Internship: Regionaal voedsel rondom Arnhem: ‘lokale verkoop in kaart’

buy localEr zijn tal van sites waar boerderijwinkels zichzelf presenteren en waar verkooppunten van boeren en tuinders verzameld staan. Maar geeft dit inderdaad een accuraat beeld? Is alle huisverkoop van boeren en tuinders echt in beeld? En wat is het volume dat door directe verkoop wordt afgezet? Is dit volume gelijk aan afzet in de regio? Welke kanalen zijn te onderscheiden? Logistieke problemen?

Deze vragen kwamen voort uit een verkenning van het regionale voedselsysteem door een ACT groep voor de opdrachtgevers Architectuurcentrum CASA en de Wageningen UR Wetenschapswinkel. Lokaal voedsel is hip, maar wat al gedaan wordt in een geografisch gebied is onvoldoende in beeld; hoe krijgen we huisverkoop dat nu ‘onder de radar’ verdwijnt in beeld?

casa arnhem CASA wil samen met andere partijen voedsel als stedelijk thema agenderen om het brede publiek te informeren over de wijze waarop onze voedselvoorziening georganiseerd is. Het in kaart brengen vormt één van de manieren om tot verduurzaming te inspireren. De verzamelde data kan leiden tot een (interactieve) kaart/website (zie transitiekaart.nl voor inspiratie).

De student (een duo van twee is ook mogelijk) wordt begeleid vanuit WING, de projectleider van het Wetenschapswinkel project. De student schrijft een voorstel voor de begeleidingscommissie van het project over hoe de directe verkoop binnen een geografisch gebied rondom Arnhem systematisch in kaart gebracht kan worden. En voert dit onderzoek vervolgens uit. Op de fiets de regio in? Maar dan wel volgens een methode. We zoeken hiervoor een inventieve student die mobiel en ondernemend is.

Meer informatie: Petra.derkzen@wur.nl

Set-up vegetable farm: Internship at PeerGroup

Set up of small-scale vegetable farm in Donderen – Province of Drenthe

Location: the headquarters of the PeerGroup, Depot Donderen. The vacated ammunition Depot Donderen was built in the time of the Cold War and is working space of the PeerGroup since January 2011. The bunker complex sits in a small forest and has several ammunition buildings of varying sizes with open space in between. The PeerGroup shares the grounds with care farm Peest. The site, with the neighbouring farms is popularly called ‘Donderboerkamp’.

Commissioner: PeerGroup, a theatrical group that specializes in site-specific theatre in the northern provinces of the Netherlands working with themes of, in and for rural communities.

STA73745The PeerGroup is looking for a student who relates to the creative energy of the artist community of PeerGroup while bringing along collaborative skills, agro-ecology knowledge and an open mind for co-creation and learning. The student will be selected on the basis of an intake on the site. The student develops a plan and makes it happen with the support of the PeerGroup. The student can live on-site during the internship.

Applications with a motivation letter: Petra.derkzen@wur.nl

Local food hip and happening

Lots of anecdotical stories buzz around for who is looking for the local trend in food. A local ‘snackbar’ (de Patat Koning) in Rotterdam contacted local farmers for local potatoes. My colleague Jan Willem van der Schans rightly observed; ‘why can you get ten different sauces on your fries but no choice in which fries you eat’. It makes a difference from which potato the french fries are made said the connoisseur. Equally, the burger is localising. Instead of imported beef, old Dutch breeds are being rediscovered for their meat, such as the ‘blaarkop’ cow. Some foreign breeds of cows used for grazing in conservation areas have difficulty adapting to the richness of the fodder compared to their own more harsh environments. The ‘blaarkop’ is adapted to local climate, and aparantly makes excellent hamburgers……. Continue reading

Localising the food economy in Arnhem?

Von Thunen’s famous ring model

Can the city-region of Arnhem be self-suffient for food? Certainly not for meat, but surprisingly for quite a few other product categories such as potatoes, eggs and most probably vegetables. And suppose we reduce our meat intake, could the region then also produce wheat for bread consumption?

