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Sustainable International Agriculture Opening Ceremony in Witzenhausen

Cherry blossoms are in full bloom here in the middle of Germany just in time for the big celebration. This Friday the official Sustainable International Agriculture Masters Program Opening Ceremony by the Ministers of Research of Hessen (for Witzenhausen) and Niedersachsen (for Göttingen) will take place here in Witzenhausen. All are all invited. Presentations will be given by the presidents of the two universities as well as a few SIA students. Strong media presence is expected.

All SIA students have prepared posters for presentation during the ceremony and the catered event to follow. Below is the poster that we are working on for Community Shared Agriculture in North America.

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Round Table on Organic Agriculture and Climate Change

Fellow sustainable agriculturalists.

The best thing to come out of the COP15 and Copenhagen so far happened in the Danish Agricultural Council not inside the Bella Center. Many of the premier minds and actors in organic agriculture met to form a pact here in Copenhagen. Dr. Urs Niggli and Dr. Matthias Stolze of FiBL, Dr. Timothy Lasalle of Rodale Institute, Gundola Azeez of Soil Association, Antonio Compagnoni of ICEA, Andre Leu of IFOAM and many more were part of the Round Table on Organic Agriculture and Climate Change for which I was the minute keeper.

The objectives of the Round Table:

  • Initiate, support and facilitate research on organic agriculture and climate change,
  • Advise the international community on organic agriculture and climate change issues,
  • Develop a measurement method to enable reliable quantification and certification of carbon sequestration in organic agriculture.

After our many months of studies in Göttingen and Witzenhausen on agriculture I found myself sitting with them at the table and listening to the proposed actions on getting organic in to the climate change talks. All very exciting.

The first action is in response to the Ad Hoc working group formed in the COP15 and proposed to make comments to the COP by March. IFOAM’s Advocacy Manager Robert Jordan has been elected to carry out this action.

FiBL News

Green Planet .Net


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SIA Schedule in Witzenhausen

80px-Wappen_WitzenhausenWitzenhausen is a small town with a satellite campus for the study of Agriculture and has been a center of agricultural studies for a very long time now. The focus on organic agriculture started in the 80’s and has had a major impact on the whole community of Witzenhausen. The classes here have traditionally been coordinated and accredited through the Universität Kassel. Recent changes to the location of the administration of the SIA program have created some confusion. Although the Organic Agriculture Sciences Faculty here in Witzenhausen is a satellite of Universität Kassel SIA Masters candidates are officially students of the George-August Universität in Göttingen. Their Sustainable International Agriculture Masters Program page is the place to look for information.

The Schedule:

Courses officially start on October 12th and go until December 21 then a break till January 8th and back to classes for an indeterminate amount of time. The Universities have not yet worked out what the timing should be so it all depends on the class choice. Read about the Official Holidays in Germany and more about what those mean from Living in Germany.

I encourage all interested people to cruise around the http://www.unibio.de website and see what people are up to. Most of that is in German so plug in your babel-fish and work it out – you’ll also find a lot of information in English there and through the Witzenhausen Group on the Couchsurfing organization website.

imagesThere is a Conference titled: “Regulation of soil organic matter and nutrient turnover in agriculture”  happening on November 12thto 13th, 2009 in Witzenhausen. Download the program: www.dbges.de/wb/media/workshop_witzenhausen.pdf

There is a joint training hosted by DITSL (Deutsches Institut für Tropische und Subtropische Landwirtschaft GmbH) and FiBL (Das Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau) “Quality management and certification – international training programme” from March 16th April 3rd in Witzenhausen in 2010.

Finally there is a little traffic on Qype about Witzenhausen: http://www.qype.co.uk/de737-witzenhausen