Exploring business models in Urban Agriculture

Despite the growing attention and support for urban agriculture (UA) and the increase in urban farming businesses, little is known about the business aspects of UA. This is not only an omission in UA research, but it could also constrain the development of UA businesses in the future.

We are therefore undertaking research to understand business approaches in UA. This may help to classify UA business models and could serve as a first step to explore UA through a business approach. For this purpose we have designed an online questionnaire that takes 10 – 15 minutes to complete

Hence, we are looking UA entrepreneurs willing to answer the questions in this questionnaire. In return, a written report of the research results will be shared with you through email (please leave your email address at the end of the questionnaire if you are interested).

We will also be very thankful if you can forward the link to this questionnaire (https://wur.az1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_bQ0RmTT67JPiXn7) to (other) urban agriculture entrepreneurs you know.

We sincerely appreciate your precious time and kind help!

Shuang Liu (MSc student in Organic Agriculture, Wageningen University)
Han Wiskerke (Professor of Rural Sociology, Wageningen University)

Summerschool Thinking City – Amsterdam

In the past two weeks a very international group of Master and PhD students, academics, policymakers, designers, teachers and activists have been participating in the Summer School Thinking City. They have been working on a range of challenges Amsterdam is dealing with. On Friday evening 18 July the different teams will present their findings and recommendations in the Stadsschouwburg of Amsterdam. This final evening of the Summer School will start at 19.30 with a lecture (via Skype) by Prof. Richard Sennett (Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics) about his book-in-progress ‘How to build better cities’. From 21.00 to 22.30 the six Summer School teams will present their work. Entrance to this final event is for free, so anyone interested in the topic of the Summer School is cordially invited to attend this.

New journal announcement: SITOPOLIS – Journal of Urban Agriculture and Regional Food Systems

SITOPOLIS – The Journal of Urban Agriculture and Regional Food Systems is a multi-disciplinary, peer-reviewed and open access journal focussing on urban and peri-urban agriculture and systems of urban and regional food provisioning in developing, transition and advanced economies.

The journal intends to be a platform for cutting edge research on urban and peri-urban agricultural production for food and non-food (e.g. flowers, medicine, cosmetics) uses and for social, environmental and health services (e.g. tourism, water storage, care, education, waste recycling, urban greening). It aims to explore, analyse and critically reflect upon urban and regional food production, processing, transport, trade, marketing and consumption and the social, economic, environmental, health and spatial contexts, relations and impacts of these food provisioning activities.

The journal addresses one of the contemporary grand societal challenges: how to secure the availability, affordability and access to culturally appropriate, nutritious and safe food for a growing and rapidly urbanizing world population in times of increasing resource scarcity, diet-related ill-health and climate change. This contemporary grand societal challenge requires a multi-disciplinary approach and hence SITOPOLIS welcomes contributions from a wide variety of disciplines, such as sociology, economics, marketing and consumer studies, gender studies, human and economic geography, urban and regional planning, architecture, urbanism, landscape architecture, political science, agronomy, soil science, water management, and public health studies. The journal publishes original research as well as critical reviews.

The journal is published by Baltzer Science Publishers in collaboration with ACSESS, the Alliance of Crop, Soil and Environmental Science Societies in the USA and with the RUAF Foundation. Editor-in-Chief is Prof.dr. Han Wiskerke, supported by an international and multi-disciplinary editorial board.

Student-assistenten gezocht voor de Dag van de Stadslandbouw

Op donderdag 15 mei vind in De Fabrique in Utrecht de Dag van de Stadslandbouw plaats, dit jaar in samenwerking georganiseerd met het PUREFOOD netwerk dat op 14 en 15 mei haar eindcongres houdt. Voor de Dag van de Stadslandbouw zijn de organisatoren nog op zoek naar een paar studenten die hand- en spandiensten kunnen verrichten op 15 mei (o.a. bij de ontvangst van de deelnemers en bij de start van de workshop sessies). Heb je belangstelling om te helpen, meld je dan aan bij Marco Lipsius van B2B Productions (marco.lipsius (at) b2bproductions.nl).

PUREFOOD conference teaser – The many benefits of local food

On May 14 and 15 2014 the PUREFOOD conference entitled “Take action? Collaborative action for more sustainable food systems” will take place in Utrecht (The Netherlands). The morning of the first day (Wednesday May 14) will take place in the Central Museum of Utrecht and consists of three inspirational presentations followed by a reflection by keynote listener Professor Tim Lang and discussions in workshops. In the afternoon there will be three excursions to urban and peri-urban agriculture and food initiatives in and around Utrecht.

The second day of the conference (Thursday May 15) will take place in DeFabrique in Utrecht. This second day is a joint event of PUREFOOD and the Day of Urban Farming, with a keynote speech by Claus Meyer (founder of the New Nordic Cuisine movement and co-owner of restaurant Noma in Copenhagen, which is considered to be the world’s best restaurant) and a wide variety of parallel workshops. For more information see the conference program.

As a teaser for the PUREFOOD conference Creative Beards has made a short animation movie addressing the main issues that have been studied in PUREFOOD.

Theoretical approaches to the ecologisation of agrifood systems – European Society of Rural Sociology 2014 Summerschool

Transitions towards more sustainable agrifood systems and rural landscapes are at the core of societal demands, technological but also social innovations and renewed public policies at various scales. In rural sociology they are addressed through different theoretical frameworks and the main objective of the ESRS PhD Summer School this year, is to discuss these competing and sometimes articulated frameworks and thereby to help the PhD students to clarify their own theoretical choices and to position them in relation to other theoretical frameworks that are used in rural sociology. For students who are rather at the beginning of their PhD, the aim will be to help them organize their state of the art and clarify their problematisation, while for students who are more advanced, it would rather be a discussion of their results in the light of existing literature and/or possibly the preparation of a future article. All the participants should have an interest in the theoretical frameworks that will be structuring the discussion, i.e. mainly Socio-Ecological Systems/Resilience theories, Food Regime Theory, Transition Theories, Actor Network Theory, and Social Studies of Science and Knowledge. Continue reading

Interested in Food and Place?

Are you interested in the sociological aspects of food provisioning and place-based development and want to know more about topics like place-based food systems, food citizenship, civic food networks, sustainable place-shaping, diverse economies, place branding and social movements? Then it may be a relevant for you to attend the MSc course ‘Sociology of Food Provisioning and Place-based Development’ that starts on Monday 17 March 2014. Lectures and workshops are held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings for a period of 6 weeks. Included in the program is also a gastronomic excursion to rural estate Rhederoord, to experience the practice of place-making and enjoy the taste of place-based food products. Although registration for the course has formally closed you can still register for the course by sending an email to the course coordinator  (han.wiskerke@wur.nl). For more information about the content of the course, the program and the literature, have a look at the Course Guide.

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