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Solidarity agriculture: a model for the future
The idea is simple. In view of the quasi-global supermarket, where everything is available at all times, the question for many people is how ecological and sustainable agriculture can exist or be preserved. They want healthy, fresh food that, if possible, comes from the region and organically grown. Quite a few people now get their food from so-called farm communities.
Specifically, it is a merger of an agricultural enterprise with a group of private households. This is how the organic farmer Christoph Simpfendörfer from Stuttgart also practices it. Whether carrots or chard. Around 40 different types of vegetables grow in his fields.
500 people can benefit "We could easily feed 500 people with it," explains the 55-year-old. The “Reyerhof” was one of the first companies in the southwest of the region to take up and implement the idea of “solidarity agriculture”. After rotten meat scandals, mold maize and dioxin eggs, a lot of people preferred to buy vegetables and meat directly from organic farmers instead of shopping in the supermarket for a year. The whole thing is coordinated through the “Solidarity Agriculture” network (Solawi).
Since 2009, the number of farms has more than quadrupled, says coordinator Stephanie Wild. The network now includes 43 solidarity courts and 50 initiatives nationwide. In this model, the members undertake to buy vegetables, fruits or meat from a particular farmer for one year. These are always seasonal fruits and vegetables. Of course, this also means that there are no apples in the boxes in March.
For the respective farmer, the contributions paid, which are usually between 25 and 100 euros, provide a secure income and protect him from crop failures or price fluctuations.
"Many people want to know how their food is made again," says Martin Schäfer from the Working Group for Farming Agriculture (AbL) in the southwest. Christian Eichert, Managing Director of Bioland Baden-Württemberg also sees a "trend back to nature". The customers pull themselves through all layers. From the student flat share to the retired couple. 90 members currently belong to the “Solawie”. The members receive fresh, life-giving food. But it is also important to many that they know where and how the food is grown.
In the future, Simpfendörfer's offer should also include milk, meat and eggs. Solawi members are concerned with environmentally friendly, short transport routes and to avoid that food is thrown away. "We see ourselves as a political movement," emphasizes Wild. The question also arises as to how ecological is “eco” when organic apples from New Zealand or organic potatoes from Chile are imported. Whenever possible, healthy, fresh food should come from the region and be grown organically so that it really deserves the "eco" seal. (fr)
Image: Susanne Schmich / pixelio.de