Wie ernähre ich mich richtig?

My name is Hardy Krüger Junior.
You may know me as an actor. Last year I turned 50,
and I’m not sure whether it’s because of my job or if it’s the same for
everyone, but I don’t feel like I’m 50. Nowadays it isn’t just actors have to
constantly reinvent themselves, and that’s why maybe not all of us
“grow up normally” the way we did in the past… I travel a lot, but by the time
I get home to Berlin at the latest, I’m a regular family man: I go grocery shopping, and as a trained chef
I love to cook for my family. Nothing strengthens the bonds of a family
like a meal together. My family is sacred to me – I’m old-fashioned that way. And then there’s the outside world, which I’m gradually starting to worry about. What’s going on with our farmers? Why are they jeopardizing the Earth’s climate? Why are they endangering biodiversity? And ultimately half the planetis starving anyway? What can we still eat with a good conscience? I want to finally get to the bottom of these questions. The Landgrabental landscape preservation area
in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. This region between the city of Neubrandenburg
and the island of Usedom is characterized by fertile soils that are good for
winter wheat, winter canola and winter barley, as well as sugar beet and corn. In Zinzow I meet Marco Gemballa, who is one of the region’s biggest farmers with 580 hectares of farmland. Despite the size of his farm, the area looks idyllic – or as the farmer says, “small-structured.” His parents bred hogs. He prefers field crops, which he tells me
are sold on the world market. Ultimately I don’t care how much money
I make with my farm. What’s important to me is is to achieve an income that allows me to keep the farm running and feed my family. It sounds as if Gemballa is in it for the money,
even though he doesn’t really look like that. And the longer we talk, the more my
preconception of him dissipates. He says his job involves a constant struggle
with changing circumstances. Through the size of his farm, he is attempting to gain an
advantage against a nature that can often be merciless. Everything looks quite dry. You said you got the harvest in earlier. Yes, we’re about 14 days earlier this year
than in a normal year. The reason is simply that we didn’t haven early enough precipitation in April, May and June of this year, and the temperatures were far too high
especially in June and July. The average temperatures were more than
four degrees higher than normal. The result is that the wheat ears are relatively small,
as you can see. They only have eight sections.
Normally there would be ten. The kernels are contained in each section. Look at these ones – they are very small. These frail kernels are so small
that the don’t have decent endosperm. Without decent endosperm I can’t produce
decent bread or decent flour. The endosperm contains energy and protein,
and such poor-quality endosperm endosperm isn’t well suited for animal feed either. In other words, it contains fewer nutrients? That’s right – less energy content and less protein. What will you do with it? Ultimately I’ll sell it at a low price and a corresponding discount. This means I’ll only get 150 euros per ton of this wheat, rather than 170 or 180. As the yield is already reduced and the quality is poor
on top of that, the loss piles up. The last few summers were very hot.
I remember that clearly. Yet Gemballa has to pay attention to other things: the societal framework conditions – in other words the laws and regulations – are just as critical to his survival as the weather. As a farmer, he has to find the right answers
to those challenges as well. Gemballa has allowed this field to become overgrown for a joint research project with the Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union of Germany. You can really smell it. The fennel? Yes. You can make really good fennel tea with this stuff. Here we’re basically conducting a
scientific study to determine what measures can be undertaken
to positively impact biodiversity in intensively farmed areas. We’re studying how we can have
a positive impact on birds such as the whinchat and the northern lapwing, as well as on hares, wild bees, bumblebees and other wildlife wildlife compared with the adjacent corn field. We clearly have problems with biodiversity. What are these problems? It is evident that species are declining. Where I’m making a living on a hectare of wheat or canola, a blossoming plant will obviously have
quite a difficult time because it creates competition
for nutrition for us as farmers. It goes without saying that we want to cultivate
wheat in a way that conserves natural resources. That in turn is disruptive to certain species that lived on this land but don’t live in the wheat field. That is the explicit purpose of this scientific project, which is currently determining the foundations
that can be established in agricultural practice while taking costs into account. By now you’ve noticed how tight the budgets
are in farming operations, including ours. Ultimately the question is how to pay for it. You can’t unload all the challenges facing society
on the farmers and expect us to solve them. The market currently doesn’t allow for that. I doubt John Q. Public is aware of all this. But now I know it. Or at least I’ve heard it from Gemballa: it’s about money. Biodiversity is expensive, and the world market doesn’t want to have to pay for nature conservation in Germany. But maybe the world market is the wrong approach. Isn’t organic farming that produces regional products and markets them locally the solution to Gemballa’s dilemma? Why did you choose this approach rather than organic crops? What was your motivation here? Ultimately we have to grow a product
