The Color of Science II - Speakers

Josef Braun

Lecture: Soil, trees and earthworms

1974-80: Education: Vocational School - Technical School
1980:Entry into seed propagation, Beginning of an intensive collaboration  with consulting, research (University of Munich, Weihenstephan) and plant protection and fertilizer industries
1982: Marriage and takeover of the family business, later the births of our four daughters
1984: Conversion to no-till farming with blade cultivator, zinc rotor (Weichel system), beginning of the proliferation of wild plants
1988: Conversion to bio-organic farming; Bioland membership - since then: active participation in various committees of the association
1990: Construction of a composting facility for cattle manure
1994: Conversion to minimum tillage, reducing the machining depth to max. 6 cm
1995: Conversion to pure hay feeding with construction of a new drying hay and cheese dairy
2006: Member of the newly created executive committee of the Bioland Federal Association
2008: Introduction to agroforestry: planting of 35,000 trees
2009: Installation of a wood gas system to use the timber from agroforestry plantations for electricity and heat, as well as use of the resulting coal for the farm operation cycle

Background material:

Biolandhof Braun


Elisabeth Cruzada

Lecture:From participatory plant breeding to food sovereignty 

Elizabeth Angosta-Cruzada is a development practitioner who has worked primarily with organizations and communities of small farmers and women activitists in the Philippines. She has been actively involved in people’s empowerment processes through participatory action research, leadership and capacity-building, organizational development and advocacy. In Masipag, she is currently handling organizational management aspects of the network.

Elizabeth will present Masipag’s work in alternative participatory rice breeding and the impacts of the farmer-bred lines in enhancing climate change adaptation and realizing the resilience potentials of small Filipino farmers.

MASIPAG is a network of farmers’ organizations, NGOs and agricultural researchers in the Philippines, working towards farmer empowerment, food security and sovereignty through their leadership in the use and management of biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, farmer training and advocacy, local processing and marketing, and participatory guarantee systems.

Background material:
Website of MASIPAG


Christoph Fischer

Lecture:
Farmer's meetings: A Bavarian innovation network


Christoph Fischer, born in 1959, began 20 years ago as he made a career change to advise farmers on microbiological processes in his home region Chiemgau.

In 1999, his work resulted in the formation of the "Rosenheim Projekt", which has since evolved continuously. This system combines various alternative methods and product applications that are used in agriculture and home gardens. The objectives are to optimize the circuits, thereby reducing production costs, and to increase the biological value of the final products and the productivity of the operation.
Due to the growing interest in the Rosenheim Project (or use quotations), in the fall of 2004 Fischer founded the interest group “Agrar Impulse - Neue Wege, neue Ethik in der Landwirtschaft“ ("Agricultural impulses - new ways, new agricultural ethics"). The aim of this interest group is to exchange information in order to implement sustainable management in practice.

In order to achieve this, Christoph Fischer’s organization sets up regular round tables, field visits , lectures, seminars , business visits and study tours.  On the island Fraueninsel, two-day symposiums are held regularly. The so-called EM-days traditionally deal with the many uses of microorganisms in health, garden, agriculture and environmental protection.

Fischer also founded the working group “Zivilcourage – Freie Bauern und Bürger AG- gegen AgroGentechnik“ ("civil courage - free peasants and citizens working group - against agricultural biotechnology ") in 2006. The aim here is to educate about the dangers of genetic engineering in agriculture and make this information available to a broad segment of the population.
Through numerous events and talks, a network of farmers and consumers has emerged which is well-known far beyond the regional borders.

