Over the last three years IFOAM – Organics International embarked on a process of change. Under the guidance of the outgoing World Board the concept of Organic 3.0 has taken shape, providing a road map for the future development of the organic movement. In a participatory process involving the office team and many of our affiliates, we developed and launched a new organisational strategy that will make IFOAM – Organics International an even more relevant agent of positive change in the future.
Serving as a Vice-President allowed me to take an active role in these processes. I also lead the development of a fundraising strategy that strengthens the financial viability of our organization and allows it to expand its activities. By initiating the “Food for Life” awareness raising campaign, I was able to bring content and resources to the new consumer-facing communication department. In order to increase our outreach, I helped build bridges to organizations that can become allies in specific areas (development agencies and foundations, UN and private sector platforms, environmental organizations, ISEAL etc.).
I believe that with these reforms we managed to build a solid foundation for the future of our organization, but much of the work is still ahead of us. If re-elected I will continue dedicating substantial time and energy, my skills and my networks for building a stronger organization and for implementing the new strategies.
I am convinced that organic agriculture has much to offer in addressing some of the big global challenges of our time: climate change, nutrition, rural poverty, water scarcity and loss of biodiversity. Since agriculture and food are now high on the international agenda we have a unique opportunity to help organic farming grow, to continuously improve it, and to inspire mainstream agriculture.
In order to accelerate the uptake of organic principles, we need to strengthen their recognition in society, economic activity, research and policy making. We need to seek collaboration and synergies with people and organizations with whom we share common objectives. And we need an efficient, resourceful and professionally governed and managed organization that facilitates organic development worldwide.
Born in Germany in 1974 and raised in a village, I used to work on organic vegetable farms after school – and fell in love with it! In 1994, I moved to Switzerland for my studies and still live here, now with my partner and our little daughter in a shared-community house near Zurich where we grow our organic vegetables and fruits, and keep bees.
I am an Environmental Scientist (PhD) with specialisation in soil fertility, tropical agriculture and rural livelihoods and additional advanced studies in International Organizations Management and in Development Cooperation. Over the past two decades I had the privilege to work on various aspects of organic agriculture in 15 countries: farming methods and system design, extension and internal control systems, standards and certification, value chain facilitation and business development, marketing and communication, sector development and policy advice. I did extensive research on the impact of organic farming on the livelihoods of smallholders and wrote several practical guides related to organic farming (IFOAM Training Manual on Organic Agriculture in the Tropics, Organic Cotton Crop Guide, Organic Business Guide).
From 1999 to 2005 I worked with FiBL (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture) as project coordinator for Asia, with focus on applied research, building organic agriculture sectors (local standards, policies, certification bodies, networks) and market development (domestic and export markets). My first contact with IFOAM was in 2000 when I was involved in organizing the IFOAM Organic World Congress in Basel.
Since 2006 I have been working with HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation as Senior Advisor for Sustainable Agriculture. My focus is on supporting organic projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America in order to improve livelihoods of smallholders through sustainable agriculture and fair trade value chains. This involves capacity building of practitioners, linking producers with markets, applied research, and knowledge sharing. At national and global level, my mandate is advocacy for policy development and awareness creation in sustainable agriculture. Through this work I am well connected with relevant organisations and networks and can help IFOAM – Organics International to open doors and seize opportunities.
• Vice-President of IFOAM – Organics International
• Member of the ISEAL Stakeholder Council
• Member of the Swiss National FAO Committee
• Member of the Impact Committee of the Sustainable Trade Initiative IDH
• Member of the Advisory Board of ITC’s Trade for Sustainable Development Program