Today five students of the Academic Consultancy Training course presented their recommendations to Stichting CASA in Arnhem. CASA is a non-profit for Architecture and urban development in Arnhem which focused on food and the city this year with a program called ‘Taste the city’. CASA commissioned research with the Science Shop on the question of regional food production and consumption in the region Arnhem and development of a food strategy. Continue reading

Rhetorical devices in feeding the world

Recently there were two food events here, a university run Food4you series of events and a series organised by critical student organisations Boerengroep and Otherwise called Food for All. The very different approaches to food are captured in their titles. The latter series finished yesterday on World Food Day with the Dutch premiere of the film Crops for the Future.  An instructive film about agroecology practices and food sovereignty from all over the world. Examples from the field were backed up with interviews with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food , with an author of the Agriculture at a Crossroads report and others. The message; we urgently need to move to another paradigm, the coming century is one of biology/diversity instead of chemistry. Still, it seems that the protagonists of a gone-by era are capable of organising a stage for themselves, the PR machine of Louise Fresco seems overheated. What are their rhetorical devices? Continue reading

CKi - Challenged Kids International

Stanford University researchers conducted a meta-analysis* of seventeen studies in humans and 230 field studies of nutrient and contaminant levels in unprocessed foods (e.g., fruits, vegetables, grains, milk, eggs, chicken, pork, and meat). The study, published in The Annals of Internal Medicine (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22944875), concluded that “the published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.” 

This conclusion has received vast media coverage – announcing that this meta-analysis demonstrates clearly that organic foods might not have more nutritious value than conventional foods and questioning the “value add” of producing and eating organic. Is organic food little more than a made up marketing scheme, another way for affluent consumers to waste money?This was the kind of questions that came to my mind when reading the articles from influential newspapers like…

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Food nostalgia

Can you see beyond a paradigm when you are inside it – immersed, educated, experienced? I wondered this watching yet another episode in the ‘intensify or die’ debate that erupted from the opening of the academic year. The episode can be seen here where Louise Fresco argues for nuance and warns against romantic food nostalgia, such as cows in pasture. Continue reading

Edible public space eaten by whom?

Growing food in public spaces can be a great awareness raising campaign. A beautiful example is given here from the city of Adernach which was in the news this summer at various German tv stations (quite appropriate that the Dutch call the news in the summer “cucumber times”). There are also projects in England such as in Leeds or in The Netherlands such as the one in my neighbourhood (see earlier posts here and here). Continue reading

Embedded in a crisis, IRSA (3)

The majority of our purchases, be it food or something else, are done through market relations which are increasingly void of the personal, of long-term social relations and social investment. Whereas early theories on the social embeddedness of markets (Polanyi and Granovetter) are popular again amongst academics nowadays, I wonder if we can actually really imagine how deep embeddedness could or should go in the face of abstract and almost anonymous transactions through which we procure everyday. How often are we in situations where the relationship is as important as the product acquired, maybe even unrelated to the product acquired? Our current routines and realities shape how we interpret literature and imagine the possible.

Efficient food procuring – a chore that needs to be done – does make it quite impossible for me to imagine a buyer – seller relation that goes beyond regularity and chitchat. Why would I invest more than knowing my local butcher by name and where he gets his meat and a comment on the weather while buying meat, my local veggiebox, eggs and cheese (yes we have an unusual butcher in town) on my way home from work?

My Spanish colleagues told me that they are in the midst of finding out how to come by in an economy and democracy that is imploding. No money to buy in the supermarket? Get yourself a network! my colleague Ignacio exclaimed referring to those who would previously looked down on his ‘anarchist’ ideas. And land. The first land occupations are occurring in Andalusia he told me, mimicking land rights claims of the Movimiento Sem Terra from Brasil.

“Unpacking the spatial fixes of the previous regime” is how Terry Marsden called this in his keynote. The re-orientation of property rights and regimes has not received enough attention from research in the last 20 years. But cutting through the established property rights concepts and practices is needed urgently he added. This counts as well for concepts of market relations it seems to me.

Food citizenship and the market, IRSA (2)

It was very stimulating the hear the speech of Boaventura de Sousa Santos last Monday also because we use his theories in some courses. He pointed to the hegemonic epistemologies of the West which render other knowledges invisible and/or insignificant. However, the current economic/financial crisis in Europe creates turbulence in conceived concepts. Who knows the West can learn from other epistemologies such as from indigenous people in the South to overcome the theoretical exhaustion, he provoked. Also Patricia Allen challenged us to “illuminate our epistemological frameworks and interrogate our ideology constructions” (such as ideas on the free market).

But what if concepts have such hegemonic power that they disappear into the background as taken for granted stepping stones in conversations, writings and analysis? While many of us are aware of and very critical about particular neo-liberal frameworks of the free market, the concept of ‘market’ itself is something we seldom think we can do without. The logic of our everyday lived experience of capitalist market relations is silently inside our analysis, even if we are talking about civic food networks where citizens take initiatives to form new food networks. Continue reading