The Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences places the preservation and improvement of livelihood and food resources at the centre of its activities. Taking into account these priorities, research and teaching are based on the precautionary principle in terms of contents and methods.
The Faculty is dedicated to the foundation and support of an agrarian and food culture that
- secures sustainable food and resource management
- enables a human – nature interaction oriented at the utilization and strengthening of self-regulating processes
- interacts with farm animals in a respectful and gentle way
- contributes to the development of secure social and economic conditions in rural areas.
While the teaching, research and science dialogue of Faculty members adheres to high scientific standards, it concurrently contributes to the development of a society in line with the ethical framework outlined above.
Aware of the colonialist background of the site and the identification and collaboration of pioneers of organic agriculture with National Socialism, the members of the department oppose any racist, anti-Semitic, anti-feminist, nationalist or ethnic expressions and practices. There is no place in teaching and research for anti-human endeavors.
Orientation at the principles of sustainability and diversity
Agricultural sustainability requires human thought and action to consider systemic correlations, natural cycles and the application of measures in accordance with local conditions.
Agricultural diversity is based on the protection of natural resources and the conservation of genetic resources. The latter should be principally accessible to all stakeholders involved. Our goal is an “agriculture of diversity” in order to
- contribute to an ethically acceptable production of food in sufficient quantities and high quality
- create and secure decent labour conditions
- support cultural creativity.
This only succeeds, if local action and global responsibility are understood as closely related. Therefore it is essential to organize agriculture in accordance with societal and ecological changes. In particular, the precautionary principle includes the avoidance of irreversible processes as they can occur in relation to, e.g., the release of genetically modified organisms.
Teaching, learning and researching as a common task
We understand learning as an active involvement in the process of knowledge creation. Therefore we appreciate teaching and learning techniques that aim at the development of agricultural expertise, methodological competences and personal soft skills and help to encourage civic commitment in a democratic society. This demands ongoing knowledge acquisition and a constant dialogue between teachers and learners. The intercultural cooperation in teaching and research offers special opportunities for personal and professional education.
Research for sustainability includes a well-organized interdisciplinary dialogue between life sciences and socio-economic sciences, an integration of applied and basic research, and an appreciation of practically approved knowledge systems. Methodically this embraces quantitative, qualitative, participatory and action oriented research strategies.
Regional and international fields of action
Study programs, regional and international projects as well as alumni all over the world contribute to the network of the Faculty. The Faculty participates in the current environmental and sustainability discourse through discussion input and service offers. As an exchange platform for science, practice and the public, the Faculty is part of the international dialogue on organic agriculture and sustainable rural development. This renders the results of research and project work accessible to various target groups.
The Faculty is involved in local and regional extra university education, with additional input from its research farm and the tropical greenhouse. Further knowledge transfer is facilitated by a wide spectrum of university spin-offs.
In day to day practice the maintenance, expansion and communication of knowledge in organic agricultural sciences requires an atmosphere allowing the development of creativity and productivity for all members of the Faculty. This includes the design of family-friendly study and work conditions.
In face of growing challenges in studies, teaching and research it is especially important to identify and support individual strengths in each member of the faculty. To achieve this goal it is indispensable to develop a wide-spread culture of critical reflection, evaluation and discussion based on tolerance and respect.
Concerning this mission statement the Faculty also sees itself as a learning organization. The mission’s function as code of practice will only be implemented permanently if it is subject to ongoing critical challenge and further development.
Witzenhausen, February 2012