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SOY STORIES investigates the connected histories of sustainability challenges associated with large-scale soy cultivation in Brazil and soy-based intensive animal farming in the Netherlands. In addition, SOY STORIES investigates how such historical knowledge may contribute to the development of more inclusive and connected sustainable future imaginaries.

Since the 1970s, the large-scale production of soy in Brazil and soy-based intensive animal farming in the Netherlands have resulted in a wide variety of sustainability challenges, such as large-scale deforestation, land-grabbing and child labour in Brazil and a long-term national nitrogen-crisis, public health problems and animal suffering in the Netherlands. Yet, there is little knowledge on how these challenges emerged together, connected through soy, and present-day attempts to address these challenges focus either on Brazil or the Netherlands – with little success. Moreover, the lack of historical accounts from the perspectives of a diversity of stakeholders, including those who have hitherto been marginalized in research, also limits our imaginaries for the future.

SOY STORIES has two objectives:

  1. Enriching the history of sustainability by looking at how different sustainability problems are linked together. We particularly focus on the challenges concerning soy production and consumption, in both Brazil and the Netherlands
  2. Making this historical research actionable, in order to create a more inclusive vision of a sustainable future in both regions

A collaboration between soy producer Brazil and soy consumer the Netherlands
Archives typically represent the voices of dominant players. Hence, to study soy’s connected histories from a diversity of perspectives, we combine oral history with archival research, and we will be developing creative methods to elicit historical knowledges that go beyond the written or spoken word.

We combine these historical methods with transdisciplinary research methods that are commonly used at the Athena Institute, to investigate how knowledge of the past can contribute to more inclusive sustainable futures.


Project details