Celebrating 75 years of Rural Sociology

The Rural Sociology Group of Wageningen University will celebrate its 75th Anniversary on May 13, 2022 with a public event entitled “Rural Sociology: past, present and future”.

Venue: Akoesticum, Nieuwe Kazernelaan 2D42, 6711 JC Ede, The Netherlands (registration has closed).

For more information: ruralsociology2022@gmail.com

At the event we will reflect upon the history of rural sociology and discuss future challenges in a lively and interactive setting.

Program

08.30 – Registration and coffee/thee

09.00 – Opening by Arthur Mol (Rector Magnificus of Wageningen University)

09.30 – Keynote Han Wiskerke
Meaningful diversity: Past, present and future of rural   sociology

10.00 – Keynote Haroon Akram-Lodhi
From peasant studies to critical agrarian studies

10.45 – Break

11.00 – Rural Talk Show – Interactive session including invited guests and audience participation. The Talk Show is chaired by Matt Reed, with Jan Douwe van der Ploeg as a permanent table guest, and changing table guests around the following three themes:
– Societal engagement or academic distance; with Jessica Duncan, Aya Kimura, Han Wiskerke
– Discussing the rural-urban dichotomy;
 with Henk Oostindie, Sally Shortall, Esther Veen
– A continuing debate: agency and structure; 
with Bettina Bock, Bram Büscher, and Mark Vicol

12.15 – Closure morning session

12.30 – Lunch

14.00 – Workshops

15.30 – Keynote Hannah Wittman
Bridging rural and urban through agroecological networks: cultivating agrarian citizenship in a climate crisis

16.30 – Imagining the next 25 years of rural sociology. Interactive session around three research agenda’s, briefly pitched by RSO staff, followed by an open floor exchange of ideas and discussion:
– Agriculture – introduction Kees Jansen
– Place – introduction Joost Jongerden
– Food – introduction Jessica Duncan

18.00 – Closure, drinks and conference diner

Keynote speakers:

Haroon Akram-Lodhi – ‘From peasant studies to critical agrarian studies
Haroon Akram Lodhi is Professor of Economics and International Development Studies at Trent University, Canada. His research interest is in the political economy of agrarian change, the future of smallholder peasant communities in the world food system, on the sustainability of rural social structures, relations and institutions, and gender and rights based economics. https://sites.google.com/site/aharoonakramlodhi/home

Arthur Mol – Opening
Arthur Mol was trained in environmental sciences (MSc) and environmental social sciences (PhD). Besides being Chair and Professor of Environmental Policy at Wageningen University he was also Professor of Environmental Policy at Renmin University, China, at Tsinghua University, China, and at the National University of Malaysia UKM. He was joint editor of the journal Environmental Politics, and is book series editor of New Horizons in Environmental Politics. His main fields of interest and publications are in environmental studies, globalization, social theory and the environment, informational governance, ecological modernization, China, sustainable (food) production and consumption and urban environmental governance. Currently, he is Rector Magnificus and Vice-President of the Executive Board of Wageningen University & Research and president of the Association of European Life Science Universities (ICA). https://www.wur.nl/en/Persons/Arthur-prof.dr.ir.-APJ-Arthur-Mol.htm

Hannah Wittman – ‘Bridging rural and urban through agroecological networks: cultivating agrarian citizenship in a climate crisis
Hannah Wittman is Professor Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia in Canada. Her research examines the ways that the rights to produce and consume food are contested and transformed through struggles for agrarian reform, food sovereignty, and agrarian citizenship. Her projects include community-based research on farmland access, transition to organic agriculture, and seed sovereignty in British Columbia, agroecological transition and the role of institutional procurement in the transition to food sovereignty in Ecuador and Brazil, and the role that urban agriculture and farm-to-school nutrition initiatives play in food literacy education. http://ires.ubc.ca/person/hannah-wittman/

Han Wiskerke – ‘Meaningful diversity: past, present and future of rural sociology’
Han Wiskerke is Professor of Rural Sociology and Chair of the Rural Sociology Group at Wageningen University since 2004. From January 2013 until June 2016 he was also  Professor of Foodscape Studies and Design at the Academy of Architecture (Amsterdam University of the Arts). His main research themes during the past 15 years have been a) agrarian and rural development, b) city-region food systems and c) urban-rural relations. He was founding editor-in-chief of Urban Agriculture and Regional Food Systems from 2014 – 2018 and (co-)editor of books on agrarian & rural transitions, food planning, foodscape studies & design, urban agriculture, and sustainable & regenerative food systems. https://www.wur.nl/nl/personen/han-prof.dr.ir.-jsc-han-wiskerke.htm

