Panel Discussion

The panel discussion took place on the evening of 22 February 2014. Held at the Paulussaal in Freiburg, it was open to members of the general public and was well-attended.

First on the agenda were some welcoming remarks by representatives of the MSc Environmental Governance programme from the staff and the student body. This was then followed by the panel discussion. The topic under consideration was:

Photos courtesy of Kristina Izmailova

Photos courtesy of Kristina Izmailova

The panel discussion was interesting and lively, with additional comments and questions posed by an enthusiastic audience during the Question & Answer session.


Outcomes of panel discussion

In summary, whilst all the panel members agreed that change was

necessary to create a fair and affordable food system, there was disagreement about whether this change should be radical or slow and incremental. Other key points that emerged from the discussion were:

1)      Integrative approaches are needed to reform the global food system, instead of tackling individual issues or topics.

Photos courtesy of Kristina Izmailova

Photos courtesy of Kristina Izmailova

2)      Subsidies that give rise to environmentallyharmful practices should be reduced or eliminated, so that government funds are allocated appropriately “public money for public goods.”

3)      While structural changes to the global food system are welcome, the impacts of these changes on (bio-)diversity should be kept in mind.

4)      More emphasis should be placed on local and regional markets.

5)      Food-related activism, lobbying, policy-making and marketing should aim to change not only the thinking about food, but also behaviours associated with food.

6)      People should be encouraged to directly and personally experience food production e.g. through urban agriculture or community supported agriculture initiatives.

7)      We should all make the transition from “food consumer” to “food citizen”.

The after-party

Photos courtesy of Kristina Izmailova

Photos courtesy of Kristina Izmailova

The evening concluded with a wine reception in the foyer of the Paulussaal where guests were able to meet the panel members and browse exhibits showcasing various activities associated with our student organised event. Notable amongst these were our smartphone app (‘mAppetising Freiburg’) and our urban gardening brochure, both of which were officially launched that night.

Overall, the event was a success thanks to the engaged and well-prepared panel members; and the background support provided by the venue staff and other service providers and sponsors.

Dr. Ulrich Hoffman,,16578839_4,00.jpgPanelistSenior Trade Policy Advisor, International Trade Division, UNCTAD secretariat Dr. habil. Ulrich Hoffmann is the senior trade policy advisor to the Director of the International Division at the secretariat of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva. He is the editor-in-chief of UNCTAD’s annual Trade and Environment Review and the coordinator of the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS), a joint initiative of five UN agencies (FAO, ITC, UNCTAD, UNEP and UNIDO). Dr. Hoffmann was a member of the Steering Committee of the FAO/IFOAM/UNCTAD International Task Force on Harmonization and Equivalence in Organic Agriculture. He also worked extensively on national Good Agricultural Practice programmes and related commercial GAP standards in several developing countries.Dr. Hoffmann studied economics and commercial law in Berlin and had an academic chair on economics of developing countries before joining the United Nations secretariat. He has published extensively on issues at the interface of trade, the environment and sustainable development, including the need for a fundamental transformation of agriculture to cope with the challenges of food security in a quickly warming climate. He is also the author of critical articles demystifying green growth.
Stephanie Wunder


Photos courtesy of Kristina Izmailova


Coordinator and Senior Fellow for Agriculture & Bioenergy: Ecologic Institute EU

Stephanie Wunder joined Ecologic Institute (an independent transdisciplinary research organization focusing on environmental issues) in 2003 and currently works there as a Senior Fellow and the Coordinator for Agriculture & Bioenergy. Her work focuses on the sustainable use of natural resources, particularly land and biomass for energy, feed and food. She is an expert on the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and soil protection. As part of her research on sustainable land use, she currently leads work on “international land use governance” within the GLOBALANDS project. She is also involved in environmental education as part of the Teacher Training Renewable Energy project.Stephanie Wunder earned a degree in landscape planning from the TU Berlin with a focus on environmental policy. Her diploma thesis analyzed the underlying causes of the wind energy boom in Germany since 1990.
Fabian Kern

Photos courtesy of Kristina  Izmailova

Photos courtesy of Kristina Izmailova


Journalist & co-founder of the ‘GartenCoop’

‘GartenCoop’ is a cooperative of solidarity agriculture. It entails a farm and an association with 290 members, who solidarily finance the growing of vegetables, actively contribute their work and share the harvest. Since early 2011 they grow organically and climate-friendly on approximately 9 hectares in particular vegetables, which they distribute in the Freiburg region. The cooperative is a starting point for a community strategy to counter the effects of climate change, the foreseeable end of fossil fuels and the growing power of thlogo_neu_kleine agro-industry over our food.
Jürgen Fechter


Photos courtesy of Kristina Izmailova


Sector Economist, Competence Centre Agriculture and Natural Resources: KfW Development Bank

Dr. Fechter studied agricultural science at the University of Hohenheim and completed his PhD at ICIRSAT Sahelian Center in Niamey (Niger). He has practical experience in supporting rural development in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. In 2008 Dr. Fechter joined the KfW competence center for agriculture and natural resource as senior sector economist for agriculture and food security.The spectrum of the investments financed by KfW on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to develop rural regions reflects the complexity of the task: they include measures in the area of agricultural credit, drinking water and sanitation, development of road networks, health services and education as well as activities aimed at promoting sustainable agricultural production, and protection of natural resources. In addition, KfW promotes projects in regions that are particularly affected by the negative impacts of climate change.
Nikolai Fuchs


Photos courtesy of Kristina Izmailova


President: Nexus Foundation

Nikolai Fuchs is the President of the Nexus Foundation (an independent foundation which concentrates on the nexus agriculture-trade, resp. agriculture-trade-food security) in Switzerland since 2010. He has also been deeply involved with biodynamic agriculture; he headed the Demeter office in Berlin in 2000–2001, as well as the office of Demeter International in Brussels from 2001‒2010. His wide-ranging practical experience in agriculture derives from consulting and observations throughout Europe, as well as in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, Brazil, India, Egypt, Tunisia, Kenya, South Korea and the United States of America.Nikolai Fuchs completed an apprenticeship in agriculture and studied agricultural sciences at the University Bonn (DE). He worked as managing director and consultant for the German Demeter Association at national and federal state level before taking over the directory of the Agricultural Section at the Goetheanum Academy in Switzerland in 2001.

1 Response to Panel Discussion

  1. Pingback: Home | The Cost of Food – Beyond the Price Tag

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s