…to the website of Titus Bahner, independent expert, consultant and project developer in the field of organic farming and regional development.
A child from an academic family, I grew up in the heartful landscape around Heidelberg in Southern Germany.
After school and civil service in a hospital, I hitchhiked as a street musician through France, exploring "poverty" and the essentials of live.
During my agricultural studies at Hohenheim and Kiel Universities I took some practical intermissions on farms in Germany and England, a long journey to Eastern Africa and a year of studies abroad in Oregon, USA.
Having been to all those places and of course also for private reasons ;-) I choose the serene and clear landscapes of northern Germany my home on the planet. I settled in Wendland region near Elbe river, founded a family and raised 4 children there.
I started independent project developing work right after finishing my studies. In parallel, after some years of work experience, I did a PhD in economics at Witten-Herdecke University, which was granted a price by the Wolfgang Ritter Stiftung in Bremen.
Why is mankind doing such harm to nature? How can we stop this? Driven by these questions since being a teenager, I'm still looking for answers in my professional life.
I found Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy a very helpful basis, mainly his understanding of man being a spiritual self in constant evolution, entitled to freedom, responsible for his actions and capable to learn. His concept of individual as well as collective mental evolution, passing from "sentient soul" through the critical stage of "mind soul" to the enlarged state of "conscious soul", is particularly helpful in understanding transitionary development as we see it in many places today.
On the other end, the scientific paradigm of economics provides me with a tool case to develop innovative solutions. I particularly draw on the works of institutional economists like Douglas North, Oliver Williamson and more recently Elinor Ostrom.
A third vital ingredient is the tradition of non-violent action as developed by Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King (relating back to the real Martin Luther), and of non-violent communication as developed by Marshall Rosenberg, to me a prerequisite for any peaceful community life.
In my home region I keep organising smaller ecological conservation, farming and regional development projects (Kateminer Mühlenbachtal, Lilienpfad, Harlinger Bach). I managed Hof Tangsehl Association which owns a large organic farm for many years.
From 2003 to 2015 I was board member of Hamburg-based Aktion Kulturland Foundation.
Since 2006 I represent our environmental NGOs in the local round table for the implementation for the EU water framework directive.
In 2013, after two years of preparation, I founded Kulturland-Genossenschaft together with some friends. The co-operative is a new nationwide structure to "free" farmland from the market in order to provide it to organic farmers as a common.
In earlier years (1998 - 2002) I coordinated the German participants of the EU scientific network COST A 12 "Rural Innovation" together with Karl Bruckmeier / Göteborg.
My actual European family is the Forum Synergies network. Established 1998 by Hannes Lorenzen and Philippe Barret, the network brings together practitioners of sustainable rural development from many corners of Europe in "travelling workshops" and informational exchanges. It is an extremely inspiring platform and helps to create personal contacts among passionate workers for a better European future, from Estonia to Spain, from the Scottish Islands to the Balkans and Turkey. Together with Simone Matouch and Martina Guedon I coordinated the network from 2008 to 2011 and organised a large meeting 2009 in Wendland (report).
More specifically, the development of Kulturland-Genossenschaft was inspired by the European Platform for Access to Land that started within Forum Synergies. The platform is an ongoing exchange with partners like Regionalwert AG, Terre de Liens, Terre en Vue / Land in Zicht and Biodynamic Land Trust. Together we explore new ways for young farmers' access to land, for community connected farming and for the "commoning" of land ownership. Have a look at the map and the case studies that have been elaborated in this context.
Here is an interview on YouTube and some publications in English and French: