Students, Noel Fischbacher and Jannis Hauerwaas from the University of the Bundeswehr Munich recently completed a four-week internship with the innovative project INCiTiS-FOOD (Integrated and Circular Technologies for Sustainable City Region Food Systems in Africa).
Driven by a passion for sustainable food solutions and the environment, the two interns sought an internship experience that aligned with their academic interests. During their studies, the interns had the privilege of taking courses with Professor Buchenrieder, coordinator of the INCiTiS-FOOD project, who introduced them to the project, its goals, objectives, and work.
Coming from a rural background, Jannis found the concept of using insects as an alternative food and feed source particularly fascinating. As global food production faces increasing challenges due to population growth, environmental concerns, and the need for sustainable alternatives, this internship offered a unique opportunity to explore an area that could have a significant impact on the future of food production.
During the internship, Jannis focused on analyzing supply and value chains, with a specific emphasis on hydroponic fertilizers. This experience revealed the intricate complexities of supply chain analysis, showing that even seemingly straightforward chains can present intricate challenges. It also provided a hands-on understanding of how scientific projects like INCiTiS-FOOD operate and continually evolve.
The knowledge Jannis gained during the internship will have a direct impact on their future studies. They are currently preparing for their Bachelor’s thesis, which will explore a topic closely related to their work with INCiTiS-FOOD.
Reflecting on the experience, Noel expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to participate in a project that combines innovation, sustainability, and societal change. They strongly believe that insects, with their ease of breeding and high nutritional content, can play a crucial role in addressing the challenges of global food supply and environmental sustainability.
Noel found several connections between the INCiTiS-FOOD project and their studies. This included exploring why insects were considered a “food taboo” for so long and how such taboos can be overcome, a question that aligned with their societal theory module. Moreover, the legal aspects of insect-based food and feed were of particular interest, as they leveraged their understanding of legislative processes in the European Union to analyze the regulatory framework.
Professor Buchenrieder warmly welcomed the interns and provided them with an enriching and educational experience. The project remains committed to fostering future leaders passionate about sustainable food systems and will closely look into all its future endeavors to further empower youth interested in topics relevant to the project. Such steps are already in motion in some INCiTiS-FOOD Living Labs, where interns are integrated into day-to-day operations.