The College of Fine and Applied Arts is pleased to honor Dr. Christof den Biggelaar as the mace bearer for its Spring 2022 Commencement on Friday, May 6 at 4:00 PM.
Dr. den Biggelaar is retiring after 22 years in the Sustainable Development Department.
During the early years of the establishment of the SD Department at Appalachian, he was instrumental in developing a teaching and learning farm for the department and in developing our Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture degree program concentration.That legacy now lives on at the SD Teaching and Research Farm and through countless graduates who have become organic producers and active participants in the localization of food systems.
Dr. den Biggelaar is originally from the Netherlands, where he received an Agricultural Engineer's degree in Agronomy (equivalent to a B.Sc.) from the Hogere Agrarische School in 's Hertogenbosch. He then spent 6 years in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), the (then) People's Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic as an agricultural teacher and extension agronomist. He obtained his M.S. degree in Agricultural and Extension Education at Michigan State with a certificate in African Studies ('89). Before embarking on his Ph.D. studies, Christof participated in a post-graduate training program on development-oriented research in agriculture (ICRA) in the Netherlands, which included a 3-month interdisciplinary field study on research-extension-farmer linkages in Southwest Province, Cameroon. For his Ph.D. (Forestry, Michigan State, '94), he studied farmer experimental practices with agroforestry systems in Rwanda. After completing his Ph.D., he spent two years in Kenya as a consultant for the World Agroforestry Center and FAO 's Forest, Trees and People Programme.
Christof joined the Sustainable Development faculty at Appalachian State University in August 2000. He teaches courses in agroecology and sustainable development. Since 2008, he has coordinated the Agroecology & Sustainable Agriculture Concentration in the SD BS degree. He directed the former teaching and research farm in Valle Crucis for many years.
Since 2005, Christof has been working as a technical advisor on agroforestry and sustainable agriculture for the Madagascar Fauna Group in Toamasina, Madagascar. He provides training for MFG staff at Parc Ivoloina and for farmers living around the park. He is also an adjunct faculty at the University of Toamasina's Gestion des Ressources Naturelles et Environnementales Program, teaching a course on Agroforestry and Soil Conservation and serving as technical advisor on students' thesis committees.
For more information, visit the Spring 2022 Commencement website