First international conference of "Agricultural Systems of the Future"

on the topic of transformation to sustainability in the agricultural and food industry

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Panel discussion on "Agricultural systems of the future - food (retro) perspectives in the context of the bioeconomy". From left: Monika Schreiner, Sabine Kulling, Christine Lang, Matthias Lech and Rebecca Klopsch

The first "Agricultural Systems of the Future Summit" took place on September 27-28, 2023 with over 150 participants. The international conference was held at the Archenhold Observatory in Berlin on the topic of transformation to sustainability in the agricultural and food industry. The summit was organized by the BMBF funding line "Agricultural Systems of the Future".

Klaus-Peter Michel from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research opened the event and emphasized that the "agricultural systems of the future" are developing unconventional concepts and that these are necessary in order to tackle the major challenge of securing our food supply while at the same time conserving natural resources.

Harald Grethe, Professor of International Agricultural Trade and Development at Humboldt University in Berlin, then gave a keynote speech on the interplay between technological and behavioral change to achieve sustainable agricultural and food systems. He made it clear that both technological and social behavioral change are needed. He also emphasized that science-based strategies and measures should be attractive to those who have to implement them.

On the second day, Christine Lang, Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the Technical University of Berlin and member of the International Advisory Council for Global Bioeconomy (IACGB), opened the main part of the conference. In her keynote speech, she emphasized that the bioeconomy is a crucial solution for a fossil-free, sustainable, regenerative and circular global economy. New technologies and social innovations are key elements for the bioeconomy, which is based on bioresources and science.

Rebecca Klopsch and Monika Schreiner (IGZ) from the "Agricultural Systems of the Future" coordination office then moderated the panel discussion on the topic of "Agricultural Systems of the Future - Food (Retro) Perspectives in the Context of the Bioeconomy". Invited guests were Sabine Kulling (coordinator of the BMBF innovation space "NewFoodSystems" and head of the Institute for Safety and Quality in Fruit and Vegetables at the Max Rubner Institute), Christine Lang and Matthias Lech (co-founder of MaKers-Lab). Kulling made it clear: "The transformation of agri-food systems towards sustainability is a multi-stakeholder approach that involves a large number of stakeholders. It is complicated and we need to involve the public." This requires collaborative creativity and farmers who drive change. We need to strengthen this, added Lech.

The panel discussion was followed by talks and presentations by international experts from science and practice on three topics:

1. Sustainable and innovative land use through integrative indoor production and recycling systems
2. Digitalization as the key to sustainable and effective land management systems
3. Changing agricultural systems - creating technological and social change


Sabine Kulling presented the prize for the best poster to Jasper Mohr, Thomas Gaiser, Max Frohberg, Almut Haub, Paul Mosebach and Inga Schleip from the Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation at the University of Bonn. The poster dealt with the work on a bioacoustic concept for the detection and quantification of biodiversity in grasslands.

The aim of the conference was to present research-based new solutions for the current challenges in agriculture and nutrition and at the same time to strengthen the national network of agricultural science and agricultural economics experts in order to gain more visibility and influence in the international research community. An important part of the "Agricultural Systems of the Future Summit 2023" is therefore the embedding of German activities in international policies and international research strategies for the transformation of agricultural systems.

(Text by: AdZ Management)