meat traders, butchers I suppose, there to buy some cattle. Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s largest city with a fast growing population of around 4.5 million making it a major market for animals from across the country. From our table in the shade we could see groups of cattle and observe negotiations going on and the odd fight between bulls and arguments between traders. Continue reading →