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
The Rural Sociology Group and Kyoto University maintain a close collaboration. Flora Sonkin, a MSc student at RSO, participates in a summer school and participated in field work near Kyoto this month. In this posts she shares her experiences.
I arrived in Kyoto, Japan a few days ago as a visitor for the FEAST project at RIHN (Research Institute for Humanity and Nature), and to join the Kyoto University Graduate Seminar on Sustainability Studies.
Being in Japan in autumn has a special effect on one’s senses. Feeling awakened by the warm yellow and red colors that paint the mountainous landscape, and by the fresh smell of fallen leaves and pine trees. On the first day of my visit, Mai Kobayashi (my host at the RIHN) took me to a Satoyama nearby RIHN, were a community-led forest management project is trying to regenerate a red pine forest – and hopefully matsutake mushrooms along with it. Continue reading
Eva de Groot wrote an essay about food forests and how this phenomenon is gaining momentum in the Dutch agriculture. In this blog she shares some of her findings. Continue reading
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
For the next week, 6 WUR students will be participating in the UN’s Committee for World Food Security (CFS) annual meeting as part of the official Social Media Team, an initiative coordinated by the CFS and the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR).
Their contributions will be posted here as well as on this blog.
If you are on Twitter, follow the meeting and the #CFS43 Social Media Team by following this list.
The CFS is the most inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders to work together to ensure food security and nutrition for all. The Committee reports to the UN General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and to FAO Conference.Using a multi-stakeholder, inclusive approach, CFS develops and endorses policy recommendations and guidance on a wide range of food security and nutrition topics.
Click here for more information about the 43rd session of the CFS. Continue reading
Mayan women in a concert of the Ma OGM campaign. Source maria Boa
August 18 María del Refugio Boa Alvarado successfully defended her MSc-thesis ‘Resistance in Action; Mobilization of Mayan beekeepers against GM soy: The case of the ‘Colectivo MA OGM‘ for the Master International Master in Rural Development. Below a post by Maria.
Are you interested on social movements? On Indigenous rights? On collectives and their practices? For years, many social scientists have been fascinated by the study of social movements and collective action. In my case, I am fascinated by the research of complex associations that frame and articulate their claims or grievances. Particularly, the processes of social transformation that have their grassroots within indigenous communities. Continue reading
A Local Action Group; source Matteo Metta
August 29 Matteo Metta has succesfully defended his MSc-thesis ‘From Good Will to Good Use: a critical analysis of the LEADER evaluation‘ for the Master International Master in Rural Development. Below a summary of the thesis. Continue reading
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.