Foodlinks News

Here you can find the first edition of Foodlinks News! In this newsletter we would like to update you on the activities of the Foodlinks project and its communities.

A key characteristic of the Foodlinks project is that it brings together different types of knowledge and experience, not only from research but also more practical and tacit knowledge from policy and civil society representatives. Foodlinks organises a collective process of sharing and integrating this knowledge around particular problems of food systems. You can read more about Foodlinks on our website and if you would like to receive the next edition of Foodlinks News you can subscribe here.

Would you like to become a member of one of our communities? Sign up for the Short Food Supply Chain, Revaluing Public Procurement or Urban Food Strategies Community of Practice!

New book – Sustainable Food Planning: Evolving Theory and Practice

Half the world’s population is now urbanised and cities are assuming a larger role in debates about the security and sustainability of the global food system. Hence, planning for sustainable food production and consumption is becoming an increasingly important issue for planners, policymakers, designers, farmers, suppliers, activists, business and scientists alike. The rapid growth of the food planning movement owes much to the unique multi-functional character of food systems. In the wider contexts of global climate change, resource depletion, a burgeoning world population, competing food production systems and diet-related public health concerns, new paradigms for urban and regional planning capable of supporting sustainable and equitable food systems are urgently needed. This book addresses this urgent need. By working at a range of scales and with a variety of practical and theoretical models, this book reviews and elaborates definitions of sustainable food systems, and begins to define ways of achieving them. Four different themes have been defined as entry-points into the discussion of ‘sustainable food planning’. These are (1) urban food governance, (2) integrating health, environment and society, (3) urban agriculture (4) planning and design. Continue reading

Conference Call – Agriculture in an Urbanizing Society

A major demographic milestone occurred in May 2007. For the first time in the history of mankind the earth’s population became more urban than rural. This process of urbanization will continue in an accelerated pace in the forthcoming decades: the growth of the world population from 6 billion people in 2000 to 9 billion people in 2050 will mainly occur in urban areas. By 2050 the urban population will approximately be twice the size of the rural population.

However, this does not mean that urban areas are or will become of greater importance than rural areas. On the contrary, the urban and the rural have always heavily relied on each other and will do so even more in an era characterized by rapid urban population growth. Cities will continue to need resources such as food, fibre, clean water, nature, biodiversity, and recreational space, as well as the people and communities that produce and provide these urban necessities and desires. Hence, key questions for the next decades are how, where and by whom these urban necessities and desires will be produced and provided and if and how this can be done in manner that is considered to be socially, economically and ecologically sustainable and ethically sound.

In recent years the concept of multifunctional agriculture has emerged as an important reference in debates on the future of agriculture and the countryside and its relations with the wider and predominantly urban society. This is an expression of the fact that agriculture is not only valued for its contribution to food and fibre production and the economic development of the agro-industry, but needs to be assessed according to a much wider range of social, environmental, economic and ethical concerns. At farm level multifunctional agriculture is characterized by a variety of entrepreneurial strategies and activities, such as processing and direct marketing of food products, energy production, care for elderly and disabled people, and tourism. But multifunctional agriculture is also expressed at higher scales, such as the regional level (e.g. collective nature and landscape management schemes and regional branding) and the national level (e.g. policymaking and implementation).

Due to the multiplicity of activities, the multi-scalar character of multifunctionality and the geographical contextuality of expressions of multifunctional agriculture, research on multifunctional agriculture and changing urban-rural relations is highly fragmented, disciplinarily as well as geographically. Hence, this conference aims to advance the scientific state of the art in research on multifunctional agriculture and urban-rural relations by bringing together scholars of different disciplines (sociology, economics, spatial planning, land use planning, regional planning, urban planning, crop sciences, animal sciences, soil sciences, architecture, etc…) from all parts of the world.

Working group themes
The conference facilities allow for a maximum of 21 parallel working group sessions. The scientific committee has proposed 21 working group themes (see   and is inviting prospective working group convenors to submit a short (max 500 words) call text for the theme they would like to convene. Proposals for a working group call text can be send to the chair of the scientific committee by email ( before the 1st of September 2011. The deadline for submission of abstracts will be 1st of December 2011. Abstracts will have to be submitted to the convenors.

More information

Please check the conference website for more information.

FAQs for PUREFOOD vacancies

We have received a high number of inquiries with regard to our 12 PUREFOOD vacancies. It is good to see there is so much interest in these topics!
Most reactions were inquiries about similar issues. Therefore, we have prepared a list of FAQs for the PUREFOOD vacancies. Please have a look at this list of FAQs before sending us an e-mail!

PUREFOOD – 12 vacancies for ESRs are open

As mentioned in an earlier post on this weblog, the Rural Sociology Group has been granted the the coordination of a Marie Curie Initial Training Network  entitled ‘Urban, peri-urban and regional food dynamics: toward an integrated and territorial approach to food (PUREFOOD)’ funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework PEOPLE program. The objective of PUREFOOD is to train a pool of 12 early-stage researchers (ESRs) in the socio-economic and socio-spatial dynamics of the (peri-)urban and regional foodscape. The PUREFOOD network is centred around food as an integrated and territorial mode of governance and studies the emergence of the (peri-)urban foodscape as an alternative (as opposed to a globalised) geography of food, including the ways in which, and the extent to which, sustainability aspects generally considered to be intrinsic to the alternative food geography are incorporated by the more conventional food companies.