we can sell on the market. So far the market for organic products is limited. Of course, if everyone in Europe
were to switch to organic farming, we’d only produce about half as much food
on the same amount of farmland. This raises the question where the food
is supposed to come from? My visit to Marco Gemballa’s farm has come to an end. I’ve met a sincere and serious man who contributes
in Germany to the world’s food production. His numbers sound unbelievable to me: half the yield of wheat per hectare, for example, would be lost for the world’s food supply the moment farmers switched to organic products? In other words, twice the amount of farmland would be needed to nonetheless produce the same amount? Where is this additional land supposed to come from,
in Germany or anywhere else in the world? The Kreppold organic farm is located
less than 20 kilometers from Augburg. It is one of the isolated farms scattered around the outskirts of the town of Sielenbach. Stephan Kreppold has worked about 78 hectares
of farmland and 22 hectares of grassland
here since the 1980s. The focus is on grains for baking,
such as wheat, rye, spelt and oats. The products are marketed through
regional mills, bakeries and the farm itself. The setting is idyllic. Weeds are controlled with mechanical solutions
rather than chemicals. And Farmer Kreppold tells me
that weeds aren’t called weeds. These are the machines that are now used every day? That’s right, we use these three machines exclusively
to regulate mulch plants through mechanical means.
We don’t call them weeds. Why not? Because every little plant has a function
in an intact natural cycle. In other words they each have their justification.
So it would be an insult to call them weeds. At least among organic farmers, we usually use the word mulch plants unless we’re tripping over them. Obviously, Kreppold forfeits a certain amount of yield
on his farmland due to this appreciation
for competing plants. Yet efficiency isn’t so important to him because as an organic farmer, his customers aren’t spread around the world,
but rather in his front yard. He regards farming as culture, and tries
to process this approach in his art. He gets a good deal of assistance from the
Bavarian government, which he reveals has
strongly supported him. It is correct that conventional farming is more intensive and thus produces higher yields. These higher yields are achieved with the use of fertilizers and crop protection products. Of course, an organic farmer has to give a lot of
thought to which planting, cultivation, tillage
and crop rotation methods he can deploy in a way that saves water. This is a completely new challenge that has become very relevant over the past five to eight years. Do you receive support from the government in the form of subsidies? What’s the situation here? Yes, it is correct to say that we receive
a satisfactory amount of additional funding
each year to maintain organic farming here in Bavaria. Such crop landscape programs exist in all states of Germany, albeit with varying levels of support. In Bavaria, an organic farmer receives
270 euros per hectare each year on top of the direct payments that every farmer gets in direct payments from the E.U. That means the public subsidies an organic farmer currently receives comprise about 50 percent of his overall income. What Kreppold casually tells me shakes my worldview: half of each kilogram of grain for organic bread is funded by taxpayers? Even though these products today
are virtually unaffordable for some people
even in an affluent country like Germany, Kreppold doesn’t see this as a problem. He sees organic farming as the way of the future; in his view, people have to change their diet. In my opinion, the reason why this organic shopping basket is so expensive is because of our current dietary habits. In Germany we eat 60 kilograms of meat per year. And everyone knows that organic meat prices
are between 100 and 300 percent higher
particularly for pork and poultry. The additional expense would decline significantly
if you were to fill the shopping basket
with more plant-based products. Nevertheless, we can’t tell people what to eat. I believe this unspeakable meat consumption
is untenable over the long term anyway
because the planet can’t support it. Some 60 percent of farmland is used to produce feed for pigs, cattle and poultry, even though farmers know that this represents calorific waste of 1 to 3 or 1 to 10. That’s why in the developed countries, a debate should indeed take place as regards a shift in dietary habits. The German nutritional society DGE and many other experts point out that it is essential we cut our meat consumption in half. This is a major societal debate that we must engage in. I leave southern Germany and Farmer Kreppold
with many new impressions and questions. What to make of his assertion that the problem of feeding a growing world population with sustainable food can be solved
by changing our diet? Through some research on the internet, I come across
a group of scientists – one of them from Oxford. In the heart of southern England, at one of the world’s best and most prestigious universities, new dietary rules have indeed been formulated
for the entire world’s population: they are collectively known as the Planetary Health Diet. This list of rules takes into account not just individual health, but also nature and the climate. When we look at the food production system,
we can see that is responsible for about
one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions. That factor hasn’t been discussed much so far. Many people talk about the energy system, about shutting down our power plants and increasing the production of renewable energies. But even if we were to switch over all our
