This thesis/internship assignment will investigate the opportunities of educational programs for school pupils on the topic of local food and farming. It will draw from a literature review and work on a local case of the Tiny Restaurant, located in the municipality of Laarbeek in the Dutch province of North Brabant.
The Tiny Restaurant is a grassroots, non-profit initiative aiming to bring producers and consumers together. It takes a form of a pop-up (mobile) restaurant that provides a meeting place for (in)formal exchange of knowledge. One of the projects of the Tiny Restaurant is educating children about the food chain through an experiential culinary program. The Tiny Restaurant wants to ensure its educational approach fits the schools’ learning goals and contributes to the ultimate purpose of creating a long-term connection between farmers and consumers. The goal of this assignment is to evaluate the current approach and advise on how the educational program can be improved. The following questions form a starting point:
How can educational programs enhance awareness about local food production?
How does the theme of local food chains fit schools’ curricula and learning goals?
What is the optimal balance of head (conveying information), heart (shaping attitudes) and hands (learning by doing) in these educational programs?
Depending on the student’s preference, the assignment can be more academic (e.g. using a literature review to learn about education for sustainability) or more applied (e.g. working on the Tiny Restaurant educational program, together with local farmers and teachers). The vacancy is part of a broader Science Shop project which, together with local stakeholders, explores possibilities of connecting producers to local inhabitants in Laarbeek. Starting dates are flexible, with results delivered by the end of May the latest. For more information contact Lucie Sovová email@example.com
This internship opportunity is part of a Science Shop project in which Wageningen University works together with MIEP foundation, an NGO based in the Dutch province of Nord Brabant. The goal of MIEP foundation is to bring together rural inhabitants and local farmers. In 2019, MIEP launched the project of Tiny Restaurant: a pop-up restaurant deployed at various places (such as schools, sports clubs, village squares) which prepares food using sustainable, artisanal, seasonal, regional and Fairtrade products and which can be used as a space for meetings, educational or other events.
MIEP foundation approached the WU with a request to evaluate the functioning of the Tiny Restaurant, and its successfulness in creating lasting relations between producers and consumers. A first assessment, carried out within a framework of an ACT project in autumn 2021, indicated that the potential of the Tiny Restaurant is not yet fully used. One of the weaknesses was the lack of clarity in the restaurants’ vision and core message. MIEP foundation is currently working with farmer ambassadors to formulate a vision and concrete goals through which the Tiny Restaurant can support local producers.
We are looking for an intern with high communication and facilitation skills that will assist the MIEP foundation in this process of formulating their vision and goals as well as setting criteria to assess their progress. We welcome and encourage creative methods and outputs, e.g. a popularization flyer, a public event to promote the Tiny Restaurant, etc.
Starting dates are flexible, with results delivered by the end of May the latest. For more information contact Lucie Sovová firstname.lastname@example.org
This thesis/research internship opportunity is a part of a broader Science Shop project which, together with local stakeholders, explores possibilities of connecting producers to local inhabitants in the municipality of Laarbeek of the Dutch province Nord Brabant.
Preliminary insights suggest a disconnect between the inhabitants of this rural area and the local farmers. We are thus looking to conduct a survey to explore local opinions. Furthermore, it would be interesting to see how media representations and national-wide debates on issues such as the nitrogen crisis or the protein transition shape local understandings and relations between citizens and farmers.
The research speaks to broader debates on rural development and the role of agriculture in society. The results should indicate possible avenues for bridging the gap between producers and citizen-consumers.
The precise delineation of the research and the methods used are open to student’s creative suggestions. Considering the research population, a working knowledge of the Dutch language is an asset. Starting dates are flexible, with results delivered by the end of May the latest. For more information contact Lucie Sovová email@example.com
This thesis/research internship opportunity is a part of a broader Science Shop project evaluating the Tiny Restaurant initiative. The Tiny Restaurant is a pop-up restaurant deployed at various places (such as schools, sports clubs, village squares) with the goal to bring diverse groups of people together around locally produced, sustainable, artisanal and seasonal food. This initiative was started by Stichting MIEP, a non-governmental organization based in Laarbeek, Nord Brabant. After two years of working together with diverse groups of inhabitants (e.g. social welfare clients, school kids), Stichting MIEP is looking to evaluate how successful the Tiny Restaurant is in forging lasting producer-consumer relations.
This thesis will follow up on an ACT project during which a first assessment of the Tiny Restaurant is performed, and it will also look for similar examples (in the Netherlands or internationally) of grassroots initiatives working to connect producers and consumers. The broad questions the research should tackle are:
How can rural grass-roots initiatives contribute to connecting local producers and citizens?
What strategies have been used (successfully or not) to make local food and its producers more visible?
How does the Tiny Restaurant contribute to lasting bonds between local producers and citizens?
Project duration: September 2021 – May 2022
For more information contact Lucie Sovová firstname.lastname@example.org
On Wednesday 21 June 2017 at 13.30 hrs Cheron Constance will defend her PhD thesis entitled ‘What if the trucks stop coming? Exploring the framing of local food by cooperative food retailers in New Mexico’ in the Auditorium of Wageningen University. The ceremony will be live streamed by WURTV but can be viewed later as well.
The full thesis will be available online after the defence ceremony.
Summary of the thesis
Proponents of local food cite a variety of economic and environmental advantages of short food supply chains. Consumer interest in local food has also offered a point of differentiation for many players in the food industry, including restaurants and grocery stores. Engaging with local food has significant challenges, however, and many production and distribution systems engender and support more diffuse food provisioning, not less. Though food can travel thousands of miles from its point of origin to consumption, many cooperative (co-op) grocery stores have long sold locally-produced food and have deep ties to their supplier communities. This thesis offers case studies of two co-ops in the natural and organic food sector and examines how they think about and work with local food. The theories of embeddedness (after Polanyi) and diverse economies (from Gibson-Graham) undergird the analyses of these co-ops’ involvement with local food and how the cooperative business model relates to it.