Participants in the Rural Talk Show session and the Imagining the next 25 years of rural sociology session:

Bettina Bock is Professor for Inclusive Rural Development at the Rural Sociology Chairgroup at Wageningen University and Professor for Population Decline and Quality of Life at Groningen University. Her areas of research include inclusive rural development and social innovation, with a particular focus on remote and depopulating rural areas, governance, migration and rural gender relations. From 2013-2019 she was the editor-in-chief of Sociologia Ruralis. In addition, she is a board members of the European Society for Rural Sociology and the International Rural Sociology Association. She has been invited as guest professor at the Università di Gastronomia in Pollenza in 2020), Cornell University in the United States (2019), Kyoto University (2018) and Newcastle University (2017). https://www.wur.nl/nl/personen/bettina-prof.dr.ir.-bb-bettina-bock.htm

Bram Büscher is Professor and Chair of the Sociology of Development and Change group at Wageningen University. He holds visiting positions at the Department of Geography, Environmental Management and Energy Studies of the University of Johannesburg and the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology of Stellenbosch University, in South Africa. His research interests revolve around the political economy of conservation and development, the politics of energy and extraction, ecotourism, new media and social theory. More info at www.brambuscher.com

Jessica Duncan is Associate Professor in the Politics of Sustainable Food Systems in the Rural Sociology Group at Wageningen University, is a researcher and educator committed to social justice. Jessica is widely recognised for her expertise on the politics of sustainable food system transition. She is a founding member of the Centre for Unusual Collaborations (CUCo) and sits on the editorial board of Sociologia Ruralis. https://www.wur.nl/nl/personen/jessica-dr.-jab-jessica-duncan.htm

Kees Jansen is an Associate Professor in the Rural Sociology Group at Wageningen University. His work connects the fields of political ecology, critical agrarian studies and international development. His current research focusses on pesticide risk governance and social movements concerned about pesticides. More info at www.keesjansen.eu

Joost Jongerden is an Associate Professor in the Rural Sociology Group at Wageningen University. His research on ‘Do-It-Yourself Development’ aims to identify the possibilities of alternative futures grounded in peoples’ daily practices and present struggles. His geographical focus is Kurdistan and Turkey. He holds a position as professor at the Asian Platform for Global Sustainability and Transcultural Studies, Kyoto University, Japan, and has been a visiting professor at Toronto University in 2018. In 2012 he was a founding member of the journal Kurdish Studies, of which he was an editor until 2020. In 2021 he founded the journal Commentaries. He is a board member of the European Union Turkey Civic Commission. https://wur.academia.edu/JoostJongerden

Aya H. Kimura – professor of sociology at the University of  Hawai`i-Manoa. Her research analyzes the intersections of technoscience, gender, and  sustainability. She has had research projects in Indonesia, Japan, and Hawai`i, and has written on agrobiodiversity, fermentation, food safety, nutrition science and the idea of “smart food.”  Among others, she examines diverse practical experiences with citizen science on a range of food and farming issues, from seed development to toxicants to biodiversity. https://ayakimura.weebly.com/

Henk Oostindie – Senior Researcher in the Rural Sociology Group at Wageningen University. He has a longstanding experience in researching the socio-economic aspects of rural development, including topics as farming styles, multifunctional agrarian pathways, food chain dynamics, multi-level rural governance and rural-urban interdepencies. A significant part of his empirically grounded research interests took place within comparative analysis and policy oriented European projects.

Jan Douwe van der Ploeg – Emeritus Professor and the former Chair of the Rural Sociology Group in Wageningen. In his position as Professor of Rural Sociology, he elaborated the inquiry into the expressions, implications and underlying mechanisms of heterogeneity in agriculture. He was also closely involved in some of the grass root initiatives that aimed at developing (practical) new alternatives to the reigning model of ongoing scale-increase and further industrialization of agriculture and rural development. http://www.jandouwevanderploeg.com/EN/

Matt Reed – Associate Professor in Food Citizenship and director of the Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) at the University of Gloucestershire (UK). He is a sociologist with research interests in how and why social change takes place around food. His research rests upon the intersections of political sociology, cultural studies and rural geography. http://www.ccri.ac.uk/reed/

