Agora Agriculture was only founded just about two months ago. Christine Chemnitz shares the leadership of the independent think tank for agriculture, food and forestry with Harald Grethe. Agora Agriculture is part of the Agora think tanks, which also include Agora Energiewende and Agora Industry. Chemnitz comes from a small village in Lower Saxony, studied agricultural sciences in Göttingen and Berlin, and then earned her doctorate in agricultural economics at Humboldt University in Berlin.
She is currently setting up the organization, there are no regular working days yet. At present, the most important task is to assemble a strong and creative team. By the end of the year, 14 people are to be hired. There are times when Christine Chemnitz spends an entire day reading applications.
Her focus is on multiple fields – for example, the restructuring of livestock farming, sustainable agriculture, the rewetting of peatlands, or sustainable nutrition. To this end, current situations and strategies for action are analyzed.
Explaining science for everyone to understand
Even though the company’s staff is currently still being built up, Agora Agriculture’s goals are clear: “Firstly, the transformation of agriculture and nutrition toward greater sustainability must gain momentum so that sustainability goals such as carbon neutrality and biodiversity protection can be achieved,” Chemnitz explains.
Secondly, while academic institutions help inform decision-makers in the political arena, the altitude of scientific publications is often too high. Many issues have not yet been sufficiently discussed with interest groups, have not yet been thought through far enough and translated into legislative processes, and have not yet been communicated widely enough and in a way that everyone understands. Agora Agriculture is addressing these issues. The aim is to make it easier for policymakers to utilize science-based concepts.
“For this purpose, Agora Agriculture wants to engage in dialogue with all key players from the fields of science, politics and public administration, civil society, the media and business,” says Chemnitz, who headed the international agricultural policy unit at the Heinrich Böll Foundation for 15 years, during which she was also involved in the writing of a book for young people on meat consumption and processing.
Chemnitz’s professional orientation is also reflected in her private life. Namely, she likes to spend her free time outdoors, with her children in Brandenburg. “Even though I’ve lived in Berlin for more than 25 years, I don’t think I’ll ever be a city person and I like being out in nature.” Sarah Tekath