The Regionalwert AG: Creating sustainable regional structures and high nature value farmland through citizen participation

Authors and Affiliations: 

Roman Lenz, Christian Hiss, Peter Volz

University of Applied Sciences, Nürtingen-Geislingen

Corresponding author: 
Roman Lenz

The Regionalwert AG (RWAG) was founded in 2006 near Freiburg, southwest Germany, by agriculturalist Christian Hiss. Today, two more RWAGs in Germany can be found, and another two are under construction.
The RWAG was conceptualised as a citizen shareholder corporation in which people could invest in small and medium sized (SME) socio-ecological enterprises in the region, mainly in the agriculture and food sector. Access to land is facilitated for new entrants to farming, and farm succession can be secured, thereby helping to maintain the region’s agriculture and thus its characteristic landscape. But there is much more: the RWAG aims to build up a network of enterprises to establish a sustainable food supply chain and regional added value. Due to organic farming, especially by biodiversity management and soil fertility support, the farmlands are of high nature value.
In this contribution, we show on the basis of three different farm types the values created and maintained, and give a few numbers how to assess and partly monetize them (cf. TEEB, 20..). As indicators we use invested time and money in crop diversity, biotope management, compost fertilization and low intensity tillage.
The RWAG concept has successfully managed to gain the support of regional residents who are now investors. They do this, because they can share responsibility in a transparent as well as value-based participation with farms and food manufactures. It can serve as an inspiration for those interested in helping to foster a sustainable transformation in regional agriculture (addressing ethical financing, public support, economy of solidarity, as well as in creating high nature value farmlands).


Hiss, Christian, 2016: Bäuerliche Landwirtschaft – ein Vorbild für regionale Versorgungswirtschaften? In: Kritischer Agrarbericht 2017 (AbL)
Hiss, Christian, 2014: Regionalwert AG. Mit Bürgeraktien die regionale Ökonomie stärken. Die Agronauten (Editor). Herder Verlag Freiburg, 144 Seiten.
Volz, P. (2011). The Regionalwert AG: Creating sustainable regional structures through citizen participation (, publications download)

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