Social Capital and Fisheries participation in Marine Spatial Planning in Orkney – MSc-thesis Yanick Bakker

By Yanick Bakker, MSc International Development Studies.

MSc-thesis Social Capital and Fisheries participation in Marine Spatial Planning in Orkney, Scotland (complete thesis can be downloaded).

In the autumn of 2016, I spent three months on the Orkney Islands in Scotland, where I delved into the worlds of inshore shellfish fisheries and marine spatial planning. Marine spatial planning is a relatively new tool for marine governance designed to manage the use of marine space while minimizing user-user and user-environment conflicts. The marine environment around the Orkney Islands is an important natural asset for the island communities. The waters are used for recreation and transportation, they provide fresh sea foods and are a central part of the islands’ ecosystem, identity and diverse livelihoods. Since 2010, the inshore waters around the Orkney Islands and the North East coast of Scotland have also become sites for marine renewable energy developments. Controversy over the allocation of marine space for these developments, have led to the set-up of a pilot marine spatial plan for the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters.

Writing this thesis, I was curious to see how fishermen relate to this new way of looking at and giving direction to the development of marine space. As the waters in which they fish and the fish stocks they target are central resources for fisher communities, access to these resources is vital for their survival. Not only do new marine developments create concerns for sustainability, the notion of spatial planning at sea also causes concern for decreased mobility and consumption of space among fishermen. Taking community resilience theory as a starting point, I have focused on the use of community social capital in fisheries’ engagement with marine spatial planning in Orkney.

Social capital refers to practices, values and sets of norms found within different forms of social networks (or communities) which can contribute to the collaboration, functioning and collective action of the network. Social capital can be produced within a community (bonding), between different kinds of communities (bridging) or across scales and hierarchical structures (linking). Community resilience theory assumes that community members can act as agents of change, whereby they use different strategies to ensure the survival of the community in face of change. For example by engaging in social relation within and beyond the boundaries of the community to mobilize resources or gain power.

By conducting qualitative interviews with fishermen, representatives of fisher organizations, researchers and policy makers, I have gained insight in the different ways in which the Orkney inshore shellfish fisher community employs and continues to develop its community social capital in order to collaborate, mobilize resources to generate information to reframe the definition and formal representation of marine space and to gain power in (future) marine spatial planning negotiations.

Although social capital seems to be an enabling factor for participation in policy making, this research has shown that it is not a community asset which can be readily mobilized. Having social capital, does thus not equal having agency to act. Seeing the participatory sphere as one of unequal power, stakeholders’ ability to gain influence in governance processes is influenced by institutional limiting and facilitating factors. Social organization of fishermen in fisher organizations has shown to be an important enabling factor for participation in marine spatial planning, in Orkney.

 

SCORAI Working Group on Community, Collective Action, and Alternative Pathways calls for new participants

By Flora Sonkin, Jordan Treakle and Robert Orzanna,

A diverse group of scholars participated past summer in a series of special sessions on the theme of “Re-embedding the Social: New Modes of Production, Critical Consumption, and Alternative Lifestyles” that was part of the annual conference of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics held at the University of California Berkeley. In the aftermath of the conference there was considerable interest in trying to maintain momentum and extend the circle of participation. Continue reading

Exploring Consumer-Producer Relationships and Consumer Involvement Practices in AFN in Oldenburg

Cover Prause

MSc-thesis by Katharina Prause, MOA student Wageningen University

June 2016 Katharina Prause completed her MSc-thesis for the Master of Organic Agriculture of Wageningen University. The full thesis is available here. Below an abstract of her thesis. Continue reading

Food growing practices in rural Hungary – vlog about MSc thesis by Zsolt Varga

Zsolt Varga, student Master of Development and Rural Innovation, made a video blog about his MSc-thesis research to what extend people in rural Hungary still grow their own food.

Farm Experience Internship 2015

By Lucie Sovová and Elske Hageraats (FEI coordinators ‘Stichting Boerengroep’).

Farm Experience Internship 2015

Farm Experience Internship 2015

The Farm Experience Internship (FEI) is a 3ECTS summer course on agroecology that offers the students to get hands on experience from organic and bio-dynamic farms in the Netherlands. This year it took place from 20th of July till 14th of August. The main organizer of the course was Stichting Boerengroep with the academic support of the Rural Sociology Group. Continue reading

Future perspectives for farmers in Amstelland – Michelle Steggerda

By Michelle Steggerda, MSc Organic Agriculture Wageningen University

Amstelland - SteggerdaFrom March till July 2015 I’ve done my internship at the research institute Alterra. Alterra is part of Wageningen University and Research Centre and specializes in the ecology, the spatiality and the governance of green spaces. My assignment was to conduct a research about the future perspectives for farmers in Amstelland, a peri-urban but still predominant agricultural area located south of Amsterdam. This was part of a larger project for the Wageningen UR Science Shop on behalf of the civil society organisation Stichting Beschermers Amstelland. Continue reading

Best practices in nutrition-sensitive landscapes, Zambia – MSc-thesis Minke Stadler

By Minke Stadler, MSc Organic Agriculture

Below a summary of my MSc-thesis Productivity in Nutrition-Sensitive Landscapes; 
Evaluating agricultural best practices, mindset and social values systems in Barotse floodplain, Zambia.

