Wallowing pigs, grazing cows, pecking hens and a dedicated nature-boy running the farm. TV editors, CEOs and marketing campaigners would just love us to believe this idyllic scenery. In Germany, this concept gains a revival. Generally acknowledged to have disappeared for good this old-fashioned form of agriculture might soon thrive among the monotone landscape of meat factories.
In the past decades hills and grasslands had made way for concrete walls, metal cages and endless halls stuffed with animals eating compound feedingstuffs. Since 2007 the number of small businesses in agriculture fell by more than 20%, whereas the amount of farms of more than 100 ha land increased by about 10 %. Mass production has made meat, eggs and dairy products affordable to everyone.
In Germany, the other side of the coin soon became visible. One food scandal followed the other. Some incidents were highly dangerous such as cheese that was contaminated by Listeria, or spoiled, green meat that was made into sausages. Others were “just” cases of a faulty declaration, like organic eggs that were laid by cage chicken or beef that contained horse meat. Although not threatening to health these incidents awakened the population: people wanted to know and decide on what they eat.
People like family Rauschning. They wonder where the animals grew up, what they ate, how they were treated. Meat out of the supermarket is unacceptable for them. That is why they turned to Bernd Schulz last year for the first time and selected a piglet.
Bernd Schulz is the dedicated nature-boy running his “little farm”, as he calls is business, with a small number of pigs and wide grasslands. When family Rauschning came to him one of his sows had just given birth. In the NDR documentary their son soon found a cute piglet with a black mark on the ear and named it “Dinner.”
In 2010 Bern Schulz wanted a new concept for the farm nearby Berlin that he inherited from his father. “Meat with a mission” is his motto today: each glass of meat, steak or sausage that he produces has a picture and the name of the pig on it. Customers can even follow the life of the animals in an internet blog and see where they are living and what they are eating, like family Rauschning did. They even went to visit Dinner every few weeks. After ten months they had their first Dinner steak, and took home 100kg of meat and sausages.
Last spring Mr Schulz also acquired 100 goslings to provide “Christmas geese with a face” – selling them at 85 €. That is quite a difference to the supermarket price of 25 €.
Family Rauschning might also have a goose for Christmas for the first time – of course only one from Bernd Schulz. For them, the price for the “meat with a mission” is worth it to not risk their health and to show to their son that the idyllic farms in his children’s books do exist in reality.
– NDR Documentary about the Farm, Family Rauschning and “Dinner”