The Farm Experience Internship (FEI) is a 3 ECTS international summer course at the Wageningen University, which intends to bring together theoretical knowledge from students with practical skills and knowledge from farmers/peasants. It is being co-created by a movement of peasants, farmers, gardeners, scientists, students, activists, NGOs and agroecological companies – working together towards a sustainable, healthy, viable food system that is fair and just for the earth, the consumer and the producer.
Are you interested in growing your own food, discovering local knowledge and practices on organic farms in the Netherlands? Do you want to learn about agroecology, food sovereignty and sustainable food systems? Or would you like to interact and discuss with farmers, peasants and gardeners to find creative, innovative ways of food production? Then sign up! The FEI 2023 will take place from July 17th until August 11th 2023. If you are interested in participating, you can register here.
Structure of the course
1. PREPARATION – Lectures, workshops, excursions, group work. During the first phase of the FEI, you will get to know about all kinds of topics related to agriculture, e.g. agroecology, sustainable food systems, food sovereignty, seed patents etc. We eat together organic, local, seasonal meals, we share knowledge and discover different learning styles.
2. LET’S GO FARMING! – Practical experience on a Dutch farm. After the preparation week, each student is sent to a different farm somewhere in the Netherlands. Before the start of the FEI, you can tell us your preference, e.g. food forest, goat farm, organic garden etc. For two weeks you will be full time working together with the farmer, following his/her working rhythm, learning practical skills and local knowledge. Students are asked to make pictures or a short video about their stay at the farm, which they will present later on. The participating farms are mostly organic, however some are currently still seeking for a more sustainable management practices (which is very interesting for you as a student: can you find ways to support the farmer?!)
3. EVALUATION – After two weeks harvesting, feeding cows, goats, or making cheese, students will come back to Wageningen for the evaluation phase. Share experiences, discuss what you’ve learned and create the one and only FEI Story Book!
Learning outcomes of the course
After participating in this course students are expected to:
- Understand and reflect on Agroecology as a science, practice and movement. Formulate and discuss their opinion and view on agroecology. Students can critically reflect on the gained knowledge and skills and actively use this during discussions and debates, e.g. regarding the need that we have to combine knowledge of peasant agriculture, ancestral knowledge and scientific research in order to co-create innovative farming practices.
- Understand and reflect on the different components of agroecology, like food sovereignty, soil, seeds, land and gender, and apply this knowledge in the analysis of your farm.
- Analyse the farming reality and adapt to this farmer reality and farmers concepts. Understand the concept of reality regarding research vs. farmers and try to meet these realities in order to cooperate together.
- Understand the notion of applied research which supports individual farms or the farming sector.
- Apply the knowledge and skills gained during the workshop of playing with methodology conducted by Michelle, while participating on the farm.
- Apply the knowledge and skills gained during the workshop analysis of Farming Systems.
- Achieve their own learning goals and discuss them with farmers.
Help organise the next FEI!
As a part of the organisational team of the FEI, you get to make your dreams come true! A couple of months before the FEI, we put together a team that consists of volunteers, Boerengroep interns and the Boerengroep coordinator. Using dragon dreaming techniques, we try to give voice to what we want the FEI to look like, and then we make it happen together. So, do you not only want to participate in the FEI, but also decide on the content and organise the days? Then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!