Foodlinks News Issue 2

The latest issue of Foodlinks News is out!

You can read about our visit to the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain where we had a meeting with the City Council about new initiatives on organic peri-urban agriculture. We also share with you some stories from members of the urban food strategies community of practice (CoP). What kind of value did they get from participating in this CoP?

Furthermore you can see a list of upcoming and past events, new library resources as well as a list of some of our new members.

Would you also like to become a member? Sign up for the Short Food Supply Chain, Revaluing Public Sector Food Procurement or Urban Food Strategies CoP!

A key characteristic of the Foodlinks project is that it brings together different types of knowledge and experience from research, 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.  

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 (, 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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Brochure Rural Sociology

Last year we produced a beautiful brochure of our group, Rural Sociology of Wageningen University. The brochure contains all necessary education information offered by our group. For people interested in our group, for future students or alumni the brochure gives you a brief idea of our activities. You will get inspired by the enthusiastic interviews held with students and former students!

Have a look at the digital version here. Or ask for a hard copy by sending a message to

Traditional Foods at IP Romania (5) Student reflection

Four previous blogs reported on the Intensive Program on Traditional Foods in Romania which took place during the first weeks of February. Students who participated reflect on their experiences.

Written by Cho-Ye Yuen

picture: Stefanos Nastis - Valea Draganului

Not knowing what to expect, we arrived in Cluj-Napoca, where it was minus 15 degrees during the day and minus 20 during the night and everywhere was covered with snow. The first day started off well, students from different countries brought their own traditional food and held a presentations about it. Afterwards there was this big tasting where we enjoyed parmigiano reggiano aged 12 and 48 months, French saucisson, different kinds of cheeses and cakes, smoked bacon and off course accompanied by some drinks: strong liquors from Poland and Romania such as plum brandy. The next day was more serious and started with lectures from professors all over Europe. Assignments were given and working in groups with different nationalities was not unfamiliar when you come from Wageningen.

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Duurzaam? Ondernemend? Creatief?

Creative City Lab zoekt deelnemers voor de Business Course ‘Food Center Amsterdam’!

Voor het Food Center Amsterdam zoekt Creative City Lab 10 toptalenten die een bijdrage willen leveren aan een nieuwe duurzame wereld. Het mini-lab is een vijfdaagse business course die eind maart in samenwerking met het Food Center Amsterdam wordt georganiseerd en in het teken staat van het verduurzamen van de voedselketen. Voor studenten een prachtige manier om veel te leren, een netwerk op te bouwen en ervaring op te doen over duurzaam voedsel en ondernemerschap. Continue reading

Looking for a Luthanian experience?

Are you a student of Wageningen University and interested in rural development and Lithuania? Then: keep reading!
Every year, the Rural Sociology Group participates in a two week intensive programme on rural development in the EU. A diverse group of students from various European countries (a.o. Portugal, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Lithuania, Slovenia) work together on a case study. Through lectures and field trips scientific and practical knowledge will be aquired and then implemented in the case study analysis. See last year’s experience in San Vito di Cadore
This year, the IP takes place in the Kaunas region of Lithuania from 15 to 28 April.
The subject of the intensive programme is “Role of agriculture and natural resources in sustainable rural development” (AGSURUDE). The objectives is to teach last year bachelor and master students existing theories on multifunctional agriculture, natural resources management, competitiveness of rural areas and management of sustainable rural development. The programme aims to show students what it means in practice, to enable them to critically evaluate the existing situation and to define the role of agriculture and natural resources management in building up sustainability of rural areas development.
For subsciption and more information contact Els Hegger ( 

Living the peasant way of life in Santa Cruz de la Colina

After a longer posting-pause in which I finalized my first research phase, identifying supporters of rural grassroots development initiatives in the Province of Soto, here a new update of my activities in Colombia:

Time is flying and I am finalizing my second research phase, asking grassroots development initiatives to evaluate the support they are receiving to build joint capacities. To be able to speak with rural development initiatives, I was invited to spend a week with a peasant family in the vereda St. Ana of Santa Cruz de la Colina.

