Each academic year, the International Institute of Social Studies aims to invite our alumni to speak with current Master's students about their lives and career paths in a series we call 'Alumni Talk'.
To kick off the first Alumni Talk for the current MA batch, we were honoured to hear from 2006 graduates Jesse Peterson and Jasper van den Munckhof. The theme of this talk was on the low-to-high scale impacts of regenerative agriculture and how students can leverage their skills and knowledge to influence social change in this field.
Regenerative agriculture is described as a farming and grazing practice that aims to reverse the degradation of soil biodiversity. The positive results of regeneration include an improved water cycle and carbon 'drawdown' — reducing greenhouse gasses. As Peterson and van den Munckhof described in their talk, it's about working with nature instead of against it.
The pathway of social entrepreneurship
For over 15 years, Peterson and van den Munckhof have applied their theoretical and practical knowledge to become social entrepreneurs in the agricultural field. Peterson is the owner of Wild Willow Wellness, a home-scale venture and apothecary providing wellness, health and resilience to locals of Helena, Montana and the ecosystem. Van den Munckhof is co-founder of Factory Zero and Nieuwe Bodem, two companies with a similar ethos of striving to encourage ecologically efficiency and sustainable alternatives to living here in the Netherlands.
The speakers shared that working within the capacity of entrepreneurship and consultation has allowed them to provide climate-friendly and ecological solutions at a local level, which has been a rewarding aspect of their careers. While we encourage students to begin their journeys by gaining necessary experience within the global development organizations, social entrepreneurship is increasingly becoming an exciting option for graduates. We are grateful to ISS alumni who can inform students' curiosity and paint a picture of the rewarding effects of implementing their own solutions towards social and environmental issues.
We give special thanks to Jesse Peterson and Jasper van den Munckhof for their participation in this event and the students who helped make this possible.