By Joëlla van de Griend
In-class debate on trade and food security
Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Economics, as part of the Asian Platform for Global Sustainability & Transcultural Studies (AGST), aims to contribute to sustainable development in Asia and throughout the world. Wageningen University’s Rural Sociology Group is a key partner in this platform. As a part of this partnership, Dr. Jessica Duncan has come to Kyoto University to teach a course on Global Food Security Governance.
Taking a sociological approach, the course covers a variety of angles to think about global food security governance. The course is attended by graduate students, PhD candidates and faculty members, which has contributed to rich discussions. Furthermore, amongst the participants there is a large variety of backgrounds and fields of expertise such as law, economics, development studies, business management, political science, and agricultural science with attendants coming from Asia, Europe and Africa.
One of the students attending the class is Wurihan. She decided to follow the course because of a growing interest in policy regarding food security. Before attending Kyoto University as a research student, she went to an agricultural university in China where she studied geographical information systems:
“I used to think that to ensure food security we should increase efficiency in production. But after I did some fieldwork I found it was more about policy and how this can sometimes turn out differently than policy makers intend.”
That is why she wants to learn more about food governance in order to understand how we can contribute to solutions of problems like the distribution of food and obesity.
As one of the objectives of the course is to explore the complexity of the thinking about food security, many theories and approaches are discussed and explored in class while using “framing” as a method to understand the different (often competing) perspectives.
By Joëlla van de Griend
‘Mountains covered with woods’ is used to describe the green area of Keihoku, just outside of Kyoto City. As part of the AGST program, students and faculty members visited a farming event organized by the Shinfujin Kyoto (the new Japan Women’s Association) and the Nouminren Kyoto (Japan Family Farmers Movement).
Participants transplanting rice: Our academic hosts were not afraid to get their hands and feet dirty!
This event tries to make the connection between farmers and consumers and is visited by a lot of families. We can look at it as a celebration of what the earth has given to both farmers and consumers, illustrated by the waving flags showing the text: ‘Hug the Mother Earth’. For example, one of the farmers I met told me about how he grows his rice in the village at the foot of the mountain without making use of chemicals.
One of the organizations responsible for the event, Shinfujin, is a women’s organization that aims to promote environmental protection and emancipation but is also a movement to oppose the comeback of militarism in Japan. Many of the members of this organization are young mothers who are concerned with a variety of crises that could become a threat to their children’s future. This farming event however was more a celebration than a protest, with a vibrant temporary market with products and food stalls, activities, and the possibility to experience transplanting rice plants into the rice paddies. Continue reading
Wageningen University’s School of Social Sciences (WASS) will be offering a PhD course in May and June 2017 called Gender and Diversity in Sustainable Development. Bettina Bock and Jessica Duncan, both from RSO, will lecture in this course.
Inequality lies at the center of current debates about sustainable development, from which a number of policy issues, including Sustainable Development Goals, emanate. Yet, how social (in)equality contributes to creating sustainable development often remains invisible in research. This course enables participants to recognize linkages between gender and diversity and sustainable development in a contemporary globalising world.
The topics covered in this course are:
- Introduction: key concepts in gender studies
- Trends form a historical perspective
- Economics: macro and micro perspectives
- Work and care
- Population and migration
- Food security and governance
- Environment and natural resource management
- Global politics
This course will be a seminar. We will take a highly interactive learner-centered approach that combines short lectures with group-based learning activity and discussion. A series of instructors with gender and diversity expertise from WUR and other universities will discuss the relevance of the themes discussed in our class to their own domains.
More information is available here: http://www.wur.nl/en/Education-Programmes/PhD-Programme/Graduate-Schools/Wageningen-School-of-Social-Sciences/Courses/Show-1/Gender-Diversity-in-Sustainable-Development.htm
You are all welcome to the launch of Gendered Food Practices from Food to Waste
- Wednesday 22 February 2017 / 15.00-17.00
- Impulse / Wageningen Campus, Building 115,Wageningen University
- Address: Stippeneng 2, Wageningen
There will be coffee and tea upon arrival. Guest-editors Bettina Bock and Jessica Duncan (from RSO) will give a short presentation and hand over the first copy to professor J.M. van Winter, professor emerita of medieval history, expert in food history, and main benefactor of the Yearbook of Women’s History.
Curator of the National Museum of Education Jacques Dane will give a presentation of his contribution to the volume on Domestic Science in and outside the Dutch Classroom in the period 1880-1930.
Registration: Please RSVP before 19 February to e.c.walhout ( a ) hum.leidenuniv.nl (Evelien Walhout).
About the volume
In nearly all societies gender has been, and continues to be, central in defining roles and responsibilities related to the production, manufacturing, provisioning, eating, and disposal of food. The 2016 Yearbook of Women’s History presents a collection of new contributions that look into the diversity of these gendered food-related practices to uncover new insights into the shifting relations of gender across food systems. Authors explore changing understandings and boundaries of food-related activities at the intersection of food and gender, across time and space. Look out for intriguing contributions that range from insights into the lives of market women in late medieval food trades in the Low Countries, the practices of activist women in the garbage movement of prewar Tokyo, the way grain storage technologies affect women in Zimbabwe, through to the impact of healthy eating blogs in the digital age.
Editors: Bettina Bock and Jessica Duncan (guest-editors), Eveline Buchheim, Saskia Bultman, Marjan Groot, Evelien Walhout and Ingrid de Zwarte
Participants discuss strategies to advance food sovereignty in Europe
Last week the second Nyeleni Europe forum for Food Sovereignty was held in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The Forum brought together different delegations from European countries and beyond representing producers, consumers, NGOs and researchers involved in the Food Sovereignty movement. The Forum set out create new initiatives and ties among people in opposition to the dominant food paradigm. Continue reading