Santa Cruz de la Colina, Matanza, Colombia

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Request for a master student interested in place, landscape and population

The PeerGrouP is a location-art group that specializes in site-specific theatre and visual arts in the northern provinces of the Netherlands. The PeerGrouP consists of a lively mix of theatre makers and artists who are inspired by the landscape, the location and the local inhabitants. The quality of food, ecology, practical knowledge of the landscape, community spirit and the supply of energy are recurring themes within the PeerGroup’s projects.

The PeerGroup is looking for artists and researchers willing to participate in their P.A.I.R. (Portable Artist in Residence) project. The P.A.I.R.-project promotes artistic social commitment while focusing attention on man and his surroundings. The P.A.I.R. will be visiting three different locations (Veenkoloniën, Donderen, de Wolden) in the north of the Netherlands (Drenthe) to meet local inhabitants and to investigate their surroundings. In the past three years, the PeerGrouP realized three P.A.I.R.-projects every year. In 2012, the P.A.I.R.’s fourth year, the theme is Landscape Population. The landscape and its meanings in relation to the inhabitants and other users will be looked at on different levels.

The Rural Sociology Group and the Peer Group are looking for a  (preferably Dutch speaking)  master student interested in landscape, place, population and art, who is enthusiastic to do his/her internship or thesis in this site-specific project, starting preferably around August. The student-researcher will actually stay in the P.A.I.R. (see photo) for a while in September, in the area of the Wolden (near Meppel) in the  north of the Netherlands, while doing participative research.

Possible research questions are for example:
– What is ‘sense of place’ for the local population in the Wolden?
– Which meanings to they give to the landscape?
– Do inhabitants experience local identities? Do they have story-lines related the landscape?
– How are meanings, identities and sense of place linked to underlying values of people?
– How can meanings identities and sense of place be translated to recommendations for practice and policy? (people’s participation, community cohesion, networks)

Places are constituted by sedimented social structures and cultural practices, endowed with meaning and the constitution of identities, subjectivities and difference. In other words: culture sits in places. ‘Sense of place’ refers to an individual’s connection with a place (location, building, landscape) and to their experience of place, including different senses (sight, hearing, smell, movement, touch, imagination, purpose and anticipation). It is both individual and inter-subjective, closely connected to community as well as to personal memory and self. Sense of place has many components such as place attachment, place identity, place commitment and dependency, belongingness or rootedness or community connectedness and community cohesion. We will focus here on ‘Sense of landscape’. Sense of place is rooted in underlying values, about what people perceive as important for their quality of life. People value places and express agency and take leadership in shaping their own place. On the local level people reflect on and negotiate the conditions of engagement/participation, rooted in underlying values. If people become more aware of their source of passion, values, feelings and sense making, this can enlarge our ‘cultural repertoire’ and lead to a more inspired use of our environment.

The student researcher will carry out ‘on-site’ participatory research from a development and/or historic perspective on the sense of place and values of the local population in the Wolden in Drenthe, in the early autumn of 2012. The student will potentially cooperate with students from other educational institutes (AOC’s).The research will be supervised by the RSO group (Ina Horlings) and the Peer Group (Henry Alles). If you are interested, please send a mail before March to Ina Horlings (

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

DERREG film Westerkwartier

Over the last 3 years, we have been carrying out research in the Westerkwartier concerning global influences on rural regional development.

The Westerkwartier, Groningen Province, The Netherlands

This research was carried out as part of the European project DERREG. The Westerkwartier was involved in two work packages of the project: 1. Investigating arrangements through which public support for joint learning and innovation is provided to development initiatives active in the region (WP4) and 2. Investigating global networking activities among rural businesses in the Westerkwartier (WP1).

In the summer and fall of this year, three film students from the University of Aberystwyth in Wales made their way around Europe to visit all case study areas and to film the present development activities. In the Westerkwartier, the film focuses on our research conducted for WP4 (joint learning and innovation). In this film, several supporters as well as the beneficiaries were interviewed. Their stories describe the development activities in the Westerkwartier very lively and give a feeling of the enthusiastic and motivated engagement of the denizens in developing their Westerkwartier. The film is available on YouTube and can be viewed here. Enjoy!