Sally Shortall – Duke of Northumberland Professor of Rural Economy at the Centre for Rural Economy, Newcastle University (UK). Her research interest is in rural sociology, community studies, rural development and rural proofing, agriculture, farm families. She is specifically known for her work on gender and agriculture. https://www.ncl.ac.uk/cre/about/staff/profile/sallyshortall.html#background

Esther Veen worked as an Assistant Professor at the Rural Sociology Group of Wageningen University until 2021. She taught courses on urban food, food and identity, foodscapes and alternative food networks, and studied urban food initiatives, urban food growing and the effects of green on health and wellbeing. She is currently lector (reader) Urban Food Issues at Aeres University of Applied Sciences Almere, working closely with research institute Flevo Campus. She studies how food routines change and normalise, and how the urban environment can stimulate healthier and more sustainable food patterns. She is specifically interested in the interplay between the food environment and everyday routines around shopping, cooking and eating. She also focuses on the role of urban agriculture in the urban food system. 
https://www.aereshogeschool.nl/onderzoek/lectoren-en-onderzoekers/esther-veen

Mark Vicol is Assistant Professor of Agrarian Sociology in the Rural Sociology Group at Wageningen University. My research focuses on the intersections between rural livelihoods, agricultural development and agrarian change in South and Southeast Asia. I explore integrative approaches to understanding patterns of change at the intersections of micro-scale rural livelihoods and the macro-scale political-economic structures and social relations that underpin global capitalism. Specifically, I am interested in the changing relationships between land, agriculture, rural livelihoods and inequality; the livelihood implications for rural households of modern agricultural global value chains, and the politics of value chain development; and broader political economy questions about patterns of agrarian accumulation and differentiation and the future of small farmers and agriculture in the region.
https://www.wur.nl/en/Persons/Mark-dr.-MR-Mark-Vicol.htm

Venue: Akoesticum, Nieuwe Kazernelaan 2D42, 6711 JC Ede, The Netherlands.

Akoesticum

Boekpresentatie ‘Boeren in de Food Valley’

Voor het boek Boeren in de Food Valley sprak Janneke Blijdorp met vijftien agrariërs uit de Gelderse Vallei. Door schaalvergroting verdween de afgelopen decennia tachtig procent van de boerenbedrijven in dit gebied. De overgebleven boeren zetten in op de internationale voedselindustrie of juist op ambachtelijkheid en de lokale markt. De boeren vertellen in het boek over hun motivatie en toekomstverwachting. Vaak zijn zij al generaties lang met het gebied verbonden. Samen leveren de verhalen een verrassend divers beeld op van veerkrachtige ondernemers. Eric Veltink maakte fotoportretten van de boeren en hun bedrijf. U bent van harte welkom bij de presentatie van Boeren in de Food Valley op donderdagmiddag 24 November van 15.00 – 16.30 uur in De Schaapskooi op het erf van melkveehouder Cor den Hartog, Grote Veenderweg 10, 6741 MC Lunteren. Continue reading

Participants needed for online survey about sustainable urban and peri-urban food provision!

SUPURBFOOD logo

SUPURBFOOD is an international research project carried out by a consortium of ten research and ten SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) partners, in which novel solutions to urban and peri-urban food provision have been examined in three thematic areas. These thematic areas are: (i) nutrient, water and waste cycles, (ii) short food supply chains, and (iii) multi-functional land use. While positive developments are found in all of these, additional steps are needed to make full use of the potential of these innovations. Hence, the project team formulated a set of recommendations and would like to ask relevant stakeholders (e.g. policymakers, entrepreneurs, civil society organisations) for their opinion about their effectiveness. For that purpose an online survey has been launched, which takes 10-15 minutes to complete. If you considers yourself to be a relevant stakeholder, you are kindly requested to complete the online questionnaire, which is available in seven languages: English, Dutch, German, Italian, Latvian, French and Galician.

Localizing Urban Food Strategies – Farming cities and performing rurality: call for abstracts for the 7th AESOP Sustainable Food Planning Conference

The 7th Aesop Sustainable Food Planning (SFP) Conference entitled “Localizing Urban Food Strategies: Farming cities and performing rurality” will take place in Torino (Italiy) from 7 to 9 October 2015.

