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Valentin Fiala


Environmental Policy Research Centre


Ihnestraße 22
14195 Berlin

Valentin Fiala joined the Environmental Policy Research Centre (FFU) in 2021 as a research fellow and is involved in the project “Inclusive Food System Transitions”, funded by the Berlin University Alliance. The topic of his work is the transition towards sustainable and socially cohesive food systems. His work focuses on societal discourses on food systems and the participatory development of scenarios for their future development.

Before joining the FFU, Valentin Fiala studied environmental and bio-resource management at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, where he received his PhD in 2020 from the Division of Organic Farming. The focus of his doctoral thesis was the media representation and the societal roles of alternative agriculture and food movements.

Prior to his doctorate, he was a research assistant at the Division of Organic Farming for several years, during which time he gained experience in academic teaching as well as in national and international research projects. His previous research interests were: Sustainable urban food systems, participatory scenario development, transdisciplinary research approaches and media analysis.

In addition to his purely scientific activities, Valentin Fiala is also active in the field of arts-based research, and in his work, he repeatedly attempts to cross the boundaries between art and science. In the course of this, he is involved in initiatives that deal with urban structures and urban food production through artistic research.

Research interests:

Transformation of agricultural, and food systems; sustainable urban food systems; alternative agriculture, and food movements; resilience; organic agriculture

Methods used:

Qualitative social research methods; transdisciplinary research approaches; participatory scenario development; soft systems approaches; media analysis; discourse analysis; arts-based research

A complete list of publications can be found at Research Gate:


Selected pubications

Journal articles

Lopez-Cifuentes, M., Freyer, B., Sonnino, R., & Fiala, V. (2021). Embedding sustainable diets into urban food strategies: A multi-actor approach. Geoforum, 122, 11-21.

Fiala, V., Freyer, B., & Bingen, J. (2021). Environmentally Sound Agriculture Between Transformation and Conformation: The Changing Portrayal of the Growing Organic Farming Movement in Austria's Newspaper Coverage. Environmental Communication, 1-19.

Porcuna-Ferrer, A., Fiala, V., Freyer, B., van Etten, J., Vernooy, R., & Probst, L. (2020). Do community seed banks contribute to the social-ecological resilience of communities? A case-study from Western Guatemala. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 1-18.

Fiala, V., Paxton, R., Cadieux, V., Klimek, M., & Freyer, B. (2019). Reflective Photobooth–a way to visualise, and challenge perceptions and representations of distanced social groups. Visual Studies, 34(4), 336-349.

Fiala, V., Freyer, B., & Bingen, J. (2019). Construction of a scattered field-the differentiation of organic farming in Austrian TV advertisement campaigns. Food, Culture & Society, 22(4), 464-484.

Freyer, B., Bingen, J., & Fiala, V. (2019). Seven myths of organic agriculture and food research. Organic Agriculture, 9(3), 263-273.

Fiala, V., Freyer, B., Klimek, M., & Fahringer, A. (2018). How do you teach transdisciplinary competences for food and farming systems research? Insights from the course “System Analysis and Scenario Technique”. Open Agriculture, 3(1), 553-566.

Book chapters

Klimek, M., Fiala, V., Freyer, B., & Bingen, J. (2019). Organic in the Global North: A Revival of Organic Ethics for a More Sustainable Food System. In J. Chrzan & J. Ricotta (Eds.), Organic Food, Farming and Culture - An Introduction (pp. 131-149). London & New York: Bloomsbury.

Fiala, V., & Freyer, B. (2016). Systemtheoretische Grundlagen. In B. Freyer (Ed.), Ökologischer Landbau (pp. 80-101). Bern: UTB Hauptverlag.