Food system transformation & policy advisory - SLE Training

Date: June 03-07, 2024

9.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m. CEST (Central European Summer Time)

In-person @ SLE, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


The challenges confronting our local, regional, and global food systems are immense and complex. These challenges include overconsumption, malnutrition (or hidden hunger), price instability, food insecurity, and large environmental impacts such as biodiversity loss. Agriculture stands as a primary contributor to climate change, while paradoxically bearing the brunt of escalating droughts, floods, and other weather extremes exacerbated by climate change. Simultaneously, food systems serve crucial functions, encompassing "ensuring food security and nutrition for a growing population, supporting the livelihoods of millions of people working in the food supply chain, and doing so in an environmentally sustainable way" (OECD 2021).

Therefore, a transformation of our existing food systems is imperative to meet future demands. One crucial avenue to enhance resilience is the cultivation of a healthy and equitable local food system. Localized activities such as growing, selling, consuming, and reclaiming food not only generate employment but also fortify the economy, enhance public health, and diminish transportation-related impacts. This training program is designed to assist policymakers, city planners, NGOs, international development experts and others in formulating more effective policies, designing and executing local action plans, establishing resilient food networks, and advancing education, sensitization and buy-in from the local population.

Based on the SLE Projects NUTRiGREEN and HORTINLEA this course was developed to translate scientific knowledge into a hands-on training for policymakers, city planners, practitioners in the field, NGO members and food industry profession.


During this training, participants will delve into specific segments of the food system, including food production, food processing and distribution, food markets and retail, food consumption and access, as well as post-consumption and food waste. The focus will be on developing comprehensive action plans that identify all relevant stakeholders, fostering collective efforts to implement action plans, awareness campaigns and activities, in order to long-term achieve a sustainable food system transformation. Participants will receive the information and methodologies necessary to collaboratively develop practical pathways toward a more resilient food system that nurtures both people and the planet.


In this training, participants will gain knowledge in the following areas:

  • Understanding local, regional, and global food systems, their interconnections, overlaps with other key sectors, and the essential steps needed to facilitate a sustainable transformation of the food system.
  • Exploring current policy plans, projects, and initiatives from various cities such as Austin, Berlin, Mexico City, Dakar, Cape Town, and smaller rural communities like the Brodowin Ecovillage in Brandenburg, the 'Slow Food Village' St. Paul im Lavanttal, Austria, and others.
  • Understanding the different stakeholders in the food system and how their diverse interests can be integrated into a collaborative participatory process for developing action plans and fostering community-wide initiatives.
  • Learning how, within their respective organizations, participants can formulate concrete plans, activities, and initiatives to promote and facilitate sustainable change in their local communities, projects, companies, or organizations.
  • Understand political instruments on different levels such as citizens' councils, taxes and pricing policy, incentives, subsidies, regulatory policy and regulation of labour costs
  • The specific content of the training will be tailored to the diverse backgrounds of course attendees, taking into consideration factors such as their region, position, and individual training needs.

Key topics

  • Dimensions and aspects of the different food systems
  • Potential synergies and trade-offs between food security and nutrition, livelihoods, and environmental sustainability and true cost accounting
  • International initiatives and national pathways for food policy
  • Political instruments and mechanisms in the food and agri-sector
  • Practical food strategy development
  • Improving stakeholder interactions for a more sustainable production and value chain coordination
  • Education, sensitization and engagement of the different consumer groups to promote sustainable diets and food waste reduction

Course Methods

The course emphasizes current sustainable food system policies, innovative initiatives, and sustainable practices, incorporating tangible examples from (peri-)urban and rural communities in both the global North and the global South. Visits to light-house projects and pioneering organisation in Berlin and Brandenburg are planned. Participants are urged to integrate their own experiences and local contexts.

Target Group

The course is tailored for policymakers, city planners, practitioner, food industry professionals, international development experts, and key stakeholders in local food systems, possessing practical experience and decision-making competencies.

Optional Follow-Up Training 2025 Political advisory and transformative communication:

In 2025 SLE Training will offer a one week training course that builds on this training. The training will cover them in depth approaches and mechanisms with in the sphere of political advisory for green and inclusive transformation processes. A further topic will be transformative communication. The content and exercises will be based partly on those of the teamwork training. But it can also be booked independently.


Dr. Judith Henze is a researcher at the Seminar for Rural Development (SLE) in Berlin. Her interests and expertise are - amongst others - transparent and resilient food systems, regional diets, agroecology, ICT-based innovations, aquaculture, aquaponics, vertical farming and human-wildlife conflicts. In her work she practices a Co-Research and Co-Learning approach and has worked in the UK, Kenya, Germany and Thailand.

Helen Engelhardt, Head of research at NAHhaft, passionately explores the realms of food systems transformation, socio-ecological innovations, agroecology, and plant-based diets. The development of recommendations for action for various stakeholders, from consumers to political decision-makers, are central to her work. Her global perspective is not just theoretical but deeply rooted in hands-on experiences, from advising political decision makers in Africa to collaborating with civil society organizations in Central America and Europe.

Tuition fee
The tuition fee is 1700,- Euros per participant.

This includes:

  • 5-days in-person training course in Berlin
  • Coffee breaks
  • Course documentation and learning materials
  • Certificate of participation issued by Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Further individual expenses for travel, accommodation and meals or other costs, including insurance and visa fees, are not included in the price and must also be paid by the participant.

We cannot offer scholarships to fund the expenses.

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