Localizing urban food strategies refers to embedding sustainable food planning issues in place and in time within each specific local context. Moreover, by targeting planners, agronomists, designers, geographers, administrators, activists etc. engaged in the urban food debate, Farming cities and performing rurality aims at representing a platform for the development of fruitful perspectives for sustainable food planning policies and practices.

On the one hand, Farming cities refers to the development of innovative roles for agricultural production in and around the city, approaching in a structural manner the way agricultural issues are dealt (or should be dealt) with in contemporary urban policies. On the other hand, Performing rurality considers urban food strategies as a tool to define a cooperating relationship between the urban and the rural, reversing in terms of equality the traditional ideological subordination of the countryside to the city.

The activities of the Conference will be articulated around the following tracks: (i) Spatial planning and urban design, (ii) Governance and private entrepreneurship, (iii) Relevant experiences and practices, (iv) Training and jobs, (v) Flows and networks. There will be a specific activity for PhD students and young scholars.

Abstracts for one of the aforementioned tracks can be submitted until the 31st of May via the submission form on the conference website.

Family Farming Futures – PhD-thesis by Henk Oostindie

Cover FFF

March 20, 2015 at 1.30 pm Henk Oostindie will publicly defend his PhD-thesis Familiy Farming Futures. Agrarian pathways to multifunctionality: flows of resistance, redesign and resilience‘ in the Auditorium of Wageningen University. The defence ceremony will be streamed live by WURTV but can be viewed later as well. A hard copy of the thesis can be ordered by sending an email to Henk.Oostindie@wur.nl or a pdf can be downloaded from Wageningen Library (embargo untill March 20).

The PhD-thesis compiles different national and European research projects on multifunctionality and multifunctional agriculture Henk Oostindie was involved since 1999. He has thus gained both a broad and profound knowledge of multifunctionality as a concept and as practice. He is a highly esteemed colleague at our Rural Sociology group.

Call for abstracts Agriculture in an Urbanizing Society Conference

The programme committee of the Agriculture in an Urbanizing Society Conference, which will take place in Rome (Italy) from 14-17 September 2015, has opened the call for abstracts. Abstracts can be submitted through the conference system EasyChair until 31 March 2015 for one of the following 23 working groups (click on the working group for description and convenors or download pdf (500 KB)):

  1. WG1 – Connecting local and global food systems and reducing footprint in food provisioning and use
  2. WG2 – Short food supply chains (regional products; farmers’ markets; collective farmers’ marketing initiatives; alternative food networks; CSA)
  3. WG3 – Economic impact at the farm level
  4. WG4 – New business models for multiple value creation
  5. WG5 – Entrepreneurial skills and competences, knowledge and innovation systems and new learning arrangements
  6. WG6 – Transition approaches
  7. WG7 – Regional branding and local agrifood systems: strategies, governance, and impacts
  8. WG8 – Food systems and spatial planning. Towards a reconnection?
  9. WG9 – Land-use transformations
  10. WG10 – Urban agriculture I. Urban agriculture and Urban Food Strategies: Processes, Planning, Policies and Potential to Reconnect Society and Food
  11. WG11 – Urban agriculture II. Grass-root initiatives and community gardens
  12. WG12 – Urban agriculture III: Effects of UA. Urban agriculture: a potential tool for local and global food security, economic, social and environmental resilience, and community health and wellness
  13. WG13 – Care Farming/Social Farming in more resilient societies
  14. WG14 – Rural tourism (agri-tourism) and changing urban demands
  15. WG15 – Local arrangements for agricultural ecosystem services: connecting urban populations to their peri-urban landscapes through the ecosystem services of agriculture
  16. WG16 – Gender aspects of multifunctional agriculture
  17. WG17 – Civic agriculture for an urbanizing society: production models, consumption practices and forms of governance
  18. WG18 – Society Oriented Farming – working on the balance between market and societal demands
  19. WG19 – Food Security: Meanings, Practices and Policies
  20. WG20 – Revolutionary solutions for local food systems
  21. WG21 – Urban forestry, Green infrastructure
  22. WG22 – Food System Transitions: Cities and the Strategic Management of Food Practices
  23. WG23 – Conceptualising and Assessing City Region Food Systems

After a positive evaluation of the abstract the author will be asked to upload a paper of max 10 pages which will be published online on the website of the conference. There will also be the possibility to submit a short paper of max 2 pages enabling the authors to still publish their results in peer reviewed journals after the conference. Short papers will be published in a book of proceedings. The procedures for the papers will be published on the conference website soon.

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).

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

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.