New course: Sociology of Food Provisioning and Place-based Development

The MSc course “Understanding Rural Development: Theories, Practices and Methodologies” (course code RSO-31806) has been revised and renamed into “Sociology of Food Provisioning and Place-based Development”. The course is mandatory for Master students within the track Sociology of Rural Development of the Master International Development Studies, specializing in rural sociology and a free choice course for Master students of other programmes and tracks. If you are interested in topics such as alternative food geographies, food citizenship, food democracy, urban food provisioning, sustainable place shaping, and regional branding, it may be worth participating in this course. Students who do not have a BSc degree in International Development Studies or related field of expertise may not have the assumed prerequisite knowledge to successfully participate and are therefore requested to contact the course coordinator, Han Wiskerke (han.wiskerke@wur.nl), to see if and how this gap can be addressed.

For more information about the contents, schedule, learning outcomes and educational activities, please click on this link or contact the course coordinator for more information or the latest version of the course guide.

Time Magazine about multifunctional agriculture, some thoughts about the farmers’ identity

While waiting for my train at Utrecht Central station – I tend to kill my time looking around in the book/magazine shop – the cover of the latest Time Magazine struck my eye, heading: “France’s Rural Revolution, traditional French farmers are dying. Can farmers make money from town dwellers’ love of the land?”. Interested about the heading – and teased by the astonishing landscape on the cover – I bought a copy for the second part of my trip to Rotterdam.

Bruce Crumley (the author) poses the question what eventually will save rural France. French farmers are hit by a shrinking agricultural sector, falling food prices (globalization) and tightening E.U. support (so called CAP reforms (Common Agricultural Policy) in 2013). These developments are not exclusive to France, farmers in many other E.U. member states are facing these problems. However, future CAP reforms are considered to be critical especially to French farmers, since the French receive nearly 20% of the total CAP funding.

By illustrating the developments on three French farms the author focuses on one of the ways to get out of this tightening trap by diversifying the farm business with new (‘non-farming’) activities. A strategy also known as multifunctional agriculture. The farmers mentioned in the article developed new activities in rural tourism and the production and selling of regional products like beer and ham. Interestingly, the article has many parallels with the conversations I had myself (in relation to our research project on (Dutch) multifunctional agriculture). Apparently, many farmers (eventually) don’t regret their step on the multifunctional pathway. On the contrary, many farmers say to enjoy the new farm dynamics, contacts with new people and some even claim to have reinvented entrepreneurship. However, we needn’t to underestimate the step of ‘just’ diversifying your farm to survive. In the article colleague rural sociologist François Purseigle argues many farmers simply refuse to find new sources of income as they see diversification as a betrayal of the agricultural profession they took on. As a parallel, I experienced many interviewed Dutch farmers – who have made the step or are still hesitating in some way – have or are still struggling with their identity of being a ‘real farmer’: “It’s not just running a business” – one farmers stressed – “it’s a way of life!”. I think the notion of multifunctional agriculture has matured but still often perceived as something for losers or nothing ‘real farmers’ should deal with. Often the environments of hesitating farmers aren’t ready for this new way of farming, yet.  

The article can be found on the Time website. The page also offers a great picture gallery about the topic.

Herinnering Discussiebijeenkomst Buitenlandse Ervaringen Multifunctionele Landbouw

Op donderdag 8 oktober 2009 organiseert de vakgroep Rurale Sociologie van Wageningen Universiteit een interessante discussiebijeenkomst over buitenlandse ervaringen van multifunctionele landbouw. Wat gebeurt er in het buitenland en wat kunnen we ervan leren?

Op de bijeenkomst geven een aantal toonaangevende internationale onderzoekers u een indruk van de ontwikkeling rond multifunctionele landbouw in Italië, het Verenigd Koninkrijk en Noorwegen. In de aansluitende forumdiscussie gaan we hierover met elkaar in debat. We verwachten ongeveer 80 tot 100 mensen uit o.a. praktijk, wetenschap, overheid en belangenbehartiging.

