23 January 2019

Utrecht University agrees to embed nature-inclusive agriculture in its green education

Together with 25 other parties Utrecht University has signed the Green Deal for Nature-Inclusive Agriculture in Green Education. By signing the deal, the 26 parties expressed the ambition to firmly embed nature-inclusive agriculture into green education, making it an integral part of the curriculum.

Nature-inclusive agriculture is a more sustainable form of agriculture that minimises negative ecological impacts, maximises positive ones and at the same time benefits itself from natural processes. Signatories of the deal expressed the ambition to include nature-inclusive agriculture as a fixed component in the curriculum of green education programmes.

Green education is the collective name in the Netherlands for all programs in the fields of plant, animal, food and health, and nature and the living environment. There are 19 institutions for green education in the Netherlands, from vocational to university education.

Carola Schouten, Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality signing the Green Deal.

Deal supported by Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality

The deal was supported by Carola Schouten, Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. Other signatories include the Dutch Agricultural Youth Contact, several provinces, boerenennatuur.nl, and a number of education institutions including Utrecht University.

Establishment education circle to promote the exchange of knowledge

An education circle (onderwijscirkel) will be established to promote the exchange of knowledge between (pre) vocational education (VMBO/MBO), universities of applied sciences (HBO) and the universities of Wageningen, Groningen and Utrecht (WO). Institutions will collaborate on knowledge development, teacher training and educational development in the field of nature-inclusive agriculture.

Copernicus Institute researcher instrumental in Utrecht University’s involvement

Vice-president of the Utrecht University Board Annetje Ottow signed on behalf of the Faculties of Veterinary Medicine, Science and Geosciences. Copernicus Institute researchers Pita Verweij and René Verburg were also present. Pita coordinated Utrecht University’s effort in collaboration with the Future Food Hub.

We already do a lot of relevant research on nature inclusive agriculture, but we should increase our visibility. It’s an increasingly important field - it is obvious that the agricultural sector in the Netherlands must make a transition towards sustainability. The deal will also strengthen the attention for this topic in education, improve internal communication and coordination, and strengthen the links with colleagues from other faculties working in the field.
Assistant Professor in Land Use and Biodiversity