Background material:

Website of EM-Chiemgau

Website of Zivilcourage
Dokumentationsfilm „Der achte Schöpfungstag“

EM-Tage auf der Fraueninsel
EM-Anwendungen im Rosenheimer Projekt


Bastiaan Frich

Lecture:
Urban gardens and agriculture - do it yourself urban networks

Workshop: Farmers and their co-producers: New urban-rural networks - Innovation concepts, relationship stories, pilot plants & pioneer places

Bastiaan is a networker; co-founder and CEO of Urban Agriculture Basel, Board Member of Permaculture Switzerland, Founder and President of University Garden Basel, Co-Founder and Board Member of Lebensmittel Gemeinschaft Basel, Co-Founder and Bord-Member of Neustart Schweiz Regio Basel. Additionally he is the initiator of various other projects such as renowned and awarded Permaculture Community Garden Landhof farmstead.

All these projects and experience in building alliances with its diverse educational backgrounds - from biology to Permaculture up to emphatic communication - make it an internationally sought-bridge hit.

Background material:
Website of 'Urban Agriculture Basel'
Medienbeiträge zu 'Urban Agriculture Basel'
Kurzfilm zu 'Urban Agriculture Basel'
Website of 'Uni Gärten Basel'


Jürgen Friedel

Lecture: Active nutrient mobilisation by plants (Edwin Scheller Memorial)

Agronomist, Assoc. Prof. at the Division of Organic Farming, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Head of the Soil Fertility and Cropping Systems Working Group.Dr. Jürgen K. Friedel has been active in research and teaching on improving soil fertility and fostering sustainability in organic farming by optimizing crop rotation, organic fertilisation and soil cultivation for more than 20 years.

His research focusses on topics in the carbon cycle (organic matter addition to soil, soil organic matter balances, microbial biomass in soil), in the nitrogen cycle (biological N fixation, N mineralization from crop residues, pre-crop effects of forage legumes and cover crops) and in the phosphorus cycle (use of alternative P fertilisers in organic farming) under Pannonian site conditions. Management impacts on the resources soil, water, air and biodiversity are assessed as well as yield and quality effects.

Background material:
PERGAMON - Soil Biology & Biochemistry
Stickstoffpools und die mikrobielle Biomasse
"Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems": Research Paper
Research article in "Agronomy" (2010)
Soil Biology & Biochemistry: Review of mechanisms and quantification of priming effects
Research article in"Agronomy" (2008)
Taylor&Francis Group: Management Effects on Quality of Organically
Grown Winter Wheat

"Journal für Kulturpflanzen": Körnerleguminosen in Mischkulturen


Nikolai Fuchs

Workshop: Soil Food Web and the vertical nutrient flows on the farm: The community of soil and plants as a growth engine

Nikolai Fuchs (born 1963) serves since three years as President and General Manager of Nexus Foundation, Geneva. Before he had a nine year stint of being head of the agricultural faculty at the Goetheanum Academy, Switzerland, in parallel heading the Demeter International Office in Brussels.

Adjacent to this he was General Manager of the Biodynamic Association, Germany and before that advisor to Demeter farms in Northrhine Westfalia. He has served as well as head of the Nature Center Eifel, an environmental education station. He is a trained farmer and holds a diploma in agricultural sciences of the University Bonn.


Benedikt Haerlin

Lecture: Post-Darwinism? Networks between co-operation and competition

Workshop: Farmers and their co-producers: New urban-rural networks - Innovation concepts, relationship stories, pilot plants & pioneer places

Benedikt Haerlin is head of the Berlin office of the German Foundation on Future Farming. He co-ordinates the European initiative "Save our Seeds" to keep conventional and organic seeds free of GMOs. Haerlin also co-organises a campaign of 40 German NGOs on the reform of the EUs Common Agricultural Policy (“Meine Landwirtschaft – Unsere Wahl”) and has organised various European conferences on GMOs as well as the international conference “Planet Diversity”.

From 2002 to 2008 he represented European and North American NGOs in the Bureau of the United Nations International Agricultural Assessment of Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). From 1991 to 2002 Haerlin worked for Greenpeace, where he was the global co-ordinator of Greenpeace International’s Genetic Engineering Campaign. From 1984 to 1989 Haerlin served as a Member of the European Parliament (Green Group), where he specialised in genetic engineering issues. Before, he worked as a publisher and journalist in Berlin. Haerlin studied philosophy and psychology in Tübingen and Berlin and was born in Stuttgart in 1957.

