By Lucie Sovová and Elske Hageraats (FEI coordinators ‘Stichting Boerengroep’).
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 →
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
For 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday March 31, 20.00 the film ‘Il a plus sur le grand paysage‘ (with English subtitles) will be shown in Movie-W. The film is directed by Jean-Jacques Andrien. The director and a farmer will be present and open for discussion with the audience.
Autumn 2010. In the region of Herve, in Belgium’s east, the milk crisis of 2009 struck brutally at the dairy farms. In this profoundly estabilised context, the decision of the European Union to completely remove the milk production quota in 2015, and the determination of the World Trade Organisation to further liberalise the markets, directly threatened the existence of the farms. Nine farmers tell us of their struggle, from the heart.
What are the current challenges facing our food systems. And what can be done? Get a taste of the problems and solutions at the 2nd edition of the Food4all festival. Part of the festival are: a regional farmers’ market, a documentary on Monsanto, a book presentation, and a dinner with music and gastronomic film. Later this year, a 2 day training on the right to food, agroecology and food sovereignty. For more information see the programme below or visit www.grassrootsscience.nl.
Recently there were two food events here, a university run Food4you series of events and a series organised by critical student organisations Boerengroep and Otherwise called Food for All. The very different approaches to food are captured in their titles. The latter series finished yesterday on World Food Day with the Dutch premiere of the film Crops for the Future. An instructive film about agroecology practices and food sovereignty from all over the world. Examples from the field were backed up with interviews with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food , with an author of the Agriculture at a Crossroads report and others. The message; we urgently need to move to another paradigm, the coming century is one of biology/diversity instead of chemistry. Still, it seems that the protagonists of a gone-by era are capable of organising a stage for themselves, the PR machine of Louise Fresco seems overheated. What are their rhetorical devices? Continue reading →
With Food4all Otherwise and Boerengroep offer a critical perspective to food security and sustainable farming next to the yearly Food4you festival. Food4all starts on Thursday 11 October with a lecture on Land grabs and the right to food, next an expert panel on Feeding the world on Friday 12 October, a regional farmers market on Saturday and it ends with the Dutch premiere of the film ‘Crops in the Future’ on Tuesday 16 October. Food4all is organized in colaboration with ILEIA and SOS Faim (Belgium).
Celebrate food and farming in Wageningen, the Netherlands! Food4all is a festival that takes you on a journey through sustainable family farming, agro-ecology and the right to food. The Food4All festival is a critical supplement to the “Food4you festival”. The festival seeks to provide a critical perspective on global food security, and give voice sustainable alternatives.
Over a potluck diner organised by Boerengroep and Otherwise, yesterday, we evaluated the courses that we ran together this academic year. The course Food Farmers and Forks in November/December 2011 and the course Grassroots Science, from Februari until June this year. The courses were designed to give students the possibility to follow the evening lecture series as a course for 3 credits with additional mandatory literature and an essay assignment as exam. In both cases, initially around 30 students subscribed to the course, but not all students were able to finalise the course with the exam. It nevertheless gave both student organisations a steady audience of at least 30 students. However, the lectures were open just for anyone to join and in various cases there were over a hundred people participating. From the high numbers of participants and the positive feedback so far, we concluded that their evening lectures hit a nerve or a latent demand from students across study programs in this university to engage in critical thoughts on food issues.
The biggest hits were those lectures that had ‘food crisis’ and ‘urban agriculture’ in their title. Not to suggest ‘problem’ and ‘solution’ of course. Even though urban agriculture is unmistakenly a trend showing our re-engagement with food, we need more fundamental change in addition to some production in cities or more home grown activities by consumers in order to move towards a more sustainable and just food system. It seems that Dutch supermarkets pressured by NGO’s on animal welfare are finally beginning to catch up with wider societial trends and some leading examples in the food industry.
However, there is a long way to go. Both lecture series (in fall and spring) touched upon various structural inequalities and injustices such as around water rights and access, around seed sovereignity, the origin of our food, and the commodification of knowledge by vested interests (including of course universities) to name just a few. Both Boerengroep and Otherwise are dedicated to bringing food for thought for students who want to broaden their horizon.
They did a great job and are looking forward to organise more next year. If you have any suggestions for topics that you would like to know more about within the realm of sustainable food systems, please send an email to email@example.com