energy production, we would still have
the emissions produced by the food system. We asked ourselves what kind of diet could be
practiced by virtually everyone in the world, would also be healthy and enable the consumption of resources to be kept within planetary boundaries. What we found was that a healthy diet is one that is quite rich in plant-based products and in which animal products are only
used occasionally but are not essential. According to this diet, people shouldn’t eat
red meat more frequently than once a week. Red meat in this case means beef, lamb or pork. Chicken no more often than twice a week,
fish no more often than twice a week, and then two days a week basically vegetarian and vegan. For vegetarians, no more than one glass of milk per day or one to two pieces of cheese. And then we looked at these various diets to determine their environmental impact. What we found was that a relatively healthy, plant-based diet limits the consumption of resources and enables us to remain within planetary limits when applied in combination with technical measures and reduced food waste. I say goodbye to Springmann the scientist with the sense that it is possible, at least theoretically. Climate change and the destruction of land, water and biodiversity can be stopped while at the same time feeding the
world population in a healthy way. In order to achieve this, however,
we have to fundamentally change
the dietary habits of several billion people. And if possible, this has be achieved
within only a few years. I ask myself how this can be done and set out for Switzerland – or to be more precise, to Zurich, where Manuel Klarmann and his team are based. Klarmann and his colleagues believe that what has worked at Ebay, Uber and Airbnb – completely reshaping an entire area of life using an app – can also be applied to sustainable nutrition. Their goal is to make the theory on the right way to eat a reality worldwide through their “Eaternity” app. This app compiles the ecological footprints
of all existing food worldwide and
makes them easily accessible. Basically the idea is that we provide the most accurate possible CO2 footprint for food products not just to consumers, but also restaurants. Does this mean the cook in a restaurant
also puts together sustainable menus? Exactly, I can show you how it works. Here the cook can simply list his ingredients
as contained in the recipe – in this case two pieces
of chicken breast, two sprigs of rosemary, honey, water,
and everything else in the recipe. In the background it is determined where the food comes from if that information isn’t provided. The import statistics are used to calculate all the routes, how it is packaged, how it is processed, is it in season, was a greenhouse heated, was an airplane required to transport it, and then all that information is added up and a CO2 number is produced. I’m impressed with the app’s performance.
Klarmann says 170 cooks are already using it. Here I have the CO2 balance of various foods.
What have you eaten today? Pasta. Simultaneously. Simultaneously. Wow! This is beef, but it doesn’t stop there.
Here you have bread, and here you have pork. 0.9 and 15.4, wow. Interesting, the bananas are still relatively light.
Here’s the cheese. Cheese… so much? Yes, because it comes from a cow. Klarmann says we’ve gotten the ball rolling. It seems to me that things are proceeding a bit too slowly in view of the challenges facing humankind. What happens if everything takes too long? Back home I call the scientist Tim Searchinger,
a researcher at Princeton University
in the U.S. state of New Jersey. He is the main author of a report by the World Resources Institute on feeding the world population in 2050. It was jointly published by the World Bank,
the United Nations and others. What would the world look like if we try to produce all the food we need in 2050? With today’s farms we have to expand
agriculture by 3 billion hectares of land. How big is three billion hectares? That’s about four times the continental United States. What is your suggestion? How can we really get
the people to really change their habits? Well, remember in terms of personal behavior
that we have a relatively modest recommendation, which is eat less beef. Another behavioral change is to try
to reduce food waste. But most of the changes
are for farmers to do and for governments to do. He says that the agricultural industry and politicians must exert influence if we are to overcome the challenges we are facing. Sounds easy enough. But I have to ask him
what exactly he means by that. So one of the reasons we’ve been able to increase our output per hectare has been through scientific improvements in seeds. That’s been critical for a long time
but in particular over the last 50 years. Not only do we have to continue doing that and
making those improvements, we have to do better. One of the big opportunities is that we’ve made such huge progress in molecular biology which means that we should be spending a lot more money on our crop breading because we have big new opportunities and even bigger need. In other words, genetic engineering
has to solve the problem! My opinion is probably similar to many other people’s – I’d rather not have to deal with that at all. Granted, I certainly see that it can offer advantages,
but I don’t quite feel comfortable with it. Maybe that’s partly due to all the reporting
that paints this technology in a negative light. So I travel to Monheim in the Rhineland
to meet up with Liam Condon. A member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG, he’s responsible for the company’s agriculture business, which is the world market leader –
