Mission statement

Farmers all over the world farm in a wide variety of ways and thus feed humanity. Agriculture with arable farming and livestock breeding is the basis of almost all cultures on earth. But every form of agriculture is also associated with deep interventions in ecosystems.

In order to keep pace with the increasing demand for agricultural products, a soil- and resource-intensive agriculture has developed that relies on extensive inputs in the form of fertilizers and pesticides. This has a high share in many current ecological problems, such as the decline in biodiversity or the pollution of groundwater. The problems of resource-intensive agriculture will also become even more acute in the future as a result of the challenges posed by climate change, such as weather extremes or soil salinisation.

In Europe, despite EU subsidies, many farms are working at the limits of profitability, and fewer and fewer farmers are finding successors for their farms. In the seed, fertilizer, crop protection and agricultural technology markets, too, we are seeing increasing concentration on a few large companies.

At the same time meeting ecological and social requirements, meeting growing production needs with fewer inputs and giving farmers an economic perspective is one of the greatest challenges of our time.

Opinions differ widely on the possible solutions to all these problems.

For a long time, some environmentally and sustainability-conscious people have criticised the use of many modern technological methods in agriculture. Unfortunately, justified concerns have led to an undifferentiated populism in many areas, which fuels fears and no longer takes scientific knowledge into account.

With the often sweeping rejection of modern agricultural techniques, many environmentally conscious people end up acting against their own goals and interests.

For example, new genetic engineering methods and digital technologies (such as machine learning or agricultural robotics) with responsible use could now offer the potential to make agriculture more ecologically and economically sustainable and socially fairer. Realising this potential in terms of the sustainability goals is strongly dependent on socio-economic factors and political framework conditions.

The latter must ensure for each technology that it serves the welfare of people, animals and their environment and does not create any one-sided economic dependencies.

In particular, regulations must ensure that new technologies are not only available to a few large agricultural corporations or contribute to aggravating global injustice. Rather, the results of publicly funded research, but also the innovative strength of start-ups and small to medium-sized enterprises, must be used to increase the ecological compatibility of agriculture on the one hand and to guarantee the secure supply of healthy food for all people on the other.

When discussing the use of modern technology in agriculture, it is often only the large agricultural groups on the one hand, and the opposing environmental and consumer protection organisations on the other, that are heard.

Conducting such a debate constructively requires information. It is imperative to discuss open-ended and transparent possible applications, legal regulatory options and the patenting of agricultural technology. This should be done with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders and on the basis of scientific results and the principles of freedom of research. We therefore advocate a new discussion culture in which we respectfully exchange risks and concerns as well as potentials and hopes.

We want to offer a platform for all those who want to implement the agricultural change towards a socially and ecologically sustainable agriculture with the latest state of science and technology.

We see ourselves as a dialogue platform where new ideas for the further development of agriculture can be shared and discussed. To this end, we want to bring together farmers, researchers, activists, consumers, entrepreneurs and politicians and give them the opportunity to enrich the debate with scientific findings, practical experience and progressive perspectives.