De bijeenkomst is interessant voor iedereen actief op het gebied van multifunctionele landbouw en meer wil weten over de betekenis van buitenlandse ervaringen voor Nederland. Als u graag over (uw) grenzen heen kijkt, dan mag u deze bijeenkomst niet missen!

 

Datum: Donderdag 8 oktober 2009
Tijd: 13.00 – 17.00 uur
Locatie: Landgoed Heerlijkheid Mariënwaerdt, De Hooge Schuur, ‘t Klooster 5 in Beesd

 

Aan deelname van deze bijeenkomst zijn geen kosten verbonden, de voertaal is Engels.

 

Programma

12.30 Ontvangst (koffie/thee)

13.00 Opening door dagvoorzitter

Krijn Poppe – Chief Science Officer Agroketens en Visserij, ministerie van LNV

13.05 Welkomstwoord

Frans van Verschuer – eigenaar Landgoed Heerlijkheid Mariënwaerdt, Beesd

13.15 Dynamiek en robuustheid multifunctionele landbouw – introductie onderzoeksproject en presentatie eerste resultaten

Han Wiskerke – projectcoördinator en hoogleraar Rurale Sociologie, Wageningen Universiteit

13.30 Multifunctionele landbouw in Italië – de ‘rural disctrict approach’ in Toscane

Gianluca Brunori – hoogleraar Agrarische Economie, Universiteit van Pisa, Italië

14.00 Multifunctionele landbouw in het Verenigd Koninkrijk – de rol van de staat en de publieke sector

Roberta Sonnino – universitair docent Milieubeleid, Universiteit van Cardiff, Verenigd Koninkrijk

14.30 Multifunctionele landbouw in Noorwegen – een presentatie door:

Katrina Rønningen – senior onderzoeker, Centrum voor Plattelandsonderzoek, Universiteit van Trondheim, Noorwegen (uitgenodigd)

15.00 Pauze

15.30 Dynamiek van plattelandsontwikkeling en landbouw wereldwijd – een vergelijking tussen Europa, China en Brazilië

Jan Douwe van der Ploeg – hoogleraar Transitiestudies, Wageningen Universiteit

16.00 Forumdiscussie – inspirerende lessen voor multifunctionele landbouw in Nederland

16.55 Afsluiting door dagvoorzitter

17.00 Borrel

 

Aanmelden

Meld u aan met het aanmeldformulier. Wij willen u er op wijzen dat er een beperkt aantal deelnameplaatsen beschikbaar zijn. Voor aanvullende informatie neem contact op met Corine Diepeveen via corine.diepeveen@wur.nl of 0317 – 484507.

De discussiemiddag wordt georganiseerd in het kader van het onlangs gestarte onderzoeksproject ‘Dynamiek en Robuustheid van Multifunctionele Landbouw’. Het onderzoek is ondersteunend aan de Taskforce Multifunctionele Landbouw en wordt gefinancierd door het ministerie van LNV.

Discussiebijeenkomst multifunctionele landbouw: ervaringen uit het buitenland

Op donderdag 8 oktober 2009 organiseert de vakgroep Rurale Sociologie van Wageningen Universiteit een interessante discussiebijeenkomst over buitenlandse ervaringen van multifunctionele landbouw. Wat gebeurt er in het buitenland en wat kunnen we ervan leren?

 

Op de bijeenkomst geven een aantal toonaangevende internationale onderzoekers u een indruk van de ontwikkeling rond multifunctionele landbouw in Italië, het Verenigd Koninkrijk en Noorwegen. In de aansluitende forumdiscussie gaan we hierover met elkaar in debat. We verwachten ongeveer 80 tot 100 mensen uit o.a. praktijk, wetenschap, overheid en belangenbehartiging.

De bijeenkomst is interessant voor iedereen actief op het gebied van multifunctionele landbouw en meer wil weten over de betekenis van buitenlandse ervaringen voor Nederland. Als u graag over (uw) grenzen heen kijkt, dan mag u deze bijeenkomst niet missen!