Best agricultural practices in Kapanda, Zambia

Best agricultural practices in Kapanda, Zambia

Nutrition-sensitive landscapes address the relationship between agriculture, nutrition and environment. Increasing farm productivity and diversification of nutritious food crops are key issues in agricultural development, as improved productivity and diversification provide opportunities to reduce poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition. Adoption of new practices is one, out of many, key issues to help improving food and nutrition security. Farmers’ mindsets and social values systems are therefore important, as people interact with their environment and decide what and how to farm.

Can development be taught?…  No. It can only be learnt. (Clapham, 1996)

The study was part of the CGIAR Research Programs on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) and Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH). The aim was to develop a better understanding of the mindset and socio-cultural aspects that influence the relations between nutritious food production and landscape, while studying successes. The underlying hypothesis is that: “Geographical location and position in the landscape results in different mindsets and values systems, which in turn influence agricultural practices and adoption strategies.” Continue reading

‘Gij zult participeren’: Een discoursanalyse van moestuin-projecten voor minima in Nederland (MSc-thesis)

Door Monique Jongenburger (Boerefijn) – MSc-student International Development Studies

Vijf jaar Internationale Ontwikkelingsstudies in Wageningen hebben me kritisch gemaakt op ontwikkelingshulp en interventie. Worden de deelnemers van projecten serieus genomen? Ik was dan ook geboeid door de uitzending van EenVandaag over moestuin-projecten voor minima in Nederland: “Geef geen geld maar groenten”. Kunnen Nederlandse ‘armen’ niet met geld omgaan? Ik besloot dat ik dit onderwerp verder wilde onderzoeken. Dit leidde tot de onderzoeksvraag van mijn thesis: Welk discours leeft er bij de initiatiefnemers van moestuin-projecten voor minima in Nederland over minima?

Om mijn vraag te beantwoorden heb ik een discoursanalyse toegepast. Ik heb me hierbij gebaseerd op de theorie en methoden van Foucault en de politicologen Bacchi en Yanow. Voor de analyse heb ik documenten verzameld over de projecten en bij zeventien initiatiefnemers een semi-gestructureerd interview afgenomen.

In heel Nederland bleken soort gelijke projecten te zijn opgekomen: voedseltuinen, minimatuinen en volkstuintjes voor minima. Al snel bleek dat de projecten in de eerste instantie op elkaar lijken maar verschillende doelen hebben. Dit leidde tot een typologie van vier soorten projecten: de voedselbank-tuin, de duurzaamheid-tuin, de dagbesteding-tuin en voedselzekerheid-tuin. De initiatiefnemers presenteren elk een eigen probleem waar hun tuinproject een oplossing voor is; een tekort aan groenten bij de voedselbank, afstand tussen mensen en voedsel, inactiviteit van minima en te dure groenten. Continue reading

Agro-ecology in practice: Farm Experience Internship 2015 – get enrolled!

By Elske Hageraats, Msc. Biology and Msc. Development and Rural Innovation, WUR.

There is a battle for ‘truth’ (Foucault, 1976) and this fight for independent research and education is still going strong: be inspired by the story of the FEI

FEI 2014 LuizaFor my internship I have organised the Farm Experience Internship (FEI) 2014. The FEI is a international summer course at the Wageningen University for students and non-students, intended to bring theoretical knowledge from the University with practical skills and knowledge from farmers. Wageningen University students can get 3 ects credits for their participation in the FEI. Above you can see one of the FEI 2014 participants, Luiza from Brazil, harvesting ‘rainbow carrots’ in the Netherlands. Are you also interested in growing your own food, discovering local knowledge and practices on organic farms in the Netherlands? Do you want to learn about permaculture, agro-ecology and sustainable food systems? Would you like to interact and discuss with farmers to find creative, innovative ways of farming? Then this course is what you’re looking for! Join as participant, as farmer or organise the course at your own university as your internship. Check our website, or send us a mail: farmexperienceinternship@gmail.com.

Continue reading

Quality characteristic of TSG Farmhouse Gouda cheese is farm specific – Msc-thesis tested micro and meso terroir models

By Marcell Kustos, Master Food Technology Wageningen University (marcell.kustos@wur.nl)

MSC-thesis: The authority of novel terroir models: Case study on quality characteristics of Traditional Speciality Guaranteed Gouda Farmhouse cheese

Boerenkaas-met-kievitIn my MSc-thesis research I tested novel terroir models on Farmhouse cheese (Boerenkaas) originating from the Green Heart area in the Netherlands, also known as the traditional farmhouse cheese area surrounding cities like Gouda and Leiden historically linked to the traditional Gouda type and Leiden type of Famhouse cheese. The latter or Boeren Leidsekaas has been certified a product with a protected designation of origin or PDO by the EU-Quality regulations in geographical indications and traditional specialities in 1997. It has a strict demarcation of the production area or terroir and a strict code of practice. In 2007 the Boeren Goudsekaas was certified as a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed or TSG, that is less strict then a PDO: it guarantees only some traditional product methods. Basically that is made of raw milk and that while processing it should not be heated above 40°C or pasteurized. Unlike PDO the TSG has no regulations with regard to cattle breed, cattle feed or cheese manufacturing, as e.g. the Comte has to some extend. And a TSG  has no geographical demarcation and can thus be produced at any farm. Continue reading