dr. EJ (Esther) Veen

dr. EJ (Esther) Veen

Docent

I am interested in the city and its chaos, but also in rural areas and the food production that often takes place there. Urban and rural areas come together in urban agriculture. As a sociologist I am most of all interested in finding out what moves people, how they make their choices, and how they live together. That's why I studied a number of community gardens in the Netherlands for my PhD research. I studied to what extent these community gardens lead to social cohesion, and to what extent we can see community gardens as expressions of a new, alternative food movement. You can find my thesis here: http://edepot.wur.nl/345279.

After completing my PhD I started my work as a teacher at the Rural Sociology Group. I teach courses relating to (the sociology of) food and health.

When I was working on my PhD I worked as a researcher for DLO, where I looked into urban agriculture, albeit in a broader fashion, and on multifunctional agriculture. For me these are two sides of the same coin; it is about bringing the city and the countryside together. On the one hand it is about agriculture becoming more responsive to society's needs, on the other about a renewed interest of urbanites in food and where it comes from. I still engage with these themes, but I am now also working on the health effects of (urban) gardening, studying to what extent gardening helps people maintain a healthy lifestyle, and whether it is an effective way to promote peer support. I am also highly interested in urban foodscapes and people's food provisioning strategies.