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Sustainable and Inclusive

Berlin University Alliance Partner Institutions Conduct Joint Research on the Transformation of the Agricultural and Food System

News from Feb 28, 2022

Tractor demonstrations for and against an agricultural turnaround in the government district, outraged reactions to the strategy announced by Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Cem Özdemir, to end “junk prices” for food in the future – all this illustrates that sustainability transformations harbor potential for social conflict. A project funded by the Berlin University Alliance at the partner institutions – Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin – is researching how to design comprehensive change processes in such a way as to be both ecologically sustainable and socially inclusive.

“In our project ‘Social Cohesion, food and health. Inclusive Food System Transitions’, we are collaborating with researchers from various disciplines and practice partners to address precisely this question, which is now being reflected in the public debates about ‘junk prices’,” says Prof. Dr. Peter H. Feindt, project manager at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. “Social cohesion is closely linked to the question of how to ensure equal access to safe, healthy and sustainable food while at the same time guaranteeing farmers an adequate income – the current debate shows that this is not so simple,” continues Peter Feindt.

“The partner institutions will jointly conduct the project from 2021 to 2023. In case studies on social and technological innovations in the agricultural and food sector, we are taking a closer look at whether these tend to promote or endanger social cohesion,” explains Prof. Dr. Dr. Martina Schäfer, one of the project's three spokespersons, from Technische Universität Berlin. “We are taking a look at building regional value chains in the production and marketing of pork, as well as offering healthy and inclusive school meals and various innovations in the production of meat substitutes.”

Furthermore, the scenarios currently under development at FU Berlin by Dr. Klaus Jacob in collaboration with practitioners are helping to jointly develop an idea of how agriculture and nutrition could look in 30 years' time in such a way that they facilitate positive interaction between the interests of diverse groups of stakeholders, social cohesion, food and health.

The Berlin University Alliance

The Berlin University Alliance is a consortium consisting of three major Berlin universities – Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin – and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, established to shape research and education in Berlin. The four partners joined forces to further develop Berlin as a research hub with international drawing power. Together the partners explore major societal challenges, increase public outreach, promote the training of junior researchers, address issues of quality and standards in research, and share resources in the areas of research infrastructure, teaching, diversity, equal opportunities, and internationalization. The Berlin University Alliance is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the state of Berlin under the Excellence Strategy of the Federal Government and the Länder.

Joint press release from Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin along with Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Press contact
Suhana Elisabeth Reddy, press spokesperson for the Berlin University Alliance
Email: suhana.reddy@berlin-university-alliance.de

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