Student information

Draft course outline: Economic perspectives for a circular food system

Can farmers make a living from circular production? Are consumers and retailers willing to reward circularity? How do we organize responsibility in the food chain? Are there options to move beyond growth and GDP? In this capita selecta we will discuss these questions and explore the role of the economy in the transformation towards a circular food system.

Capita Selecta AEP-51803
Study load / Credit points: 3 ECTS
Period: 5 (March – April)
Start: 16 March 2020
Deadline essay: 20 April 2020
Language of instruction: English
Coordinator: Evelien de Olde, Animal Production Systems group
Jack Peerlings, Agricultural Economics and Rural Policy
Registration: Evelien de Olde
Examination: Attendance of the lectures is a prerequisite for handing in the essay. The grade for the course is based on the essay (minimum 5.5)

Contents


Attention for circular food systems is booming. Now that Dutch agriculture has to move towards circularity, it becomes clear that a lot of questions with regard to the business model for food producers, fair and true pricing along the chain, and the economic system in general, remain unanswered. For example, can farmers make a living from circular production? Are consumers and retailers willing to reward circularity? How do we organize responsibility in the food chain? Are there options to move beyond growth and GDP? In this capita selecta we will discuss these questions and explore the role of the economy in the transformation towards a circular food system.
The course includes six evening lectures of which four are public events. The first evening will start with an introduction to the concept of circular agriculture and lays out the main challenges in relation to the economy. The course continues with a series of three public guest lectures and a public dialogue organized in collaboration with Studium Generale. This series includes prominent (inter)national guest speakers who will present current challenges and novel perspectives on the economy in relation to circularity. The first public lecture will focus at the micro level: the farm and novel business models. How can we translate circular agriculture to the farm level? And what opportunities and challenges are farmers facing in this transition? These questions are strongly related to the globalized food system and the economy at large. In the second public lecture we therefore look at the bigger picture and make a step to the macro level: Can circularity and economic growth go hand-in-hand? Do we need to rethink our economy to make it happen? How do we move towards a more circular society and economy? In the third public lecture we will bring the challenges at the farm level and at macro level together and address the meso level: the food chain. What does the concept of circular economy imply for food value chains? Which social and institutional mechanisms are needed to move towards a circular food system? In a public dialogue we will bring all these discussions together to reflect on ‘economic perspectives for a circular food system’. What economic perspectives are there for a circular food system? Is moving towards circularity actually compatible with our current economic system? In the final event of the course, we will reflect on the five evenings and discuss what we have learned.
The course is organized as a collaboration between Animal Production Systems group, Agricultural Economics and Rural Policy group, Wageningen Economic Research and Studium Generale and aims to support a WUR-wide reflection on economic perspectives for a circular food system. In this course you will develop your own perspective on the role of the economy in a circular food system. In addition to the lectures, you will be provided with key literature in this field, suggested by our guest lecturers. Based on the lectures and literature, you will write an essay to present your vision on what is needed to address current economic challenges in the transformation towards a more circular food system.

Learning outcomes


After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • Understand and explain the concept of circular agriculture
  • Describe how a transformation towards circular agriculture raises challenges in relation to the economy (from micro to macro level)
  • Critically reflect on current and alternative economic approaches to support a transformation towards a circular agriculture

Course Learning Activities

  • Attend lecture series
  • Read selected literature
  • Complete essay assignment in which you integrate insight from the lectures and literature into your own vision on economic perspectives for a circular food system

Literature

To be added later

Schedule

1Impulse: Stippeneng 2, WUR building 115, Wageningen Campus

schedule AEP capita selecta.jpg