Damiano di Simine, Legambiente (Italy)
Representative of the citizens' committee
Damiano Di Simine (Seveso, 1967) earned a doctorate in biotechnology at the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Milan, where he conducted a research in environmental microbiology. After the doctorate, his professional commitment has been directed to the issues of environmental protection. Since the early '90s, he has collaborated for Legambiente in various capacities. He has held working positions at the helm of the regional sector of protected areas and he also coordinated the Alps monitoring unit. From 2002 to 2008, he was president of the Italian delegation of CIPRA - International Commission for the Protection of the Alps. He has been president of Legambiente Lombardia since 2006, and he has been a member of the national secretariat of the association. From the regional congress of 2007, Damiano Di Simine has introduced the issues of soil protection in the mission of the association and co-founded the CRCS - the national Research Centre on Soil Sealing.
Tiziano Cattaneo, Legambiente (Italy)
Tiziano is a geographer and environmental communicator. Since 2011 he works for the most widespread environmental organisation in Italy and collaborates with CRCS - the national Research Centre on Soil Sealing. He started his professional career as a GIS specialist but then his passion for environmental and social communication led him to other areas of study and practice, especially community-based maps and awareness campaigns.
Bernward Geier, COLABORA (Germany)
Bernward Geier is, among other things, journalist, political activist and member of the Future of Food Commission and involved in Slow Food. He lives on a small organic farm and is today Director of the consulting agency COLABORA- let´s work together. Bernward Geier was born 1953. After a peace service as war resister in the ghetto in Washington D.C. he studied cultural history in Mexico and agriculture at the University of Kassel/Germany, where he worked in the field of organic agriculture as a scientist and lecturer for 5 years. From 1986 onwards he served for over 18 years as Director in the global umbrella organization of organic farming IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements). His consultancy advocacy & lobby experiences include UN, FAO, UNEP, WTO,OECD, UNCTAD and EU Commission, as well as national governments and ministries. Since 2014 he is the campaign coordinator of “Save Our Soils” for the German speaking countries.
Soléne Demonet, France Nature Environnement (France)
Solène Demonet (1986) lives in Paris, France, and Works for France Nature Environnement. These NGO has the particularity of federating 3500 local NGOs. She has a twin-tracks expertise: she graduated in Environmental law and Risks management from the University of Lyon and has developed a strong field experience, enriched by the various network of volunteers. Moreover she is deeply involved in the construction of the law, regarding the control of industrial pollutions, liability, land use issues or soil restoration. On these aspects, she currently represents FNE in national committees on industrial activities and agriculture to reduce pollutions (air – water - soil). Soil is a major topic to her and she has initiated the empowerment of FNE on soil protection. From agricultural practices to water management and land use, she has gathered a network of soil experts from different disciplines in order to elaborate a sustainable guideline on land use. This document aims at giving key messages for decision makers.
Marta Messa, Slow Food International (Belgium)
Marta Messa is the director of the Brussels office of Slow Food. She holds a bachelor degree in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick (UK) and a master's degree in economics and politics from the University of Freiburg (Germany). She started working with Slow Food in 2010, coordinating grassroots projects involving the development of agroecological food gardens, in collaboration with agronomists and other experts. Since 2013 she leads the Brussels office of Slow Food, liaising with EU institutions on food policies and coordinating the biodiversity projects of Slow Food in the country.
Bertus Buizer, Sustainable Food Supply Foundation (Netherlands)
Bertus Buizer (Ens, 1951) is chairman of the Sustainable Food Supply Foundation. He was born and raised on a farm in the municipality of Noordoostpolder in the Netherlands and studied crop production and economics at the Professional Agricultural University in Dronten. Since 2008 he is owner and manager of Buizer Advies, a consultancy for sustainable agriculture and energy. Currently, he is also manager of the Dutch business network Organicseeds.nl that he has founded in 2008. From 1986 until 2007 he worked at DLV Plant, a leading independent Dutch consultancy. There, he operated as a senior adviser and project manager in the field of sustainable arable farming, including organic farming. In these position, his main activities were leading a team of organic advisors and providing practical advise to conventional farmers, especially in the scope of soil improvement. Since 1973 he worked several years in Africa as project manager in tropical agriculture in Cameroon (1973-1975) and Chad (1982-1986).
