Project EAT intends to inspire and empower the Wageningen UR community through a participatory process that provides opportunity to learn. Learning through hands-on experience, sharing of knowledge, linking different disciplines, creating partnerships and the creation of a sustainable movement. Participatory process as well as collaborative working and decision making are cornerstones for Project EAT.
Participatory Processes (PP) are specific methods employed to achieve active participation by all members of a group in a decision making process. The goal is to create productive discussions to develop positive solutions (The Weave 2011 – LINK).
Having been born from the minds of Wageningen UR students, Project EAT contains input from a wide range of disciplines. This broadened knowledge source yields innovative and creative ideas and perspectives. The transdisciplinary nature of Project EAT provides a unique platform for the Wageningen UR community.
Initially, a project board was created on a voluntary basis by individuals compromised to invest their time into the planning, organization and design of the academic garden. This group have the same decision power as any other participant, but are dedicated to carry out the participatory process. Workshops are most important to inform, consult and empower the community. Knowledge sharing workshops are carried out by students about topics related to the garden. Public design workshops (April 10th and 15th) intended to capture the ideas of the community for the spatial design of the garden.
A voluntary design team was formed by landscape architecture students, students experienced in agroecology and a permaculture expert. This team is in charge of drawing the design based on the community input, respecting agroecological principles and fulfilling its functions. A place for education and social interaction, where aesthetics and production go hand in hand. To provide accurate information voluntary technical focus groups will make suggestions for the design, building and management of the garden.
Partnerships have been built with student associations, Otherwise, Green Office, Facilities, Executive board and chairgroups to collaborate in different aspects of the project.
As well, informing the community is part of the PP. The whole Wageningen UR community will enjoy the garden and therefore should have the possibility to know how the project evolves and have the possibility to contact. Virtual tools as our website, Blog, Newsletters, Facebook and Twitter fill this purpose.
Remember that project EAT needs a lot of hands. If you want to be part of the project, learn a lot and make sure the garden is built soon, participate! What do you think of the participatory process in project EAT? Feel like getting involved? Share your ideas and suggestions with us; EATatWUR@gmail.com
Jean-Yves Duriaux Chavarria