 

Datum: Donderdag 8 oktober 2009
Tijd: 13.00 – 17.00 uur
Locatie: Landgoed Heerlijkheid Mariënwaerdt, De Hooge Schuur, ‘t Klooster 5 in Beesd

 

Aan deelname van deze bijeenkomst zijn geen kosten verbonden, de voertaal is Engels.

 

Programma

12.30 Ontvangst (koffie/thee)

13.00 Opening door dagvoorzitter

Krijn Poppe – Chief Science Officer Agroketens en Visserij, ministerie van LNV

13.05 Welkomstwoord

Frans van Verschuer – eigenaar Landgoed Heerlijkheid Mariënwaerdt, Beesd

13.15 Dynamiek en robuustheid multifunctionele landbouw – introductie onderzoeksproject en presentatie eerste resultaten

Han Wiskerke – projectcoördinator en hoogleraar Rurale Sociologie, Wageningen Universiteit

13.30 Multifunctionele landbouw in Italië – de ‘rural disctrict approach’ in Toscane

Gianluca Brunori – hoogleraar Agrarische Economie, Universiteit van Pisa, Italië

14.00 Multifunctionele landbouw in het Verenigd Koninkrijk – de rol van de staat en de publieke sector

Roberta Sonnino – universitair docent Milieubeleid, Universiteit van Cardiff, Verenigd Koninkrijk

14.30 Multifunctionele landbouw in Noorwegen – een presentatie door:

Katrina Rønningen – senior onderzoeker, Centrum voor Plattelandsonderzoek, Universiteit van Trondheim, Noorwegen (uitgenodigd)

15.00 Pauze

15.30 Dynamiek van plattelandsontwikkeling en landbouw wereldwijd – een vergelijking tussen Europa, China en Brazilië

Jan Douwe van der Ploeg – hoogleraar Transitiestudies, Wageningen Universiteit

16.00 Forumdiscussie – inspirerende lessen voor multifunctionele landbouw in Nederland

16.55 Afsluiting door dagvoorzitter

17.00 Borrel

 

Aanmelden

Meld u aan met het aanmeldformulier. Wij willen u er op wijzen dat er een beperkt aantal deelnameplaatsen beschikbaar zijn. Voor aanvullende informatie neem contact op met Corine Diepeveen via corine.diepeveen@wur.nl of 0317 – 484507.

De discussiemiddag wordt georganiseerd in het kader van het onlangs gestarte onderzoeksproject ‘Dynamiek en Robuustheid van Multifunctionele Landbouw’. Het onderzoek is ondersteunend aan de Taskforce Multifunctionele Landbouw en wordt gefinancierd door het ministerie van LNV.

Terugblik Dag van de Zorglandbouw

Dinsdag 21 april bezocht ik, in het kader van ons onlangs opgestarte onderzoek ‘dynamiek en robuustheid multifunctionele landbouw’, de Dag van de Zorglandbouw. Onderweg naar Apeldoorn kwam er via Radio 1 al een opwarmertje langs. Een Brabantse zorgboerin sprak in het interview haar zorgen uit over de gevolgen van de wijzigingen in de AWBZ (Algemene Wet Bijzondere Ziektekosten). Ook één van de Tweede Kamerleden gaf een voorproefje op de dag. Ik zat er al helemaal in en dat terwijl het programma nog moest gaan beginnen! Continue reading

Excursions Understanding Rural Development

As a part off the course Understanding Rural Development (RSO 31806) we went on a field trip to de Eemlandhoeve in Bunschoten and explored the inner-city of Utrecht. By this excursion we visited a number of interesting expressions of urban-rural relationships, from a rural and an urban perspective.

