Farmers’ perception of opportunities for farm development – PhD thesis by Ron Methorst

methorst-thesis-coverNovember 18, 2016 at 4.00 pm Ron Methorst will defend his PhD-thesis ‘Farmers’ perception of opportunities for farm development‘ in the Auditorium of Wageningen University.

The full thesis will be available after the defence ceremony. See the Abstract below. The ceremony will be live streamed by WURTV but can be viewed later as well.

Ron Methorst is affiliated at the Aeres University of Applied Sciences in Dronten (Aeres Hogeschool Dronten). For more information you can contact r.methorst@aeres.nl 

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Nominate your greenest teachers!

green-officeThis week the Green Office of Wageningen is launching this year’s Green Teacher Award !

Last year the Green Office selected the teachers. This year they will do things differently.

Their aim is to let the members of the WUR community  nominate themselves, their colleagues and/or their teachers.  After this, the nominated teachers will get a questionnaire and a jury will use different criteria to select the ‘Green Teacher(s) of 2016’.

To nominate a Green Teacher, you can fill in this short form: https://goo.gl/forms/H6yeYLl7HPtauJmT2

The objective is to celebrate green teachers and to encourage teachers to think (more) about sustainability and how to implement this in their lectures.

 

Capital Selecta: Global Food Security

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WUR students attending CFS negotiations in 2015

In October RSO will offer a 3 ECTS Capita Selecta course called Global Food Security: Linking theory and practice. 

The course offers the opportunity for students to learn more about international food security governance through lectures, assignments, and by attending the annual meeting of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in Rome.

The schedule (subject to change) is:

  • Tues Oct 11 17:30-19:30 Lecture- Introduction to Global Food Security Governance
  • Thurs Oct 13 17:30-19:30 Lecture- Introduction to the Committee on World Food Security + potluck dinner
  • Oct 15-22 Excursion to the CFS in Rome
  • Nov 1st 17:30-19:30 Presentations of final assignments

Registration is limited and open to students with a proven interest in food security, international development, and/or global governance. Interested students should send a CV and letter of motivation to jessica.duncan (a) wur.nl

Please note students are expected to cover the costs of travel (airfair, accomodation (we will likely reserve a large apartment via AirBnB), and food). Student course coordinators are working to secure funding to help reduce these costs.

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

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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

Vacancy for a Lecturer and Education Coordinator Sociology and Anthropology of Development

The section Sociology and Anthropology of Development (SADE) – composed of the Sociology of Development and Change (SDC) and Rural Sociology (RSO) Groups – is looking for a highly motivated person to teach (and coordinate) courses, to supervise BSc and MSc and internships and to plan and coordinate educational activities within SADE, with a view to promote high-quality educational processes. In terms of time allocation it will be a 50/50 division between lecturer and education coordinator.

As lecturer you will co-develop and teach courses in the Bachelor and Master programme in International Development Studies. These courses focus on the sociology of agrarian and rural development, food sociology and sociology of development . The lecturer will give lectures to smaller as well as bigger audiences, lead discussion lectures, and tutor group work. The lecturer should be able to teach in both English and Dutch. Furthermore the lecturer will supervise BSc and MSc thesis students and internship students, which may also include students from other programmes than International Development Studies.

The role of coordinator is a diverse one, in between operational and strategic levels. The preferred candidate will be able to quickly switch between working with the secretariat on executing a range of practical tasks and with the education managers and chairs of SADE as well as broader Wageningen University bodies such as the Educational Institute (OWI) and the programme committees to provide input on strategic and policy levels. A sense of the importance of the smooth functioning of educational processes is expected as well as the ability to set up communication activities (information, public relations, marketing) around educational and other SADE activities. More specifically, the role of education coordinator includes the following main tasks: Continue reading

Farm Experience Internship 2016

This summer the 3ECTS international summer course “Farm Experience Internship” (FEI) will take place at the Wageningen University. From 25 Juli – 19 August 2016, students will learn all about producing food, food sovereignty, the soil, the reality of farmers/ gardeners/ peasants, nutrient cycles, seeds, biodiversity, agroecology and much more! Besides workshops, lectures and excursions, students will work in a farm or garden for two weeks, to experience the reality on the land and learn all about agroecology in practice!

The FEI is organised by de Boerengroep (Farmers Foundation) and Otherwise. The Rural Sociology group is involved in the organisation and examination of the capita selecta connected to this course.

More info and signing up (subscription closes at 20th June):  https://farmexperienceinternship.wordpress.com/

See also this short movie.

Under the lens of embeddedness: a social-cultural perspective on home-grown school feeding in Ghana – PhD-thesis by Nashiru Sulemana

June 2, 2016 at 11.00 a.m. Nashiru Sulemana will defend his PhD-thesis ‘Under the lens of embeddedness; A social-cultural perspective on home-grown school feeding in Ghana‘ in the auditorium of Wageningen University.

The defence ceremony will be streamed live by WURTV but can be viewed later as well. The thesis will be available at WUR-Library after the ceremony has been concluded.

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.

MSc Thesis opportunity: gardening for cancer survivors

In the Netherlands, 1 out of 3 people get cancer; about 100,000 individuals per year. More than 60% of those diagnosed with cancer survive. However, survivors often experience long-term side effects of cancer and its treatment, which greatly influences their quality of life, ability to function, success in re-integration in social processes, and long-term survival.

Evidence shows that a healthy diet and regular physical activity are beneficial in cancer prognosis. Most current intervention programs are focused on dietary advice and exercise programs in gyms. However, such programs are hardly appealing to the majority of cancer survivors. We introduce a novel approach which may better fit the needs, possibilities and interests of cancer survivors: gardening. Scientific research underlines the virtues of gardening: it prolongs life, improves mental and physical well-being, increases quality of life and acuity, and  supports social cohesion. Moreover it can help to increase consumption of (home-grown) plant foods.

The idea of offering cancer patients the possibility to work in gardens is based on a similar project in the USA. The aim of this thesis is to study this program, specifically by investigating it from the point of view of the patients – how did they perceive the program – and to compare this to the situation in the Netherlands. What is available for (former) patients in both countries, what do survivors need or want, and how would (or in the case of the USA: how did) gardening fit in people’s rehabilitation programs? We invite you to study this from the perspective of Social Practice Theory, which focuses on habits and routines in daily life.

We are looking for a motivated MSc student that is interested in writing a thesis with the Rural Sociology Group on the topic of gardening for cancer survivors. The thesis will consist of a literature-based study, but the student is also invited to travel to the USA to interview (ex) patients and study a similar project there. The report will preferably be written in English.

More information? Contact Esther Veen (Esther.Veen@wur.nl)

Possible Thesis Topics: Trends in Global Food Security Governance

We are looking for good and motivated BSc and MSc students to conduct research on the following four topics:

  • Deconstructing the discourse of evidence-based policy making.

Project: Calls for evidence-based policy making are increasing evident in global food security policy processes, and beyond. For example, the follow up and review process for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to be “rigorous and based on evidence, informed by country-led evaluations and data which is high-quality, accessible, timely, reliable and disaggregated” (UN General Assembly, 2015, para. 74). Behind this push for evidence-based decision making lies a set of highly political questions about what evidence is considered appropriate? How should it be selected? Why? And by whom?

This thesis project will identify and analyse calls for evidence-based policy making made in food security policy processes at the multinational level so as to better understand the political nature of evidence and the implications this has for policies and claims to knowledge and expertise. Continue reading