Agriculture in transition…. what about web2.0?

Posted on Saturday, 1 November, 2008 by


I was wondering about the conference on agriculture in transition, which took place in Wageningen this past week. So i scanned the web for some online coverage. I found the conference website) saying what the conference was about:

…to discuss the actual situation and future challenges of an industrializing agriculture close to urban metropolises. The seminar aims to provide a forum for reviewing the research state of the art and new directions in economic, social and policy issues related to the transitions in peri-urban agriculture. The conference will cover recent developments on a wide range of topics:

* New farm systems in peri-urban areas
* New institutional arrangements in the country side
* Urban views on peri-urban farming systems and new coalitions in the rural area
* Need for and experience with new policy instruments
* Changes in the agro-innovation system
* Methods for research on transition

I tried to find more about what was actually discussed, e.g. a newsletter by the organising committee, or participants impressions. I certainly did not expect to find live streaming video, nor sessions in Second Life or elsewhere where distant participants could interactively take part. I did expect to be able to find some  participants’ impressions, half-processed thoughts and notes in blogposts, some live blogging maybe, or the odd picture in flickr. This kind of “social reporting”, capturing not only the powerpoint slides but also informal talks, has been the custom in most international events i have gone to in the past 2 years. As it happened during the Najaarsconferentie en de Eemlandconferentie as well, i had assumed it was the standard nowadays.

To my surprise, i could find no blogposts whatsoever. No photos in flickr.

When i looked at the list of papers submitted i did not see a contribution about the transitions in the social Internet. (and, coming to think of it, neither about new ICT, –such as mobile & locative media, RFID, “the Internet of things”– at large either). This surprised me, as I think the changes in web2.0 are symbol of, and contribute to, deeper changes in society. I believe that the wider use of networking and collaboration tools have a deep impact on our way of understanding the world, seeing the world and presenting ourselves in the world. It will change the way we organise and collaborate. Hence my questions:

Did I overlook something, or was web2.0 really ignored in both process and content of this conference? Who was at the conference who can tell me what was discussed about this issue? Who can point me to studies or pilots about web2.0 and “new institutional arrangements in the countryside”?

Posted in: organizations, web2.0