Sustaining Dairy – PhD thesis by Georgina Villarreal Herrera

On Monday 26 June 2017 at 13.30 hrs Georgina Villarreal Herrera will defend her PhD thesis entitled ‘Sustaining Dairy’ 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 PhD thesis

Dairy in Europe has undergone many changes in the last few years—the abolition of milk production quotas being a fundamental one. This study explores these changes in relation to the sustained social and environmental viability of the sector and how dairy processors’ sustainability programs are a part of that.

This study traces the evolution of the dairy sectors in the Netherlands, Ireland and the United Kingdom since the post-war era, outlining the dominant logic that has guided their development. The analysis shows that the post-war logic based on the increase of scale and intensification of dairying has continued to shape the development of the sector through today. While the visible impacts of intensive dairy have led to adaptations to the dominant rules and practices, these changes have not been fundamental in nature. The analysis of dairy processors and their sustainability programs revealed that these programs can be an additional tool for compliance to legal standards and the alleviation of pressing societal concerns. However, processors address social and environmentally relevant dairy-related challenges when an effective link to profit can be established. These programs have been unable to ensure that the dairy sector operates within established environmental limits and societal expectations, while providing a stable livelihood for farmers.

Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition – account of symposium hosted by the FAO

Maria Alicia MendoncaBy Maria Alice Mendonça, PhD-student Rural Development at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS, Brazil) and guest PhD at the Rural Sociology Group of Wageningen University

During the days 18 and 19th of September, the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations) hosted the International Symposium of Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition, in Rome, Italy. See the FAO webpage for more information on participants, presentations, poster, videos and so on.

The conference was attended by over 400 people. Amongst them were academics and representatives from government and social movements from all over the world. The aim was to discuss agroecology in the context of global debates and strategies related to: food security, sustainable agriculture and local food systems. The symposium was divided in three parts. The first was a plenary session with presentations by experts at the forefront of scientific research and bystate officials involved in the construction and implementation of innovative policies on Agroecology and Food Security. This was followed by parallel sessions where social movements, such as La Via Campesina and the Articulation in Brazilian Semiarid – ASA, as well as academics and government representatives shared on the ground experiences with Agroecology in diverse countries. At the closing session, State’s ministries of France, Nigeria, Japan, Senegal, Costa Rica, Brazil (video message), the Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Union (video message) and the FAO’s general director, José Graziano da Silva made their statements and commitments to Agroecology and Food Security. Continue reading

From production-oriented farming towards multifunctional entrepreneurship – PhD-thesis Pieter Seuneke

Multifunctional agriculture

 

On the 9th of May, I (Pieter Seuneke) will defend my PhD-thesis entitled:

From production-oriented farming towards multifunctional entrepreneurship: exploring the underlying learning process

Context

My thesis focusses on the many European and Dutch farming families which, urged by the environmental, social and economic crisis in agriculture, have diversified their conventional production-oriented farming activities by developing new non-farming businesses on their existing farms. Currently, there are many farmers who are involved in agro-tourism, nature and landscape management, processing and selling of farm products and, more recently in The Netherlands, professional (child)care and on-farm education. The development of such new business activities by these farmers represents a shift away from conventional production-oriented farming towards a more ‘multifunctional’ farming model in which the role of agriculture goes beyond mass food production.

Focus

Based on four different studies, all drawing on the empirical work done in the context of the Dutch research project ‘Dynamics and Robustness of Multifunctional Agriculture’ (carried out by the Rural Sociology Group from 2009 to 2011), I unravel the learning process which is considered as underlying the switch towards multifunctionality and multifunctional entrepreneurship. In other words: the process by which farmers (men, women and their families) re-invent themselves as ‘multifunctional entrepreneurs’, gain the necessary knowledge, skills and networks ‘to do multifunctionality’ as well as finding their way on the multifunctional pathway. Apart from its contribution to theory – by bringing this complex learning process to light – my work ultimately supports practitioners (teachers, trainers, advisers) in fostering this, for today’s and tomorrow’s agriculture and rural areas, valuable form of agricultural entrepreneurship.

Supervision

During my PhD, I have been supervised by Prof. Han Wiskerke (professor of Rural Sociology at Wageningen University) and Dr Thomas Lans (ass. prof. Education and Competence Studies, Wageningen University).

The defence

My defence will take place on Friday the 9th of May, at 13.30, in the Aula of Wageningen University. The event is open to those who are interested and can also be followed/seen back on WURtv.

Contact

For more information: pieter.seuneke@wur.nl

SOLINSA and FarmPath – joint Final conference in Brussels, December 3 2013

SOLINSA Final conferenceDecember 3 the EU-funded reserach projects FarmPath and SOLINSA will jointly present their findings at a final conference in Brussels. A detailed programme is available at the www.solinsa.net website. Location: Thon Hotel, Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 75, B-1040. From 9.00 am till 4.30 pm.

Food4all – about right to food, sustainable family farming and agro-ecology

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.

Look at http://grassrootsscience.nl/ for the programme.

Feeding the world sustainable – agroecology v industrial agriculture

Feeding the world in a sustainable way is vehemently debated these days. In international fora the debate is not just about how to increase food production to feed the world’s growing population but also whether increasing food production is adressing the key issue of the relation between poverty and hunger. Increasing food production is not a neutral matter. Although some voices like to put it that way to sustain their claim that ‘facts’ show that their solution is the only right one. A solution is never neutral just because of the combination of technological and institutional means and the social and environmental impact it has. This is not new at all all. The impact of the (first) Green Revolution has been heavely disputed and this socalled neutralness of technology has been key issue in the massive techology and innovation studies of last decades. One cannot simply ignore the wider impact of technological fixes in the debate about how to provide the world’s population in a sustainable way.