Background material:
Website of "Save Our Seeds"
Website of "Meine Landwirtschaft"
Webseite des Weltagrarberichts


Angelika Hilbeck

Lecture:
(Synthetic)
biotechnologies, genetic networks and the discussion on the risk

Dr. Hilbeck studied agricultural biology at the University of Hohenheim and did her doctorate in entomology at North Carolina University, Raleigh, NC, USA. Since 2000 she has been at the Institute of Integrative Biology at ETH Zurich, where she heads the research group for Environmental Biosafety.

She deals with questions about the effects of genetic engineering in agriculture, food production and the environment in teaching and research.

Through a wide range of research and consultancy projects and their collaboration on the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the UN, she gained extensive experience in international agriculture and the range of local constraints faced by small farmers. Because of this expertise, she was invited to collaborate on the ‘Weltagrarbericht’ (World Agriculture Report, IAASTD 2008). She also acts as a trustee for ‘Brot für Alle’ ('Bread for All'), is a member of the Executive Board of the Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler (Association of German Scientists) and chairman of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER).


Anita Idel

Lecture: Grasslands, herds and shepherds

Workshop: Herd management on new ways

Project manager and consultant in the areas of greening agriculture, agro- biodiversity, and animal health.

Mediator in the areas of conflict: economy / animal welfare and agriculture / nature conservation.

Lecturer at the Universities of Kassel (since 1986): "Animal health, environmental and socio-economic consequences of genetic engineering in agriculture", Lüneburg (since 2011), Munster (since 2012): "Cows, soil fertility, biodiversity - in the context of global food, climate and resource use", Fulda (since 2014): "Sustainable Animal Husbandry and production of food of animal origin".
Lead author of the UN World Agriculture Report (IAASTD) (2005-2008).

Co-founder of Association Critical Veterinary Medicine AGKT (1982), of the “gen-ethical network” GeN (1986), the Society for organic animal husbandry GÖT (1991), the Conseil Mondial des Elveurs (CME 1997). Member of the league for pastoral peoples and endogenous livestock development, the Forschungsinstitut für ökologische Tierzucht und Landnutzung (Research Institute for Organic Animal Breeding and Land Use) and the Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler (the Federation of German Scientists).

My special interests include cultural history of the human-animal relationship and the development of fertile soils, i.e. the living earth.
Salus Media Award in 2013 for the book “Die Kuh ist kein Klima-Killer“ ("The cow is not a climate-killer")

Background material:
local land & soil news: Die CoEvolution von Gras und Grasern und ihre Bedeutung für die Potenziale nachhaltiger Land- und Weidewirtschaft


Marten Koch

Workshop: Soil Food Web and the vertical nutrient flows on the farm: The community of soil and plants as a growth engine

Marten Koch is a mechanic for agricultural machinery and the son of farming pioneer Hans -Joachim Koch (Ecological Appropriate Farming since 1972). He worked on the family farm, focusing on agricultural technology and tillage. He is in contact with many organic farmers in the region and beyond, especially in the area of tillage. He was in charge of a lease farm in Hungary (1999-2007).

In 2006 he took over the family farm and gave up the lease farm in Hungary. At present he operates the farm together with his oldest son Lennart and his wife Andrea. Their other children also work on the farm. The business consists of intensive vegetable gardening, intensive direct marketing at weekly markets, extensive animal husbandry and in-house processing of the products.

Background material:
Short presentation family farm Koch
Website of farm Koch


Florianne Koechlin

Lecture: Plants: communication, networking & social interaction

Florianne Koechlin (Muenchenstein, Switzerland) is biologist and author of many books. She explores new scientific findings  about plants and other living beings (particularely communication between plants and their use of networks) and new concepts for agriculture and research strategies for this purpose.

Further topics: the critical analysis of genetic engineering in agriculture  and cooperation with Swiss and European NGOs.

