Organic Hall: ‘More space for life’
Mobile chicken sheds, a bicycle mill and worm display box all show just how organic farming can be
Berlin, 21 November 2014 – The market for organic food continues to grow. For consumers it is becoming increasingly important that cereals, fruit and vegetables are produced without the use of genetic engineering, easily soluble mineral fertilisers or synthetic, chemical pesticides, and that livestock is kept in a humane way. From 16 to 25 January at the International Green Week Berlin visitors to the organic display in Hall 1.2 b, known as the Organic Hall, can sample all kinds of ecologically produced items, under the slogan ‘More space for life’, and can also learn about humane chicken farming, the structure of our soils and much more besides.
Economical and steadily increasing in area
According to surveys by the organisation representing organic production, the Ecological Food Industry Federation (BÖLW), sales of organic food and beverages in Germany increased by 7.2 per cent in 2013. This corresponds to a total market volume of 7.55 billion euros. By way of comparison: sales of organic food products in 2012 had an overall value of 7.04 billion euros.
In 2013 the area devoted to organic production also increased, by 2 per cent, or more than 25,000 hectares, compared with 2012, and now totals 1,060,669 hectares. Over the same period the number of organic producers rose to a total of 23,271, 239 more than in 2012, and there is a particular demand by consumers for organic potatoes, yoghurt, vegetables and milk. Organically grown fruit is also taking up more space in the nation’s shopping baskets: There was a massive twenty per cent rise in expenditure on organic fruit in 2013 compared with the previous year, with organically grown bananas being the most popular item. Currently 14 per cent of all eggs are obtained from hens farmed organically.
Experimenting with soil
The organic association Bioland has an activities area measuring 48 square metres, which is devoted to the subject of ‘Organic Soils’. After enjoying themselves clambering up the large wall of boulders, children and young people can take samples and examine three different types of soil on which various cultivated plants are growing. Simple experiments can be conducted, under expert supervision, for example, to determine the quality of the soil. Pigments, from which dyes are obtained can also be filtered from the soil. Young visitors can also take part in experiments involving animals, with a mole table and a display cabinet containing worms to explain the importance of these creatures for the soil.
Cows with and without horns
Cows with horns are now rarely seen on farms, but the cattle raised by farmers who adhere to the anthroposophical rules of the Demeter cultivation association have retained their horns. According to the strict Demeter directives, horned breeds have to be used for milk production, because horns are an essential feature of ruminants. As both a sensory and a social organ they are very important for the animals and also play a vital metabolic role. Therefore, allowing cows to retain their horns is a sign of respect, as the Demeter farmers in Hall 1.2b will be explaining.
Mobile chickens and Frieda the chick, serving as an example
Bioland e.V. is presenting a mobile chicken shed of the kind that is now being used on farms. A one hundred square metre area has been set aside to explain the principles of raising and keeping chickens organically. This is an ideal opportunity to see how chickens are farmed humanely. Visitors can see for themselves what constitutes humane livestock husbandry and how the hens are transported in mobile sheds to provide them with plenty of space for pecking and scratching the ground. The feature ‘A journey of discovery with the Bioland chick Frieda’ is intended specially for children. How the chick Frieda becomes a hen and how she produces eggs are explained, step by step, by chicken experts on the Bioland farmyard.
Bicycle mill and corn grinder
There is plenty to experience on the Biokreis e.V. activity area. A number of different types of cereals will be available for visitors to handle and smell. A bicycle-powered mill driving a corn grinder can be used by visitors attending the Green Week to turn grain into flour or oats into oat flakes.
BIO COMPANY makes its debut
The Berlin-based BIO COMPANY and its regional partners from Berlin and Brandenburg are exhibiting at the Green Week for the first time. The main focus is on the collaboration between agriculture, processors and the trade to ensure that customers have access to a wide range of regional organic products at reasonable prices. The displays on the Exhibition Grounds will include an artisanal dairy, and visitors can also meet with farmers from the Spreewald district, talk to bakers from Berlin, and watch butchers from the Havelland region at work. BIO COMPANY has developed a game for families specially for the Green Week, entitled ‘From field to plate’, enabling young and old alike to re-enact and experience the various stages in the production and supply of regional products.
BÖLN presents its programme on the stage
The main exhibitor in the Organic Hall is the National Programme for Ecological Cultivation and Other Forms of Sustainable Agriculture (BÖLN), with some fascinating information, activities and food samples. There is a particular emphasis on regional aspects. There will also be opportunities to meet farmers from the Network of Pilot Projects for Ecological Farming and examine their produce.
The live programme of the Organic Stage will feature a wide range of organic topics. In addition to regional specialities as well as wine and cheese tasting, there will also be advice from the leading organic chef Dr. Harald Hoppe about how to prepare delicious smoothies.
The ‘Regional Shopping Tour’ will enable visitors to sample regionally produced organic foods and to experience particular features of local production. There is a growing trend for making and doing things for oneself, in the kitchen and in one’s own garden, and some suitable, and exciting examples can be seen on the stage.
Each morning there will be a chance for school parties to get involved in the activity by the name of ‘Breakfast break – fit for the day’, where pupils and their teachers can find out why a healthy breakfast provides the necessary energy for minds and bodies. The varied programme is rounded off by some fascinating presentations and talks with prominent politicians, exhibitors, experts, school parties and the presenter Sylvia Acksteiner.
The new ‘National Ecological Cultivation Competition’ takes the place of the previous ‘Prize for Ecological Cultivation’, and acknowledges innovative achievements that have proved their practical value, as well as particularly sustainable concepts that have been applied throughout an entire business. The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture will be staging a ceremony on 22 January 2015, the Ecological Cultivation Day, to honour the winning businesses.
For additional information:
Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft e.V. (BÖLW)
Joyce Moewius, +49 (0)30 28482 307, firstname.lastname@example.org