On 24 March, the barn evening of f3 and the Global Food Summit in Munich will focus on the nutrition of the future. We talked to Eva Piepenbrock, head of the f3 editorial office, about the work of f3 and the barn evening.
On the barn evening they will present different aspects of a new agriculture and upcoming changes. What do you think are the most important changes at the moment?
Our barn talks traditionally bring together a colourful mix of people from the agricultural and food industry, the start-up scene and science. In a convivial atmosphere, we discuss the future of the industry with the help of founders and innovative farmers. In Munich, we will also be discussing tomorrow's food - and what that means for domestic food production.
We believe that there are certain trends that have a strong influence on agriculture - but also offer it new opportunities.
For example, we are seeing a lot of movement on "alternative proteins" and the topic of meat substitutes. It is assumed that the number of flexitarians will increase, who will certainly also make use of meat alternatives as a supplement to their diet. At the latest since the hype about Beyond Meat, which produces a burger bulette from plant proteins, one could ask why farmers in this country do not grow the appropriate crops to go with it, such as peas or lupins. It would be great if agriculture could be included in these hypes.
The issue of insect protein is also becoming increasingly important. Even if the consumer still has a lot to take away in this respect, insect breeding could become a new mainstay for farms. Especially farmers who operate biogas plants could use the waste heat for insect breeding. If the animals could then still eat plant waste, the cycle would be closed.
There is also a lot going on in the field, particularly in terms of digitalisation and more efficient use. The topic of "soil" is also currently attracting a lot of attention in terms of possible CO2 storage. We look forward to discussing these topics with you at the barn talk.
How do you assess the discussion about innovations in the agricultural sector? How can these be improved?
First of all, we approve of the fact that there is currently so much attention for agriculture in politics, the media and - also as a result of the farmers' protests - in society. Sometimes the discussion is already looking at new, technological innovations within the industry. Particularly when it comes to more precise application of crop protection products, one repeatedly stumbles across reports and articles - even from non-trade media. We at f3 wanted to promote this innovative perspective, that's why we exist at all. We are trying to take practical agriculture with us. This should certainly be tried even more in other places. This means that, in addition to all the striving for innovation, it must always be about practical application. This goes hand in hand with financial viability, when many farmers have their backs to the wall anyway. Data security and interface problems are also part of the truth. You have to be that honest.
Which topic are you planning to focus on the next barn evening?
The agricultural and food industry of the future is a hugely broad subject area, which fortunately is teeming with innovations. We will try to keep the balance between practical agricultural topics, such as developments in smart farming, and the food focus, such as alternative proteins. The big bracket will be that most innovations all want to contribute to more sustainability in the agricultural and food industry.