Background material:

Der kritische Agrarbericht 2013: "Die List der Hirse"
"Plant whispering"
'Fokus Gartenarbeit'-Interview: "Pflanzenkommunikation - Das Unterirdische Internet"


Urs Mauk

Workshop: Soil Food Web and the vertical nutrient flows on the farm: The community of soil and plants as a growth engine     

Urs Mauk is a trained horticulturist and completed his Bachelors degree in 2012 at the University of Kassel in the field of ecological agriculture. After his graduation, he co-managed a ‘community supported agriculture’ in Witzenhausen with a vegetable field the size of approximately 1 hectare with 90 members.

Since December 2013 he has been responsible for the free range vegetable gardening of the community of Tempelhof in Crailsheim. During his studies, he focused on soil and soil fertility. The Soil Food Web and the formation of humus accordingly moved to the center of his efforts.

Background material:
Brief description of the Soil Food Web
Bachelor Thesis on Soil Food Web


Saira Mian

Lecture: At the crossroads of communication theory, cryptography and agroecology

Saira Mian is an Honorary Professor in the Department of Computer Science at University College London. Her research bridges biology, communication theory, and statistical machine learning. It explores fundamental questions which arise at the confluence of these fields and examines practical solutions to real-world issues which exploit advances at their interstices.

Background material:

Website of the University College London


Christa Müller

Lecture:
Urban gardens and agriculture: 
- do it yorself urban networks


Dr. Christa Müller (Germany) is a sociologist and committed to research on postmaterial lifestyles and on sustainable concepts of prosperity. She was awarded a PhD in sociology by the University of Bielefeld and received the Schweisfurth’s Research Award for Ecological Economics.

She has undertaken fieldwork in Costa Rica, Mexico and Germany. Currently she is director of the joint foundation "anstiftung & ertomis" in Munich. She teaches at different Universities. Her most recent books (in German): “Urban Gardening” and Stadt der Commonisten. Neue urbane Räume des Do it yourself (together with Andrea Baier and Karin Werner).

Background material:

Website of Stiftungsgemeinschaft anstiftung & ertomis
Christa Müller: "Urban Gardening - Über die Rückkehr der Gärten in die Stadt"
Weitere Publikationen der Referentin


Karl-Josef Müller

Lecture:
Breeders relation to barley -
- fuelling a network of dissimilar partners

Dr. Karl -Josef Müller is the head of the biodynamic cereal breeding research center Darzau in Wendland. There, he has been conducting research and breeding with the focus on plant diseases and food quality for einkorn wheat, naked barley, wheat, oats and rye for 25 years.



Many organic farms are growing his varieties already. His Lichtroggen (light grain rye) among other varieties is widely known in for its use in organic bakeries.

During his internship at a Demeter farm he discovered his interest in breeding and came to the conclusion that a selective breeding under conventional conditions could not provide a solution for organic farming. After studying in Bayreuth and Hohenheim , completing his PhD in Bonn, and gaining breeding experiences in Austria and on the farm Grub, he became the authorized  project manager in the company for Goethean research in 1989 (working with Edwin scheller amongst others). Experimental areas and regions were located on farm Tangsehl at first, later also on the Demeter farm of the family Schmidt on the farm Darzau. He currently researches and breeds together with four fixed staff members.

Background material:
Zeitschrift "Lebendige Erde": Porträt Dr. Karl-Josef Müller
Infobrief Saatgutfonds: Interview mit Dr. Karl-Josef Müller
Publications


Urs Niggli

Lecture:
Agricultural diversity and high tech: a contradiction?

Urs Niggli is Director of the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) in Switzerland (since 1990). As such, he is responsible for the overall scientific, financial and administrative co-ordination of the institute with 140 staff.



Urs Niggli is Honorary Professor at the University of Kassel/Witzenhausen and lecturer at the ETH Zurich. He was appointed as Honorary PhD by the University of Life Sciences in Tartu (Estonia).

