On September 12, Slow Food Germany awarded the Ursula Hudson Prize in Berlin. The 2023 award winner is Annemarie Volling from the Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft e. V. (Small Farmers Association) (AbL).
It is also thanks to their tireless fight that no genetically modified foods are on the German market. A commitment that remains urgently necessary from a Slow Food perspective, not least due to current developments in new genetic engineering.
The education award initiated by Slow Food Germany (SFD) in 2021 is named after the long-time SFD chairwoman Ursula Hudson, who died in 2020. An independent board of trustees selected four nominees from the applications received, who were presented today at the Baden-Württemberg state representation in Berlin. The award winner is Annemarie Volling – one of the committed players in Germany for GMO-free food production. At AbL, she is the expert for genetic engineering and patents and is responsible for the network for non-GMO agriculture and food production. Annemarie Volling knows how to show the general public the negative effects of genetically modified organisms. These harm biodiversity and promote the concentration of a seed industry that threatens independent food supplies.
Against the background of a possible deregulation of second-generation genetic engineering methods, the demand for freedom from genetic engineering is highly topical: In the summer, the EU Commission presented a legislative proposal on new genetic engineering methods such as CRISPR/Cas, according to which plants modified with genetic scissors could be exempt from the current strict approval process. Volling calls on the federal government and the EU Parliament to defend their citizens’ freedom of choice. Tanja Busse, head of the board of trustees, emphasised this at the award ceremony: “One of the most important rights that farmers and consumers have fought for in recent years, despite great resistance from the industry, is the right to a GMO-free diet. We thank Annemarie Volling for her far-sighted commitment to this important right!”
From the perspective of SFD chairwoman Nina Wolff, all nominees deserve recognition: “The multiple crises that we as a society have to overcome often challenge our confidence. But a day like today makes me happy for the future. The nominees tell various stories of solutions and live their visions – representing many other people who are keeping the nutritional transition going – so that we can continue to make self-determined decisions about what we sow, harvest, breed and eat in the future.”
The Ursula Hudson Prize consists in €1,500 and honours nutritional transition initiatives. In addition to Annemarie Volling, the following were nominated: Thomas Voß from the LWL clinics in Münster and Lengerich for his contribution to sustainable community catering, GemüseheldInnen Frankfurt for their urban garden and nutrition projects and the forest garden project from Sarsarale e. V., which shows the benefits of forest gardens for food production. The board of trustees includes the author and presenter Dr. Tanja Busse, Misereor managing director Pirmin Spiegel, the Slow Food activist Barbara Assheuer, the chairwoman of the Free Bakers Anke Kähler and Caroline Barth from the management of Slow Food Youth Germany.