Arjan Bouwmeester – Agriculture and nature
Why agriculture and nature?
I have had an interest about food my whole life, but not necessarily in the artisanal way or one that is purely based on taste. I firmly believe that there are more qualities that deserve consideration when talking about food, such as sustainability and a deeper understanding of animal wellbeing.
The agricultural systems we have developed over decades are often not capable of adapting to our changing world. For this reason, more research is being done to understand different ways to grow our crops.
Communication, agriculture and nature
Researchers often seem to be obsessed with their expertise and its positive attributes, but that often leads to the same tunnel vision that has shaped our current mainstream view on agriculture.
For this reason, it is important to have people with an overview of all these different ideas and ideologies about the production and consumption of food. People who are able to connect instead of divert by bringing people together to look for suitable solutions to complex problems. This is where communication scientists come in; to find out how we can bring together these people and ideas.
During my Bachelor’s and Master’s, I tried to indulge myself in different (alternative) views on agricultural systems and practices, both through life science and communication courses, given that Wageningen University enables students to explore many different scientific disciplines thanks to interdisciplinary groups. All these different perspectives enable you to understand problems in different ways.
During my Master’s, I learned how to understand different realities and social scientific practices, how to facilitate processes to guide the integration of these different realities, how intercultural communication works (or when it falls short), and how innovation works in different stages of development.
Courses in the field of agriculture and nature courses
The life science courses incorporated into my programme were Methodologies for Reading Sustainable Foodscapes and Environmental Psychology.