His professional background is an MSc in plant production and a PhD in weed physiology of the ETH Zurich. He serves as member of the High Level Steering Board of the European Innovation Platform (EIP), Deputy President of the Board of Directors of the inspection and certification company bio.inspecta inc., President of the Sustainability Organic Agriculture Action Network of IFOAM and President of the Technology Innovation Platform of IFOAM (TIPI).

In the past, he held several honorary appointments such as the World Board of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, on the Senate Commission on Agriculture of the German Research Foundation (DFG) or in the Swiss Federal Commission on Bio Safety.

He has published 220 papers and articles in scientific journals, in conference proceedings, books and magazines. More informations here.


Martin Ott

Lecture:
Cow and man - new thoughts on an old dynamic

Workshop:
Herd management on new ways

Martin Ott, born  18.06.1955, just before the longest day of the year and five minutes before noon, in Zurich. He grew up in a large, child-rich doctor’s family in Zurich. After finishing Rudolf Steiner School and high school, he underwent the teacher training for a primary school teacher.

After five years of teaching, he and his second wife built up a social therapy farm on the Zurich Oberland. He learned farming from the ground up to his examination for the master craftsman's certificate in 1987.

For 11 years Martin Ott was a member of in the Zurich Cantonal and for six years he was a member of the City Council in Bäretswil. In 1997, the Zurich government commissioned him to join a think tank with the aim to create a concept for the future of the Canton Rheinau State Farm. After a request by the Government Council, a group of farmers, seed breeders and therapists throughout the area took over the lease.

Among them was Martin Ott, who focused on the care of the large dairy herd. This was the beginning of the Foundation Fintan. Since 1998, on one of the largest and most versatile agricultural farms in Switzerland, and one of the most highly regarded social-ecological projects is implemented in Rheinau.

In addition, Martin Ott is an active member in the Board of Trustees
and the management of the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture in Frick since 1992. (www.Fibl.org).

In 2007, he replaced Otto Stich as President of the Board of Trustees. As an established musician, since 1986 Martin Ott together with his brother Andreas can be found , on many small stages  in Switzerland, with the group Baldrian.Recently, Martin Ott authored the book: "Understanding Cows".
The book is currently (end of 2011) on the bestseller lists in Switzerland.
Martin Ott is married to Annigna Ott-Grob, and has four adult children and three grandchildren.

Background material:

Website of FINTAN


Ivette Perfecto

Lecture:
Interactive networks in agroecosystems:
-
examples from coffee agroforestry systems

Ivette Perfecto is the George W. Pack Professor of Ecology, Natural Resources and Environment. Her research focuses on biodiversity and arthropod-mediated ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes, primarily in the tropics. She also works on spatial ecology of the coffee agroecosystem and is interested more broadly on the links between small-scale sustainable agriculture, biodiversity and food sovereignty.

She co-coordinates the Envoys program in SNRE, which is a program to increase the diversity of graduate students. Her most recent book is Nature’s Matrix: Linking Agriculture, Conservation and Food Sovereignty.

Dr. Ivette Perfecto was one of the Coordinating Leading Authors for the Latin American Assessment Report of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD, 2009) of the United Nations.

Background material:
Website of Ivette Perfecto
F1000Research: Food sovereignty
Biodiversity Conservation in Tropical Agroecosystems - A New Conservation Paradigm
BioScience magazine: Ecological Complexity and Pest Control in Organic Coffee Production - Uncovering an Autonomous Ecosystem Service


Ina Praetorius

Lecture: Living and conceptualising relationships - a philosophical search for clues

Ina Praetorius, Dr.theol., born 1956 in Karlsruhe/D, studied German literature, linguistics and protestant theology in Tübingen/D, Zürich/CH and Heidelberg/D.

1983 to 1987 assistant at the institute for social ethics of the university of Zürich. Since 1987 active as freelance housewife and author. Married, one adult daughter.

More information here...

