Sustainability as a mind-set
SlowTalk was founded in 2008 by Hugo Skoppek as a result of having been active in sustainability since 1972. He contributed to the organic food industry and fair trade in critical, pioneering functions and is proud of the success of these industries. During those years, Hugo witnessed his fair share of miscommunications in the companies he worked with. This led him to conclude that
real sustainability is less about product and more about the people who make it.
And that requires working towards a common goal.
Hugo also has an interest in communication, which he has pursued more or less actively since his college days. For two years in the 2000s, Hugo was part of an experimental dialogue workshop where he engaged in conversations that were far more meaningful than he had thought was possible. He learned that
it is possible to tap into another layer of communication.
To get there requires empathy for each other, mutual interest, the courage to speak intently, and the willingness to listen attentively.
Years in the field
The insights he gained during the dialogue training helped Hugo recognize that he had intuitively worked in a similar fashion when he assisted farmers on four continents to implement sustainable farming practices. Despite his lack of formal training in agriculture (or maybe because of it), Hugo never gave instructions as a specialist. Instead, he always attempted to work closely with the people in their specific environment. By asking many questions to understand their existing growing practices, he facilitated a process by which the growers were able to come up with solutions that worked for them.
I could have just written “About me”, but that would not have been fair to all the people whom I have met during my lifetime and who have influenced me. To start with there is my family and the generations before us. And the privilege of having grown up in West Germany. I am also grateful to the many inspiring schoolteachers and college professors in my life (and as I get older, to the not so-inspiring teachers as well). And then there are all the other people I have met over the years—some friends, some foes. Or just the occasional stranger. They all taught me a lesson. And then there are all the dead people, aka books; I have been continually inspired by reading.
And I hope that you are inspired, too, as you find out “Who we are”.
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The video below gives you an idea how Hugo conducts his workshops in a relaxed, yet intense atmosphere.