On April 16th, Shi Yan, pioneer of the Community Supported Agriculture movement in China will visit Wageningen after participating in FAO’s International Symposium on Agroecology. During the day she will visit a selection of CSAs and in the evening she will give a presentation at Wageningen University.
Where: Room C013/VIP Room Forum Building
In 2008 Shi Yan started the first CSA of China in the area of Bejing as a joint project with her university, the district government, and the Renmin Rural Reconstruction Centre. By now some 800 CSA’s are operating around China.
Shi Yan had been inspired by her experience of working with Earthrise Farm, a small CSA in Minnesota, USA. “It changed my life,” says Shi Yan. She arrived there thinking that she would study its business model, “but when living there, I realised that farming is not just a model, it’s a lifestyle.” But she decided to move to the northwest corner of Beijing’s Haidian district to found and manage Little Donkey farm, going against the trend of young people abandoning rural villages for jobs in the city. After that she started Shared Harvest farm (http://sharedharvest.cn/), where she produces fresh food and also trains both farmers and school children.
With a growing middle class and expanding cities, fresh produce has become hard to come by in China. Novel food production and distribution systems are successfully meeting demands of urban residents in search of fresh and local produce. As the story of Shi-Yan tells, the CSA movement also offers opportunities to young people to shape their lifes according to a different set of principles from the average ‘big city’ way of life.
Shi Yan was a speaker at FAO’s Agroecology Symposium from 3-5 April 2018 where over 700 people attended. Learn more about Shi Yan and the CSA movement in China and join us on April 16th. More details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/413668762416251/
Are you too curious to wait? Check out this article in Farming Matters (June 2015): https://www.ileia.org/2015/06/09/community-supported-agriculture-thriving-china/
The state of Sitopia. Report of the 8th AESOP Sustainable Food Planning Conference
By Paul de Graaf, External PhD Candidate, Rural Sociology Group
In the fall of 2017 the 8th AESOP Sustainable Food Planning Conference took place in Coventry, hosted by the Center for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR). Since its inception in 2009 the Sustainable Food Planning department is one of the most active within AESOP (the Association of European Schools of Planning), indicating that food is back on the urban agenda, at least in academia. As a budding urban agriculture planner and researcher I attended the first two AESOP SFP conferences (Almere, 2009 and Brighton, 2010). Both were exciting meetings where pioneers from Europe and America – not only planners but also initiators, activists and scientists from other disciplines and people like Carolyn Steele (architect and writer of the seminal book Hungry City) – came together to discuss the then relatively new theme. I went to Coventry curious to see how the discussion has developed since those days and what is the state of affairs in the field in international perspective.
Call for papers open for the 1st International Conference on Biodynamic Research
Call for Papers: Evolving Agriculture and Food – Opening up Biodynamic Research
Taking place at Goetheanum in Dornach (Switzerland), September 5th to 8th 2018
Biodynamic research is done in any agricultural field, in many places of the world using a great diversity of methods and disciplines, getting in touch with many other research areas. Taking an inter- and trans-disciplinary approach, we aim to bring together both academic research and farmer’s expertise to explore and discuss issues in biodynamic food and farming systems. The perspective taken on these issues may be from a classical scientific point of view as well as from an innovative methodical standpoint.
This new biannual event will gather academics, scholars, PhD students, graduate students, farmer-researchers and action researchers from around the world to discuss the latest and most pressing issues in biodynamic agriculture, horticulture and food, dedicating significant attention also to new and alternative researching methods.
The partners of the organizer, the Section for Agriculture at the Goetheanum, are: The Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences of the University of Kassel, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and Forschungsring (Research in Biodynamic Agriculture, Darmstadt, Germany).
Call for papers is open : http://www.sektion-landwirtschaft.org/veranstaltungen/biodynamic-research-conference/call-for-papers/
More information at: www.sektion-landwirtschaft.org
Thesis Opportunity with Rural Sociology: What is inclusive when it comes to policy?
Proposed title: Inclusive approaches to policy making: Making sense of options for food policy
Key words: policy, inclusivity, civil society, multi-actor, stakeholder, co-production
Context: There have been increasing calls for more participation in policy making to allow for more inclusive policies. But what does this look like in practice? What models have been developed and tried? What has worked and what hasn’t? What are the implications of trying to be more inclusive. And, what does inclusivity even mean in a policy making context? The goal of this thesis is to start to answer these pressing questions and to related them to food policy.
Objective: The goal of this research is to identify and understand strategies for including people and their lived experiences, into policy making processes.