Background material:
The PelicanWeb´s Journal of Sustainable Development
Publikationen der Referentin


Patrik Tschudin

Lecture:
mi-RNA:
- a common level of communication between plants, microorganisms and humans?

Patrik Tschudin, born in 1963 in Basel, studied earth sciences and geophysics at the University of Basel and ETH Zurich (M.Sc.). 1991-2012, news, culture and science editor at the Swiss Radio DRS. 

2010 "Prix Média" of the "Akademien der Wissenschaften Schweiz" ("Academies of Sciences Switzerland") for research on the subject of Bisphenol A (BPA).

Since 2013, he works as a freelance journalist and is studying at the Pädagogischen Hochschule FHNW  (College of Education FHNW). He is the father of Leo (14) and Till (11).

Background material:
Blogpostings von Patrik Tschudin zu mi-RNA
Zhang et al.: Exogenous plant MIR168a specifically targets mammalian LDLRAP1: evidence of cross-kingdom regulation by microRNA
Sarkies & Miska: Is There Social RNA?


Walter Schmidt

Lecture:
Co-evolutionary plant breeding:
- giving back maize its crop-mixing capability

1969 - 1973: undergraduate studies of Agriculture at the Hohenheim University (Germany)
1973 - 1977: PhD in the field of maize breeding with Prof. Dr. FW Quick in Hohenheim
1977 - 2013: Maize Breeder at KWS SAAT AG, Einbeck (Germany)

1977 - 1989: Assistant breeder KWS in maize breeding program
1989 - 30.09.2013: Head of KWS maize breeding in Germany
From 1989: Breeding of maize varieties under low-input conditions
From 2002: Breeding of energy maize varieties
From 2003: Breeding of maize varieties for organic agriculture
From 2011: Developing maize varieties for intercropping with runner beans
From 2012: Breeding of maize varieties for the generated use of grains and additional biogas production
From 2010: Mentoring a KWS Capacity Development Project in Peru with the aim to preserve the genetic resources of maize and quinoa

Background material:
Einsatz von genetischen Ressourcen in der modernen Maiszüchtung
Maiszüchtung

mais (Fachzeitschrift): Maissorten für den Ökoanbau
KWS: Erhöhung der Diversität im Energiepflanzenanbau am Beispiel Mais/Bohnen-Gemenge
(document) KWS: Experiences from organic maize breeding and prospects of coevolutionary (document)breeding (document)
(presentation) KWS: Experiences from organic maize breeding and prospects of coevolutionary (praesentation)breeding (presentation)


Anet Spengler

Lecture: Grassland, herds and shepherds

Workshop: Herd management on new ways

Anet Spengler was born in 1963 in Basel. After her schooldays she did practical trainings in dairy cow husbandry on several farms. She completed one year of apprenticeship on the biodynamic farm la Branche in Savigny, in the French part of Switzerland, where she took care of the dairy cows.

Between 1983 and 1989 she studied agriculture at the technical university (ETH) in Zürich. During her studies and afterwards she worked as a herder on Alp Bödmeren (Muotathal, SZ) for eight summers taking care of goats, dairy cows, and young cattle. For 23 years she has been teaching students of the biodynamic apprenticeship in Switzerland in animal husbandry and -breeding.

For 13 years she is working at the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) in Frick. She is doing research and she is giving lessons in cattle husbandry and –breeding.  2011 she finished her phd thesis on the topic:  “New approaches for organic dairy cow breeding”.

For 21 years she has been organising Workshops three times a year on biodynamic cattle breeding for breeders in Switzerland. At home she is keeping a small flock of sheep with 10 ewes. She is married and has a grown-up daughter.

Background material:Universität Kassel/Witzenhausen: Neue Ansätze für die ökologische Milchrinderzucht 


Willem A. Stoop

Lecture:
SRI, System of Rice Intensification
- observation matters

Willem A. Stoop was trained as an agronomist/soil scientist; graduated from Wageningen in 1969 and holds a PhD from the University of Hawaii (1974). Next he had an international career mostly with the international agricultural research centres (CIMMYT; ICRISAT; ISNAR and WARDA/Africa Rice, as well as KIT).