De Eemlandhoeve

De Eemlandhoeve, owned by farmer, rural entrepreneur and philosopher Jan Huijgen, can be considered as an extreme example of a multifunctional farm enterprise. The group of Blonde d’Aquitaine’s form the centre of a rural enterprise which includes a large number of activities like a farm shop, care facilities, meeting and office facilities, an education garden and even a farmer’s cinema under construction.Blonde d'Aquitaines at the Eemlandhoeve

Next of being a multifunctional entrepreneur Jan Huijgen is a well known personality in Dutch rural development, active on a local, national, international (and maybe in the near future on a global) level. The farm residents a rural innovation centre and last October de Eemlandhoeve hosted the EEconference or Europese Eemlandconference, veelzijdig platteland.

On the excursion owner Jan Huijgen told us about his inspiration, motives and future plans with his farm. After his presentation we had an interesting discussion and were showed around the place.

Local food in the city of Utrecht

The second trip brought us to a rather different surrounding; the historical inner-city of Utrecht. On de Eemlandhoeve our focus was on the rural side of urban-rural relationships, in Utrecht we looked upon it from an urban perspective.

Cheese stall at the Vredenburg MarketTogether with our guide Frank Verhoeven (see his website)  we first went to the Wednesday Vredenburg Market. On this market we visited a cheese seller linked to the organization called Dutch Cheese Centre (website under construction). The stallholder told us about some typical Dutch cheeses and the trade in locally produced ones. After some tasting we set out for the traditional bakery Bakkerij Blom were owner Theo Blom showed us around and told about his bakery, traditional products and production.  

Our last stop was a visit to the five star hotel and restaurant Karel V for a number of short presentations. In the hotel our guide Frank Verhoeven started by telling us about his ‘Boerenbox’ initiative and his vision on a more locally based production and consumption. Secondly, one of the Karel V chefs explained us about the way they work with seasonal products originating solely from regional grounds and local suppliers. Lastly, Arie Bosma, one of the initiators of the campaign ‘Lekker Utregs’, told us about the initiative to reconnect the city of Utrecht with its surrounding countryside by establishing a so called Green Participation Society.

By the fieldtrips we got acquainted with several interesting expressions of urban-rural relationships, from a rural and an urban perspective. It was a nice and inspiring way of linking theory from class to reality by ‘tasting’ real life examples in ‘the field’.

Regional differentiation

On 2 March my MSc course “Understanding Rural Development: Theories, Practices and Methodologies” started (also see the course outline). This course is specifically designed for the specialization Sociology of Rural Development of the Master in International Development Studies, but is open to students from other Master programmes as well. At this moment 14 students (from Columbia, Germany, Ghana, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and South Africa) are participating. Each week we focus on one particular theme that I consider to be highly relevant to better understand rural and regional development dynamics.

This week’s theme was “Regional differentiation”, which refers to the fact that rural regions are moving along distinct and different development trajectories. During the last decades a vast body of scientific literature about regional differentiation has been developed, although a substantial part of this literature is characterised by an urban bias towards regional development. Terry Marsden and Jonathan Murdoch are among the few scholars that have explicitly included the rural in theories of regional differentiation. With their conceptualisation of regional differentiation as the outcome of different constellations of political, economic and social networks they have been able to significantly contribute to contemporary theories about regional development that also take the rural into account.

Although it is important that students are introduced to these concepts, I want to avoid that theoretical insights remain abstract notions. That’s why students are also introduced to empirical realities (through field trips, presentation of case studies from research projects and (short) movies). This week we looked at five movie clips about regional development in Southwest Minnesota. Together these five clips very well showed some of the key factors impacting on changes in regional political, economic and social networks: migration, utilization of endogenous resources, learning and innovation (learning region), technologies, and visionary leadership. More in general the case of Southwest Minnesota shows that regional development is a specific combination of endogenous and exogenous development, or,  a specific local response to global developments.

New Project – Dynamics and Robustness of Multifunctional Agriculture

On the first of February the Rural Sociology Group, in collaboration with the Education and Competence Studies Group, will start with a large research programme entitled ‘Dynamics and Robustness of Multifunctional Agriculture’. This project is financed by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and supported by the Task Force Multifunctional Agriculture. The programme aims to deepen our understanding of the critical factors that exert an influence on the dynamics of multifunctional agriculture. Factors that could play a role are for instance the Continue reading