Sofie Vanthournout - Director of Voedselteams

Belgium, Voedselteams

Sofie Vanthournout is the director of Voedselteams, a Flemish NGO that connects and activates consumers and farmers, to co-create a new food supply system that is honest, healthy and sustainable from seed to plate. She was trained as a botanist and has a background in molecular biology research. She has over 10 years of experience in the fields of science-policy dialogue and public engagement, trying to bridge the gap between researchers, policy makers and the public. Between 2008 and 2016 she managed the international relations of the Royal Belgian Academies. In 2010, she launched a Brussels office for the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC), an organization that gives independent scientific advice for EU policy. In 2014, she temporarily joined the team of Anne Glover, then chief scientific adviser of the European commission. In 2016, she started a European branch for Sense about Science, a British NGO that promotes public engagement.

Throughout the years, Sofie became more and more concerned about the wicked problem of food production and the entrenched polarisation in this field. The top-down approach seems to be failing, which inspired her recent career switch to an organisation that is tackling this problem from the bottom up.