• 31.03.


    New Publication „Towards a Participatory Systems Approach“

    Managing complex bioeconomy interventions in the agrarian sector

    Calls for a “sustainable bioeconomy” have recently begun to proliferate in academic and political circles as an answer to global challenges such as the rapidly increasing world population and changing environmental conditions due to climate change. To build economies that rely on various sources of biomass rather than on fossil-based resources, bioeconomy policies highlight a need to explore ways in which productivity in agriculture can be increased. While the focus on productivity growth has largely been inspired by technology optimism and modernisation thinking, the local knowledge of farmers and other rural stakeholders – as a means of contributing to socially and ecologically more sustainable bioeconomy pathways – has frequently been sidelined. This perspective article proposes and discusses a participatory approach to strategy formulation and evaluation in agricultural transformation and bioeconomy development that is based on the methodological toolbox MARISCO (Adaptive MAnagement of vulnerability and RISk at COnservation sites). By offering a means of developing a comprehensive knowledge map, bringing together both insights and perspectives from diverse local stakeholders, this approach enables a systemic evaluation of the social and ecological effects of intervention strategies on the ground. The article outlines the benefits – and challenges – of such a systemic and participatory approach and briefly sketches how the results can be utilised in more sustainable governance processes in the development of bioeconomy strategies. We conclude that our adapted MARISCO methodology offers a viable tool to make more visible the perspectives and knowledge of biomass producers for policymakers and to contribute to a much-needed discursive shift in bioeconomy debates towards more holistic and inclusive perspectives.

    Keywords: Bio-based economy; Participatory methods; Social-ecological systems; Intensification; Agriculture

    Michael Spies, M.; Zuberi, M.; Mählis, M., Zakirova, A., Alff, H., Raab, C. Towards a participatory systems approach to managing complex bioeconomy interventions in the agrarian sector, Sustainable Production and Consumption, Volume 31, 2022, 557-568,

  • 14.03.

    Food for Justice

    Five New Working Papers

    The first 5 working papers of the research group Food for Justice: Power, Politics and Food Inequalities in a Bioeconomy are out!

    In Working Paper 1 project leader Renata Motta presents the research program and objectives.
    Working Paper 2 shows results of a 2019 protest survey in Brazil on the Marcha das Margaridas movement, which focused on issues of food, social mobilization, and gender.
    Working Paper 3 analyzes results of a protest survey from 2020 on mobilization, consumption behavior and protest motivations of activists of the German food and agriculture alliance Meine Landwirtschaft at their annual protest under the slogan Wir haben es satt!
    Working Paper 4 emerged from the scenario of rising food insecurity in the Covid 19 pandemic and explores the effects of the pandemic on nutrition and food security in Brazil in 2020.
    Working Paper 5 also deals with the effects of the pandemic; based on a media analysis, the situation of migrant workers* in German agriculture in 2020 was investigated.

    All publications are available on the Food for Justice website. We appreciate your interest and hope you enjoy reading!

  • 01.09.

    Mentalities in flux (flumen)

    1st „Scientific Coffee Human-Forest-Relationships“

    08 September 2021
    13-15 CET / 14-16 EEST

    Input: Anne Matilainen (University of Helsinki): Feelings of psychological ownership towards forests

    With the “Scientific Coffee” sessions we – the junior research group ,flumen´ and the research project ,Human-forest relationship in Societal Change’ – pursue our cooperation and exchange on the relations between society, humans and forests that we started with the workshop “Contested Society-Nature-Relations. Forest related Emotions, Practices & Conflicts in Times of Societal Change” in May 2021.

    The Scientific Coffee HFR starts with our colleague Anne Matilainen from the University of Helsinki who is researching the concept of psychological ownership in the context of forests. More information about her academic work you find here.

    Anne will give a short introduction to the concept of psychological ownership and her research. With coffee and cookies at hand, we will have plenty of room for an open discussion and exchange. The scientific coffee will take place on zoom (link comes with the registration).

    Please give us a quick reply if you plan to attend on September, 8th by registrating at

    We are looking forward to see you at the Scientific Coffee!

