Perennials Resilience


The Potential of Perennials for Food System Resilience

Date: SATURDAY, April 7th 2018, 9:00 – 17:00

Main Symposium with Stakeholders from Science, Civil Society, Private Sector and Government

  1. The potential of perennial plant communities for soil restoration, water protection and biodiversity
  2. The contribution of perennials for food system resilience and decentralized food systems with local business opportunities
  3. Connecting representatives across the science-agriculture-food-value-chain to catalyze transdisciplinary collaboration on a new paradigm for regenerative agriculture and food system resilience

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Why this is relevant

Soil is the earth’s fragile skin that anchors the basis of our life. Increased demand for agriculture commodities generates soil degradation beyond the soil’s ability to maintain itself. A new paradigm in agriculture that combines soil restoration, biodiversity, water circulation and productivity for food production is urgently needed.

Perennial plant communities are one key integral part of regenerative agriculture.  They have a potential to support:

  1. Soil regeneration
  2. Biodiversity
  3. Healthy water cycles
  4. CO2-storage
  5. Resilient decentral food systems

Perennial vegetables for food system resilience

Only 12 plant species (and 5 animal species) account for 70% of total nutrition (ProSpezieRara Germany 2014). There is a huge untapped potential of perennial vegetables to support food diversity and resilient food systems.

Cattail, Welsh Onion, Alpine garlic, Caucasian spinach, Udo, Large-leaf Hosta, Daylily, Greater Sea Kale, American hog-peanut, Judas Tree and many, many more wait to be explored.





Katharina Serafimova

+41 (0)79 341 97 79


Matthias Brück

+41 (0)76 582 83 87


Heiko Specking

+41 76 575 52 28


Stephen Barstow


Patrick Honauer



We would like to enable participation without any financial barriers. We are thankful to our partners for supporting this symposium. Nevertheless expenses accumulate. This is why we would like to encourage you to contribute towards this initiative as you think fit.


Projektfonds rundumkultur / "Perennials Symposium"
Stiftung Freie Gemeinschaftsbank, 4002 Basel
IBAN CH26 0839 2000 0282 2031 5
Konto 40-963-0
BCL 8392





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The intention

April 7th 2018, we invited over 100 pioneers, practitioners, academics and enterpreneurs to an old monastery in Stans, Switzerland to a symposium to explore the potential of perennial plant communities for resilient food systems and regenerative agriculture.
Today, nature conservation, ecosystem restoration and (food) productivity are still largely considered as opposites. With approaches like regenerative farming, agroforestry and an increasing recognition about the untapped potential of underutilised edible plants, we see an increasing potential for combining soil and ecosystem regeneration and biodiversity with productivity.

There were three main outcomes from this Symposium:

  1. The practical examples show, that perennial plant communities have a huge potential to support soil regeneration, biodiversity, healthy water cycles and resilient decentralised food systems: Stephen Barstow in Norway, Joe Hollis in the United States, Felipe Basini and Ernst Götsch in Brazil, and also the upcoming regeneration initiatives in the Mediterranean were present at the Symposium.

  2. A shift towards perennials requires more than replacing annuals with perennials within the existing monocultural structures. It required a paradigm shift into more diverse and holistic agroecological approaches.

  3. To move regeneration and perennials to the next level, the existing experience-knowledge from pioneers and practictioners in projects needs to be made available so that cross-project learning and knowledge-sharing (within comparable climate zones) will be possible. This is true for access and knowlegde about plants and plant communities, about system design, planning and management as well as about the creation of diverse regional value-chains for perennial products.




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