Isabel Branco, QUERCUS (Portugal)
Isabel Branco, lives in Vila Real, Portugal, and work for QUERCUS, National Association for Nature Conservation, since 2014. She is Forestry Engineer and earned a master degree in Forestry Conservation at the agriculture and forestry faculty of the University of Trás-o-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD). She teaches for several years soil science as Assistent Professor in the soil department of UTAD where she participate in research projects related to soil management and conservation. Now she works in the areas of land use planning and territory management, she is the treasurer of the agriculture and soils working group of QUERCUS and belongs to the EEB (European Environmental Bureau) Soil Group and makes part of the core of the direction of the delegation of QUERCUS of Vila Real and Viseu were develops actions related to environmental education, sensibilization and conservation.
Stefanie Schabhüttl, Umweltdachverband (Austria)
Stefanie Schabhüttl is Water Policy Officer, head of the team “Energy & Resources” and in charge of advocacy and member liaison at Umweltdachverband, an umbrella organization of 37 environmental and nature protection NGOs from all over Austria and a major player in the field of national and EU environmental policy and law. Stefanie studied English linguistics and ecology in Graz, Vienna and abroad. After side-trips to the world of photography and film as well as scientific research in the field of freshwater and marine ecology she turned to environmental journalism, public relations and social media campaigning. Over and above, she was working as a freelance translator for many years. Stefanie concerns herself with the concepts of permaculture and slow food to put them into practice in an urban gardening project in her neighbourhood.
Theodoros Oreinos, Naturefriends Greece (Greece)
Born in Piraeus, 1950, Theodoros Oreinos is a Natural Scientist with a PhD degree in Plant Physiology worked out in the Faculty of Botany in the University of Athens. He worked for a few years in scientific laboratories (lab. oflipids metabolism in the NCSR, lab. of electron microscopy in faculty of botany) and for many years in Secondary Education as a science teacher in senior high schools, teaching Biology, Geology, Chemistry and Physics. He was also a teachers’ superintendent and responsible for environmental education in Piraeus and South Attica prefectures. He was the National Coordinator for the project-network SEMEP - UNESCO (South Eastern Mediterranean Environmental Project), since 1996. He was also the National Coordinator for the national biology Olympiad for four years.
Victor Gonzálvez-Pérez, Sociedad Española de Agricultura Ecológica (Spain)
Victor Gonzálvez-Pérez (Alacant, 1957) is the director of SEAE - Sociedad Española de Agricultura Ecológica and IFOAM board member. He has 30-years experience in organic farming, extension and consultancy, participatory methodologies of technology transfer in agriculture, rural development projects, advisory work on sustainable programs with farmers organizations in Spain and developing countries (Nicaragua and Mesoamérica) and policy and network in organic farming, regulatory organic farming frameworks.
Klaus Laitenberger, Organic Centre - Environmental Pillar (Ireland)
Klaus Laitenberger has been growing organic vegetables for over twenty years in the UK and Ireland. He was running a four-acre organic market garden in England before moving to Ireland in 1999 where he was the Head Gardener at the Organic Centre in Rossinver, Co. Leitrim for seven years. He then took on the challenge to start the garden restoration in Lissadell House in Co. Sligo. For the last few years he has been working as a self-employed trainer, mentor and consultant in organic horticulture. He completed his MSc in Organic Farming (SAC Aberdeen and University of Glasgow). Since 2012 he works as an organic inspector for the Organic Trust and lectures on the MSc Organic Horticulture course in Skibbereen. Klaus is also the author of three books: ‘Vegetables for the Irish Garden’ , ‘Vegetables for the Polytunnel and Greenhouse’ and ‘A Vegetable Growers Handbook’. He also runs a vegetable seed company in Leitrim with his wife Joanna called ‘Green Vegetable Seeds’ specialising in seed varieties best suited to Irish conditions.