Here are some news on our exchange week that took place from October 23th to October 30th in Bonn (Germany).
The topic was ‘Agriculture: Changing structures – new ways to success’ and we hope to have planned a diverse program in order to get an idea of this topic in Germany.
Our guests arrived on Sunday from all over Europe. France, Montenegro, Greece, Sweden and the Netherlands were represented.
We started our program on Monday with a visit to the sugar company Pfeifer & Langen in Euskirchen. Their main field of expertise is in the extraction of sugar from sugar beets. We were able to see all the procedures from the arrival of the beets to the end product: Liquid and solid sugar.
Back in Bonn we were given a presentation by a physiotherapist who explained us how our body reacts to food and what you can achieve with different ways of eating. He also went into the different eating habits of the represented countries. In the spirit of a healthy nutrition we had some really good wraps afterwards.
Tuesday began with a visit to the field laboratories from our university called Campus Klein Altendorf. We got a tour around the place, different projects on renewable energies were explained to us and we had a lot of fun during a tractor ride through the research fields. Later we went to the oldest Kölsch brewery in Cologne. After a good look at the factory and the machines we knew the difference between this typical beer and other German beers and rewarded ourselves with a cool Kölsch in the cellar of the brewery.
The first thing to do on Wednesday was to go to the Federal Ministry of Nutrition and Agriculture. We listened to a presentation about their work and the recent struggles they are facing. Afterwards we had a controversial discussion mainly about the question if governments are doing enough to support farmers and promote awareness about the origin of food in society. Next stop on our journey to see how farmers try to face future struggles was at a bio-dynamic Demeter farm. Hearing about this way of farming was a very new experience for most of us and opinions differed a lot.
On Thursday we visited two different kinds of dairy cattle farms. The first one works with two milking robots and the second one is in the transition to become ecological and additionally has a milk station where people can pass by and buy fresh milk from an automat. Before driving back to Bonn we toasted with a cold glass of milk. In the afternoon everyone had to prepare their food for the obligatory trade fair. After getting to know the various traditional foods and drinks from all countries the mood was perfect for some karaoke and we enriched the bar in question with our glorious singing talents.
We started the next day (Friday) visiting the large scale potato farm Gut Neu Hemmerich that is energy self-sufficient. After an introduction to the vivid history of this farm we got insights into their way of cultivating potatoes, sugar beets, barley and other crops as well as into agricultural engineering or plant protection. We closed the tour with a delicious home cooked three course menu. With new strength we went to explore Cologne at day and night.
Saturday we had a long walk through the Wahner Heide – a natural reserve – were we saw a cattle and water buffalo farm. Their ‘task’ is to help keeping the biodiverse area open for seldom plants and animals. It was very interesting to see how agriculture and natural protection work hand in hand. We had a real good time walking through the sunshine and enjoying the nature. And without realising how fast time had passed the last evening had arrived and we used it to show our guests the beauty of Bonn.
Sunday was all about saying goodbye. We are very pleased to have had you here. It was great that everyone took so much interest in our activities – that made it to an awesome exchange week on all levels. We hope you enjoyed the week as much as we did. Looking forward to seeing you on some other IAAS events in the future for more fun, exchange and experiences!
Below you can download our final report in full length with more pictures of the week and including our