In this thesis, you will:
- Undertake a literature review into inclusive governance (theory and practice)
- Identify examples of inclusive governance from a broad range of sectors
- Create a database of examples
- Select an appropriate number of case studies to examine in greater depth
- Collect data (including via interviews) to support description and analysis
On the basis of this, you will be expected to deliver concrete outputs.
- Develop a clear research proposal building on a structured literature review and outlining clear methods for undertaking the research
- Collect relevant literature and empirical cases to support the answering of the research question.
- MSc thesis conforming to the criteria and quality indicators of the Rural Sociology Group.
Start date: February or March 2018
- You are registered in one of the following MSc programmes:
- You have an interest in participatory policy making, civil society, food security and food sovereignty
- You have some knowledge about theories of change
- You have completed at least 2 RSO courses (or relevant social science courses)
Supervisor: Dr Jessica Duncan (RSO)
If you are interested, please email Jessica Duncan (firstname.lastname@example.org ) with a short letter of motivation.
The @MSCActions project on sustainable place-shaping (@SUSPLACE_ITN), funded by the EU-commission and coordinated by the Rural Sociology Group (@RuralSociologyW), has published two video’s.
The first video explains sustainable place-shaping in theory and practice, the second introduces the training and networking. The video’s are produced by the Early Stage Researchers themselves as part of their training. Watch below or go to the You tube SUSPLACE playlist of the Rural Sociology Group.
Students often ask us how they should read a scientific paper or book chapter, and what they should learn or remember from them. They may struggle with what they see to be too many readings, or express that they have difficulty understanding the main message of the articles we assign for our lectures.
In order to help students make the process of ‘reading for the social sciences’ more efficient and more targeted, Jessica Duncan and me (Esther Veen) designed four knowledge clips to pass on little tips.
The first one discusses the structure most sociological papers follow. In the second we give suggestions on how to read effectively. The third is on the different strategies you may use when you read for different purposes, and the last gives tips and tricks on how to keep track of your reading.
In an earlier post I talked about our pilot project Healing Gardens, which had just started: six (former) cancer patients were gardening under supervision of two enthusiastic volunteers, at Parkhuys (a cancer support center) in Almere. The aim of the pilot was to prepare for a larger study in which we hope to find out to what extent gardening is a useful way to increase physical activity, stimulate healthy eating patterns, and function as effective social peer support.
This pilot has now ended. It has been successful in the sense that the patients really enjoyed the activity. Almost all of them have taken up gardening at home – two of them have even rented an allotment together. Also, the pilot gave us valuable insights which we will use when starting the lager study: the gardening containers were considered too small by most participants, for instance, and it is extremely important to have access to knowledgeable garden supervisors. Currently we are analyzing our results – during the course of the pilot gardeners were interviewed three times, filled out different questionnaires and participated in various fitness tests. We expect the results early 2018.
One of our project partners, Jan Eelco Jansma, explains the aims of our study in more detail in a video. You can also visit our website for more information: www.healinggardenswur.nl. Sorry, both are in Dutch. Healing Gardens is a cooperation between Rural Sociology, Human Nutrition, and applied plant sciences, and supported by the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions and Flevocampus.
Seriously Sustainable Week 2017 is coming up and Wageningen University’s Green Office has organised an entire week, packed with all kinds of activities, from fun to serious, from small to big.
On June 27th 2017, the Rural Sociology Group (in collaboration with SUSPLACE and in conjuction with the CSPS Conference ‘The Value of Life’) organised a masterclass on Performative Practices for Diverse Economies with prof. Katherine Gibson (Western Sydney University).
The masterclass was well attended, with more than 25 PhDs, researchers and professors joining, from a diversity of geographical and disciplinary backgrounds.
Prof. Gibson opened the meeting with a short presentation of her work on Diverse Economies. Next, we engaged in dynamic ‘fishbowl’ conversations in which 3 participants at a time discussed about a topic or question of joint interest, with prof. Gibson stepping in and helping to advance the thinking.
We thus actively ‘performed thinking’ on diverse economies!
00:19 – 27:06 Family Economies & Gender (with Maria Borras Escayola, Shivani Kaul and Zulfa Utami Adiputri)
27:10 – 42:42 Participation, Activation & Motivation (with Veerle Boekenstijn, Esther Veen and Inez Dekker)
43:00 – 58:28 Food Economies, prosumers and community gardens (with Sungwoong Jung, Lucie Sovova and Alberto Serra)
Thanks to MSc student Veerle Boekestijn, both prof. Gibson’s keynote and all the fishbowl conversation have been captured on video. We are happy to share them here, with all those that weren’t able to attend the masterclass in person.