In an editorial Eric Holt-Gimenez,  Executive Director of Food First / Institute for Food and Development Policy (www.foodfirst.org) in response to a recent study in Nature has added a contribution to this ongoing debate. He argues that there is a difference between between producing more food and ending hunger.  Read his editorial at on what kind of agriculture can best solve the problem of the growing number of hungry people: agroecology or conventional industrial agriculture at http://www.agriculturesnetwork.org/magazines/global/farmer-organisations/opinion-eric-holt-gimenez or at Nourshing the planet (the weblog of the Worldwatch Institute). One can also see video of a lecture on Food movements, agroecology, and the future of food and farming.

The Christensen Fund made an interesting infographics evaluating the major differences between agroecology and industrial agriculture:

‘Agriculture in an Urbanizing Society’ Conference – new deadline for submission of abstracts

As mentioned in previous posts, an international conference entitled ‘Agriculture in an Urbanizing Society’ will be held from 1 to 4 April 2012 in Wageningen. A whole range of different topics and research findings will be presented and discussed in 20 different working groups. The deadline for submitting abstracts was originally 20 December 2011 but the conference committees, in consultation with the working group convenors, have decided to postpone this deadline by one month. So if you are interested to present and discuss your research activities (or plans) in one of the working groups, please send your abstract to the convenor of the working group before 20 January 2012. You are kindly requested to use the abstract submission form.

IFSA 2012 workshop ‘The meaning of semi-subsistence farming in different cultural contexts’

Together with Imre Kovach and Catherine Darrot,  I will be hosting a workshop at the IFSA symposium in Aarhus, Denmark from the 1st of July until the 4th of July 2012.

The workshop is aimed at exploring the multiple meanings of semi-subsistent food production strategies in different cultural context. Two questions are at the centre of attention: 1) How has the meaning of semi-subsistent food production changed over time for producers, society and institutions? and 2) What recommendations can be derived from the research for policy makers of multi-state institutions (e.g. EU?). We invite researchers from diverse countries to present their empirical research in order to stimulate a fruitful discussion and knowledge exchange.

The deadline for submitting abstracts is the 31st of December 2011.  More information and a link to submitting your abstract can be found here. I hope to see you there!

Conference ‘Agriculture in an Urbanizing Society’ – call for abstracts (reminder)

From 1 – 4 April 2012 a conference entitled ‘Agriculture in an Urbanizing Society: International Conference on Multifunctional Agriculture and Urban-Rural Relations‘ will take place in Wageningen. Some time ago a call for abstracts was launched. This is to inform or remind you that the deadline for submitting abstracts is 20 December 2011. Abstracts can be submitted by email to the coordinating convenor of a working group (call for abstracts for all WGs can be accessed through this link). The following working groups have been approved by the Scientific Programme Committee:

  • WG1 Green care
  • WG2 Agri tourism: Critcal Perspectives on Dilemmas and Opportunities
  • WG3 Exploring ‘civic food networks’ and their role in enabling sustainable urban food systems
  • WG4 Rural education   
  • WG5 Environmental services
  • WG6 Economic impact at the farm level
  • WG7 Business models; farm enterprise development models
  • WG8 Entrepreneurial skills and competences: challenges and opportunities
  • WG9 Learning for innovation – new challenges in an urbanizing world
  • WG10 Regional branding; the socio-economic impact at the regional level
  • WG11 Urban, peri-urban and regional planning
  • WG12 Land-use transformations
  • WG13 What are the challenges of future urban agriculture?
  • WG14 Public food procurement
  • WG15 Consumers, multifunctional agriculture and urban dynamics
  • WG16 Multifunctionality, rural policy and governance
  • WG17 Social exclusion and poverty in rural areas
  • WG18 Migration and mobility
  • WG19 Transition approaches
  • WG20 Multifunctional agriculture as a coupled human-natural system

CS: Food crisis? Strategies to transform our food system: course outline

On the 16th of October it is World Food Day. The theme this year 2011 is ‘Food prices –from crisis to stability’. Price swings, upswings in particular, represent a major threat to food security in developing countries. It is predicted that instability in the world food economy will continue during the decade to come. What can we do? How can we create resilient food systems? The World Food Day has inspired the NGO’s Otherwise, RUW and the Boerengroep, to jointly organise a series of activities and lectures: Food, Farmers and Forks: moving beyond the crisis in agriculture.

In collaboration with Petra Derkzen of the chairgroup Rural Sociology (RSO) the series can be followed as one of the learning activities in this Capita Selecta course under the code RSO 51303 ‘Agricultural and Rural Innovation Processes’. The Food Farmer Fork lecture series together with the book: Food movements Unite! Strategies to Transform Our Food System (ed. Eric Holt-Giménez; see foodfirst.org) and a written essay form the basis of the course.

So, listen to critical lectures on the role that social movements can play in rural development, the future for European farmers after the CAP, the contribution of urban agriculture to food security and consider your own Ecological Footprint in the Food Farmer Fork series! And, the course literature consists of a just released and super timely book which gives the necessary background and concepts to understand the relationships between food sovereignty, resilient food systems and social movements. We will read Part I. You will learn to formulate your own vision on these relationships through the course essay assignment. The full course outline will be available soon.

Credits: 3. See under this link the course outline: Capita Selecta RSO 51303 v2

Language: English

Start: Tuesday evening 1th of November. Lectures/activities; every tuesday evening until 13th of December. Deadline essay delivery 14 of December.

Subscribe to the course until 31 of October at Boerengroep st.boerengroep@wur.nl