thanks to genetic engineering. The biggest problem is indeed that we will have
to produce more food but have only
limited natural resources. So the big question is how to produce more food without burdening the environment and the planet. In my view, that’s the biggest challenge of them all. Have you come up with a specific plan to achieve this? We firmly believe it’s possible to feed a population of
10 billion people with the farmland we currently have
at our disposal. We think that’s possible, but not with today’s agriculture. It’s only possible with tomorrow’s agriculture. Today’s farming is too resource-intensive. In my opinion, we use too much land, too much fertilizer, too many pesticides and too much water. We have to reduce this consumption. Bayer wants to become 30 percent more sustainable,
he tells me. To achieve this, the company is investing in ultra-modern technologies and various approaches: biological methods, efficient chemistry and genetic engineering wherever it makes sense in Bayer’s view. Here we deal with insect research. This laboratory is among the most modern
facilities that exist in this research field. We can simulate any region of the world
in terms of the climate conditions. Any region? As a result, we can basically breed any kind of plant
and see what pests affect it. Then we can try out various substances to figure out what is effective against this specific pest without harming the plant or other insects. That’s basically the goal of the research
being conducted here. What’s your personal goal? What do you see as the biggest challenge you and Bayer are facing here? Ultimately our objective is to make
farming better and more sustainable. Certainly we can’t do that by ourselves,
but we can make a substantial contribution. Personally I think there is far too much polarization here. Some people think organic farming is the only solution. Others swear by conventional farming
or biotech and GMOs. In practice I think all of these systems
can learn from one another. We must work together to create a new and better system, because none of the existing systems are ideal. That should be our goal. He explains that digitalization is extremely
important in this connection. I’d like him to tell me what exactly he means
by digitalization in farming. Digitalization is actually about data processing.
There are many data sources on a farm. For example, we can now use satellite images to tell when part of a field is infected with a disease. Then a recommendation can be made:
you have to spray this part of the field,
but only this part and in a very targeted manner. In other words, you don’t have to spray the whole field, which is a good example of how digitalization also promotes sustainability. I say goodbye to Liam and am surprised
he didn’t more heavily promote one technology. The data situation and social acceptance seem to be far more important for decisions made in Monheim. The acceptance and perceptions of society about what the agricultural industry should provide are ultimately taken up by politicians. I travel to Osnabrück to meet with Rainer Spiering,
who is the Social Democratic Party’s spokesman
for agricultural policy in German parliament. He believes politics play a global role with regard to nutrition and farming: We really can initiate change processes
through regulation. We want to clean up our water and our air,
and we want to make our soil an asset that
also provides future generations with food. That requires statutory changes. In that regard we are actually making progress with very dramatic effects. But it’s a problem that requires a global solution.
For that you need a strong player. Only Europe can be that strong player.
Here it is essential that we speak with one voice. Absolutely essential. According to Spiering, the biggest challenges can be resolved through modern technologies. My goal, which is heavily supported by my party, is to introduce a digital farming platform in Germany that is effective throughout Europe. This platform must encompass all the modern technologies we currently have at our disposal
as well as those we are still developing. In my opinion, Germany’s agricultural machinery is among the most modern in the world. Through this interplay of forces, we can protect our soil, water and air while creating well-paying jobs. I leave Osnabrück, the final station of my journey. I got the opportunity to meet people with different perspectives who all have one thing in common: their highest priority is to protect nature, the climate and biodiversity while feeding the growing world population. Yet none of them can solve the challenges of feeding our growing world population on their own. The whole thing simply seems too complex. The journey has left its mark on me. Above all I have a new appreciation for the
good food we take for granted every day. I am certain that my family and I will now reduce our consumption and be more aware of what we consume. Because that’s a contribution that immediately helps
to reduce the burden on nature. After all of this, I still have one question: am I a rare exception because I spoke with these very different people without preconceptions? Wouldn’t it be a big step in the right direction if this happened more often? Questions that maybe only the actor
Hardy Krüger Junior asks following his journey.

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One thought on “Wie ernähre ich mich richtig?

  1. Schöne sachliche und neutrale Darstellung der Situation mit nur leicht erhobenem Zeigefinger, regt zum Nachdenken an! Interessante Interviewpartner.

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