As of now all 12 PUREFOOD research vacancies have been published (or soon will be) by the host universities. For information about the ESR vacancies and application guidelines, you can download the PUREFOOD vacancies leaflet. For more information about the objectives, training and research approach and training program of PUREFOOD you can download the PUREFOOD information pack for prospective ESRs. The deadline for application is 3 January 2011.

Eligibility criteria

The enhancement of transnational mobility to improve career perspectives of early stage researchers is the main goal of the Marie Curie Initial Training funding. To achieve this objective the following eligibility criteria for prospective ESRs have been formulated:

  • You are eligible as an ESR if you are, at the time of recruitment (i) in possession of a university degree, and (ii) have a maximum of four years of full-time research experience, including any period of research training. This is measured from the date when you obtained the degree which formally entitles you to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the research training is provided. Please not that ESRs cannot be PhD holders.
  • You are eligible to the position if, at the time of the selection by the host university, you did not reside or carry out your main activity (work, studies, etc) in the country of the host university for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to your recruitment.

If you have any questions about a vacancy please contact the contact person mentioned in the vacancy announcement. For general question about PUREFOOD please contact me (

PhD position: Knowledge brokerage to promote sustainable food consumption and production

In January 2011 the project ‘FOODLINKS’ (Knowledge brokerage to promote sustainable food consumption and production: linking scientists, policymakers and civil society organizations) will start. This project is funded by the European Commission and will be carried out by a consortium of 14 partners (universities, regional and local governments and civil society organizations) from 9 European countries. The overall project aims at developing and experimenting with new ways of linking research to policy-making in the field of sustainable food consumption and production. FOODLINKS will be coordinated by Prof. Han Wiskerke and Dr. Bettina Bock of the Rural Sociology Group of Wageningen University.

Job description

Within the FOODLINKS project we are looking for a a PhD candidate who is interested in issues of science-society dialogue, science-policy collaboration and social learning in the field of sustainable production and consumption. The PhD candidate will combine the writing of a PhD thesis with hands-on participation in a EC-funded project and contribution to project deliverables. 

Within the overall FOODLINKS project,  the PhD project monitors and evaluates the processes of social learning taking place in three Communities of Practice that are established as part of the project. In these Communities of Practice researchers, policymakers and civil society organization exchange knowledge and experiences and commonly define new research questions in the field of short food supply chains, sustainable public food procurement and urban food strategies. The PhD project will evaluate the knowledge brokerage activities and processes of social learning that are taking place in the Communities of Practice as well as in the project as a whole. 


  • A Master degree in sociology, communication science or innovation studies.
  • Knowledge of relevant theoretical concepts in science and technology studies, science-society dialogue and science-policy collaboration, such as boundary work, knowledge brokerage, multi-stakeholder participation and social learning.
  • Knowledge of and experience with monitoring and evaluating processes of (social) learning.
  • Some knowledge of or interest in agro-food research and issues of sustainable food production and consumption. 
  • Good analytical and writing skills.
  • Fluent in English
  • Willing to travel as the project will include frequent meetings within Europe.

 Appointment conditions

A PhD position for a period of 18 months, extended with another 30 months upon favourable evaluation. Gross salary will increase from € 2042 per month in the first year up to € 2612 per month in the last year based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week). In addition, we offer a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-the-year bonus of 8.3% of your annual salary. 

 Additional information

Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from:

  • Prof. dr. ir J.S.C. Wiskerke, Chair of Rural Sociology, Telephone number: +31 317 482679/4507 and
  • Dr. Ir B.B. Bock, Associate Professor Rural Sociology, Telephone number: +31 317 483275/4507 

Additional information about the FOODLINKS project can obtained through this link. The PhD position is mainly related to Work Packages (WPs) 2, 6 and 7 of FOODLINKS.

Additional information about the organisation can be obtained through one of the following:

Interested? Apply now via before November 8th 2010 (Vacancy number: SSG-RSO-0005).

Second European Sustainable Food Planning Conference – a last reminder

As mentioned in one of my previous blogs the  Urban Performance Group of the University of Brighton (UK) will host the second European Sustainable Food Planning Conference on 29 and 30 October 2010 under auspices of the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP). Although the deadlines for submission of abstracts and selection of papers and posters have passed, there are still a few places available to attend the conference. It promises to become an interesting conference due to the diversity of disciplinary and interdisciplinary contributions and the geographical range of cases and experiences that are going to be presented. And, furthermore, it also seems to be a vary timely conference; the attention for urban agriculture, food and health, food and urban design and food governance is rapidly increasing, not only in the academic realm but also in political and societal debates.

For more information about the conference you can download the conference brochure or have a look at the conference website.


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