Since 1998 when serving as interim director of research at WARDA, he became increasingly involved in rice research and particularly SRI (System of rice intensification). This brought him in contact with Dr. Norman Uphoff  from Cornell University (USA) which led to a first formal / peer reviewed publication on SRI in 2002. In subsequent years he has published at several occasions on this subject. This has given him the reputation of an “agronomist that escaped from the cage”.

Presently, he is involved in advising three Indian PhD candidates doing their research on socio-economic aspects of SRI in India and preparing their theses in Wageningen. In addition he supports several more senior Indian scientists who are studying fundamental plant physiological aspects of SRI.

Background material:

Global news and views System of Rice Intensification (SRI)
International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability: Publication about SRI
ELSEVIER: Publication about SRI 


Hellmut von Koerber

Workshop:
Soil Food Web and the vertical nutrient flows on the farm:
The community of soil and plants as a growth engine

Hellmut von Koerber studied mathematics and physics in Marburg and computer science in Berlin. He worked as a consultant and designer in business and management for many years, most recently at the Federal Statistical Office in Switzerland.

Since 2005 he has worked as an independent computer scientist, focusing on data integration and flexible databases. His tools are mainly used in the organic market environment - for example, in the global organic farming statistics of FiBL and IFOAM. Open repositories to resources balances (footprinting) and World Food are in the planning.

In the late 70s Hellmut von Koerber came in contact with the ecologically adapted farming of the Koch family and the basics of soil fertility (HPRusch). The understanding of life processes and their complex interactions on every level became an important basis of his work. This holistic understanding was an incentive for the design of information and tools which we use to describe the complexity of life processes and their self-interaction - and hopefully thereby respect and support them.

The speakers and contributions from the Working Group ‘Soil Food Web’ come from a loose network of practitioners and researchers that met on these issues several times in 2012: Marten Koch from the Koch family farm and Urs Mauk from the University of Kassel (now also in practice).

Background material:
Summary of Soil Food Web
Bachelor thesis on Soil Food Web
Short presentation of family farm Koch
Example farm Koch
Example farm Wenz


Mathias von Mirbach

Lecture: Community supported agriculture - mutual urban-rural relations

Workshop: Farmers and their co-producers: New urban-rural networks -
Innovation concepts, relationship stories, pilot plants & pioneer places

Mathias von Mirbach, age 55, 5 children, 2 grandchildren, Agriculturalist, since 1995 tenant of the Kattendorf farm, a Demeter farm with 235 hectares of arable land, First chairman of the association ‘Community Supported Agriculture Network’.

Background material:
Demeter Journal: Der Kattendorfer Hof - alle in einem Boot
ZEITzeichen Reportage: Ernte in Designerstiefeln
Hamburger Abendblatt: Die Ernte und das Risiko werden untereinander geteilt
Süddeutsche Zeitung Interview: Meine Kuh-Aktie - ein Modell für Deutschland


Andres Wiemken

Lecture: Mycorrhizae networks - a soil-based dynamic market place

Andres Wiemken , born in 1942 in Basel. Study, research and teaching at the ETH Zurich: 1965 graduate engineer agronomist, 1969 Dr. nat. sc.; 1975 Habilitation, 1983 Adjunct Professor: Between agricultural internships in England, France, Holland and Switzerland, as well as longer research stays at the "University of East Anglia" in England and at the "Rubber Research Institute" in Malaysia.


From 1984, professor of botany at the University of Basel and director of the Botanical Garden, 2012 emeritus. Areas of research: Biochemical and Molecular Cell Biology and Ecophysiology of fungi and plants, symbioses between plants and microorganisms (Rhizosphere Biology, mycorrhizal fungi, rhizobia ), Agroecology.

Background material:
Plant Physiol: Mycorrhizal Networks - Common Goods of Plants Shared under Unequal Terms of Trade

Mehr Informationen zum Referenten