    The “Scientific Coffee HFR” sessions give room for open and relaxed discussions on current research subjects related to human and society relations to forests. They take place as often as we find the time to organise another session – but at least one session per semester is planned. If you are interested in contributing to the next “Scientific Coffee HFR”, please contact with info on your subject (title and short abstract) and a preferred Wednesday (13-15 CET / 14-16 EEST).

  • 01.07.

    Mentalities in flux (flumen)

    Sessions zu „Building Alternative Livelihoods in Times of Ecological and Political Crisis“

    Die Forschungsgruppe „flumen“ organisiert am 6. Juli 2021 drei Live-Stream-Sessions zu Bioökonomie und Wachstum auf der online-Konferenz „Building Alternative Livelihoods in Times of Ecological and Political Crisis“.

    Growth, Technology and the Bioeconomy (6. Juli, 13:45-15:15 Uhr GMT+1 (UK-Zeit) | in Deutschland: 14:45-16:15 Uhr!)
    – Dennis Eversberg, Jana Holz: Empty Promises of Growth: The Bioeconomy and Its Multiple Reality Checks
    – Miriam Boyer & Sarah Hackfort: The Growth Paradigm and the High-Tech Bioeconomy
    – Matthias Schmelzer: Fossil capital and carbon mentalities: Contours of the social in historical studies on energy transitions

    The global frontlines of the bioeconomy: Conflicts and rural social inequalities related to the expansion of the bioeconomy (6. Juli, 13:45-15:15 Uhr GMT+1 (UK-Zeit)| in Deutschland 14:45-16:15 Uhr!)
    – Eduardo Erazo Acosta: The power of the ancestral philosophy of Alli kawsay (Buen Vivir) in the indigenous movements of Colombia – Ecuador
    – Axel Anlauf: Contesting the bioeconomy‘s bottleneck–conflicts around phosphate mining and trade in Piura, Peru
    – Anne Tittor: Towards an extractivist bioeconomy without decarbonization?
    – Sabaheta Ramcilovic-Suominen: Envisioning just bioeconomy transformations for Europe: Drawing from degrowth and intersectional decolonial environmental justice movements and ideas

    European perspectives in the contested transformation towards a bio-based economy (6. Juli, 15:30-17:00 Uhr GMT+1 (UK-Zeit) | in Deutschland: 16:30-18:00 Uhr!)
    – Maja Hoffmann, Clive Spash: Sectoral analysis of the impacts of greenhouse gas mitigation on work for the Austrian economy, and implications for the debates on just transition and degrowth
    – Joachim Spangenberg: The German Bioeconomy Strategy – Debunking the Narrative
    – Philip Koch: Transitions in the Andalusian Olive Oil sector – History, Perceptions and Conflicts
    – Lilian Pungas: Social-ecological mentalities within the semi-subsistence urban agriculture in Estonia

    „Building Alternative Livelihoods in Times of Ecological and Political Crisis“ ist eine internationale online-Konferenz des International Degrowth Research Networks, der International Society for Ecological Economics und der European Society for Ecological Economics. Sie findet vom 5. bis 8. Juli 2021 online statt und wird organisiert von der Universität Manchester (UK).

    Mehr Infos zur Konferenz allgemein:

    Spreadsheet, das ein aktuelles Programm beinhaltet: (Alle Angaben in GMT+1, dh in deutscher Zeit nochmals +1h)

    Registrierung (kostenlos!):

  • 08.06.

    Mentalities in flux (flumen)

    Start des Wissenschafts-Kunstprojektes „Bio Bio SUV“

    Ausstellungseröffnung & Diskussionsveranstaltung „Bioökonomie – und was hat das mit mir zu tun?“ der Nachwuchsgruppe flumen in Kooperation mit Sebastian Jung am 11. Juni 2021


  • 18.05.

    Food for Justice

    Workshops zu Essen und Ernährungssicherheit

    Am 19.05. und 20.05.2021 finden zwei Workshops zu Essen und Ernährungssicherheit in Berlin statt:

    19.05.: Insegurança alimentar e nutricional enquanto escolha política
    20.05.: A (re)volta da fome no Brasil. Desigualdades alimentares e lutas por justiça alimentar

    Die Veranstaltungen findet auf Portugiesisch statt.

    Weitere Informationen: