Organic farmers: World-foreign idealists?
Lots of nature, little chemistry - so far, organic farmers have been considered as world-foreign idealists. While conventional farmers are primarily concerned with maximizing agricultural yields in order to earn profits, organic farmers have a different goal: sustainability.
In organic or organic agriculture, the use of resources takes into account the material and natural cycle in the foreground. By resorting to natural regulatory mechanisms, the replacement of natural with artificial capital should largely be prevented or reversed. Detailed guidelines guarantee the implementation of the principles and set minimum standards for the production and processing of organic products.
The core idea of organic farming
The original core ideas of organic farming are the idea of self-sufficiency and the preservation of peasant traditions: Many think that organic farmers are people who heat with firewood, drink spring water and grow their own needs only for those who also sell food.
But the image of the classic self-sufficient, living only from hand to mouth, is no longer true: Organic farmers have long been earning the same profits as their conventional counterparts. This is proven by a Europe-wide study by the Braunschweig Federal Agricultural Research Center. Because a lot of organic farmers now market their work very cleverly: whether you sell your harvest in direct sales or even offer agritourism.
What distinguishes organic farmers from normal farmers?
At the same time, organic farmers are first and foremost farmers like everyone else: taking into account climatic conditions, they largely decide for themselves whether and which animals they keep and which crops they grow. It produces a variety of vegetable products such as cereals, pulses, potatoes, including vegetables, hops and herbs.
In addition, organic farmers look after farm animals such as cows, pigs, sheep or chickens. The animals have to be taken care of every day of the year. Very early work and work in any weather - even on weekends - are typical. Especially at the harvest, when animals are ill or in animal births farmers do extra work.
By hand or machine?
However, organic farmers do not do everything by hand, but also use agricultural machinery and equipment that they have to maintain and repair. Proofs and bookkeeping as well as billing are done as with other entrepreneurs on modern computers.
The difference to conventional farmers is that organic farmers pay particular attention to animal welfare. The animals are fed as far as possible with feed from their own organic farm.
Energy efficient and with environmental standards
In addition, an organic farmer fertilizes under no circumstances with slightly soluble mineral fertilizers, but with nitrogenous plants (legumes), which are plowed in as green manure, with processed manure and with highly diluted manure and with compost. This results in energy savings between 20 and 60 percent, which results in 40 emitting up to 60 percent less carbon dioxide (CO2).
In addition, organic farmers also ensure the preservation of the environment: they fight weeds only in a natural way, tear it z. B. by hand, chop it with the Hackhäufler or kill weed seedlings with a flame. Organic farmers use organic material such as nettle manure, tansy extracts as pesticides for crop protection. They also carry out forestry work, planting hedges between the fields, providing shelter for birds and other beneficial animals and avoiding wind erosion.
In order to work in harmony with nature, they plan the crop rotation exactly (multi-field economy). In the earliest five years, the same plant species will be grown again in the same field. Wild animals find in the ecologically managed fields more favorable living conditions and also rare field herbs are often found here.
Latest scientific findings
In addition, organic farmers use the latest scientific knowledge, because they need to know a lot about the nature of the soil, the plants and the animals and also know the impact of ecosystems. Then they stop working and have to constantly think about it. Only then can they act in harmony with nature.
The Federal Association of Natural Foods Natural Products (BNN) Production and Trade e. V. represents the interests of the organic food industry on a political and economic level, participates in the design of international and national legislative projects and adopts quality guidelines for the organic food trade.
Environmentally and socially acceptable travel on the rise
Organic farmers are also proving themselves in favor of the trend towards environmentally and socially responsible travel. Because in this market, a new worldwide luxury travel has expanded, which combines exclusivity, special nature experiences, education and eco-responsibility.
Even Mallorca, the symbol of cheap and package tourism, has long since recognized the signs of the times and, with appropriate measures, endeavors to establish the island as an increasingly exclusive destination. By the way: futurologist Eike Wenzel has already said that in this interview.
Green organizer with updraft
The forum anders Reisen eV is an association of around 130 tour operators who are committed to sustainable tourism. And it reports:
With 11% average turnoverplus, the green organizers were clearly above the average of the rest of the industry. According to an analysis published by the tourism specialist magazine fvw published in December, 2010 is only 10% for organizers of comparable size (<1,2 million euro).
Hiking as a traveling companion
The desire for social compatibility and sustainability, however, entails even more trends: more and more people want to experience country, people and nature directly - for example on foot. And to find yourself. TV comedian Harpe Kerkeling has done it.
Wanderlustige today can choose from a wide range of hiking and nature tours with more or less spiritual content: From the pilgrimage trip to Assisi about the Hermitage on time in Sinai to participation in spiritual rituals of the Hopi Indians.
Get to know the country and its people
The EcoCamp in Patagonia, Chile, rekindles the nomadic tradition of the indigenous peoples: the focus is on daily excursions that introduce to the customs, diets etc. of the nomads.
The Navajo Indians in the US offer numerous tours to special destinations, such as the 300 meter high monoliths or the former cave dwellings of the Anasazi Indians.
Regional customs and customs
But there is also a number more tranquil: close to Forcalquier in the French Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, the Priory of Salagon and its gardens invite you to relax with around 2000 plant species. The complex now houses the Ethnobotanical Museum of the High Provency.
His goal is to reconstruct and preserve the historical flora of the region. The garden of fragrances, for example, attracts with all kinds of flavors and a tour of the medieval garden demonstrates how our flora looked before the discovery of America. A special feature is the garden with plants of high Provence: To create it, they took advantage of the knowledge of the local population (see photo).
Working instead of lounging
But would you prefer to be active? There are also travel deals that are a mix of volunteer and leisure activities. Such trips are no longer offered only by dedicated NGOs and NPOs, but also by commercially operating travel providers, such as the English tour operator i-to-i or the major supplier TUI.
The Verein Freiwillige Arbeitsseinsätze in Südtirol arranges volunteer helpers for South Tyrolean mountain farmers who have fallen into need. The missions are agreed individually. Minimum duration: one week. Except the arrival no costs.
Wine, woman and song?
Harvest workers in viticulture are almost a tradition. In any case, tourism providers throughout Germany are beginning to create extensive packages to tackle the drudgery in the vineyard.
In Wingert Saale-Unstrut in eastern Germany, the wineWellnessWeekend in the Tuscany spa in Bad Sulza. The next day the harvest starts after a champagne breakfast. The bathhouse Bad Bibra finally rewards the weekend wine growers with a massage.
The holistic organic journey
If that's too eventful for you then: Demeter Travel also offers a lump-sum organic holiday. As a rule, a Demeter cook, who not only cooks biodynamically, but also gives food and cooking tips to the participants, usually comes with them on their travels.
In addition, an ecologically guided farm is visited on every trip. The accommodations are of course family-run, the groups limited to a maximum of 20 participants.
Prerequisites, education and training
Even if you do not have to fulfill any formal requirements in order to become an organic farmer: A solid education is necessary for successful work in agriculture. Either you make a three-year apprenticeship a farmer. In organic farms you also learn the special requirements of organic farming.
Or one chooses the more scientific way and studies at a university or college. There are several degree programs there, some of which specialize in organic farming. In both Austria and Switzerland organic farming is a state-recognized additional qualification of the farmer profession. Further information is available from the German Farmers Association.
Formalities at the start-up in brief
In order to become self-employed as an organic farmer, you need your own farm. Also, you must register a trade in the municipality / city administration where you will have your office or business premises. Responsible here is the public order office, some local governments also have their own commercial office. The registration of your business can be done in person or in writing.
The registration fee is one time from 15 to 50 Euro (varies from municipality to municipality). Traders must pay starting from a profit of 24.500 euro in the year trade tax, starting from a conversion of 500.000 euro in the yearly or 50.000 euro profit balance sheets and become immediately obligated member of the IHK. The trade or regulatory office forwards the business registration to other offices such as the tax office, the or the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the register court and the professional association.
Since the entry into force of the EC Organic Regulation 1991, organic farmers must at least operate and produce according to these recognized ecological guidelines. Interesting for founders is also the federal program Organic Farming (BÖL) of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV) to support organic farming (http://www.bundesprogramm-oekolandbau.de)
The organic food market is one of the few growth segments in the German food market with an annual increase of 1-5 percent. As the demand for organically grown produce will increase, but at the same time the profession requires a considerable amount of effort, expertise and idealism, resulting in a relaxed competitive environment, the odds are good.
Many organic farmers have joined together in various cultivation associations as in the Federal Republic of Germany z. B. Bioland, Demeter, Naturland, Gäa e. V. or Biopark, which additionally guarantees product safety to consumers through their more stringent regulations and controls compared to EU legislation. In Switzerland, Bio Suisse is the largest cultivation association, in Austria Bio Austria.
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