The farm has existed as an agricultural enterprise for about 100 years. In 2003 I decided to get certified as a Bioland organic farm and since 2019 I am the first in Germany whose farm is certified according to the new international cultivation standards of bio-cyclical-vegan cultivation. Bio-cyclical vegan farming is still a fairly young organic certification that shares the advantages of classic organic farming, but goes beyond this by avoiding the problems associated with animal husbandry in terms of the various environmental and sustainability aspects. This is because in order to produce natural products from healthy cycles, an approach is needed that leads from healthy soil to healthy plants to people. Bio-cyclical-vegan cultivation does not only mean not using animal excrements or animal body parts of any kind for fertilisation, but above all closing living material and energy cycles, which is expressed by the term "bio-cyclical" (bios (gr.) = life, kyklos (gr.) = cycle).
For example, the farm no longer uses the usual fertilisers made from horn, hair or blood meal pellets, which come from factory farms and could contain antibiotic residues or be contaminated with germs. Instead, purely vegetable compost, underprocessed green waste or vegetable fertiliser is used to ensure soil fertility on the farm. On the farm, we use organic compost from the composting plant about 5 km away, organic algae pellets from France that are washed up on the beach there, organic fertiliser from German sugar beet molasses, organic fertiliser from German malt sprouts, a "waste product" from brewing beer, and organic fertiliser from Austrian potato peels. This ensures an optimal nutritional basis for our many soil organisms and microorganisms on the farm. However, organic-vegan cultivation is not only about life in the soil, but also above the soil. Therefore, in addition to flowering strips, other plants such as honeysuckle, roses or nettles also grow in the apple orchards in order to offer insects a greater variety and thus attract many beneficial insects. These help to create a natural balance and keep pests at bay, which in turn serves as preventive plant protection.
Our cultivation area is about 18 ha and is located at the beautiful Lake Constance near Ravensburg. The region around Ravensburg is heavily populated and characterised by apple growing. On my farm we don't have to irrigate artificially because we have enough rainfall and we can also make better use of the soil's water storage capacity by deliberately building up humus. The trees grow up to four metres high on our farm so that we can make the best use of the space. We remove weeds mechanically. Our farm has also been listed as a successful example of agriculture for more biodiversity by the Federal Ministry for the Environment and Nature Conservation.
Besides apple trees, we also have plums, grapes and walnuts on our farm. We promote biodiversity and have always planted other crops between the apples. We also allow flowers to bloom between the rows. So not only insects feel at home with us, but also other wild animals, such as deer, which like to hang out in our rows. Some deer even retreat to our farm to give birth to their offspring in order to be undisturbed.
We generate electricity on the roofs of our farm buildings, which we feed into the grid or use for our electric cars.
The guidelines for organic vegan cultivation also include comprehensive social standards and respectful and fair treatment of all our employees is very important to us. At harvest time, 2 families with up to 15 people from north-eastern Poland have been supporting us for over 20 years. Accommodation is very important to us. Therefore, during harvest time we provide our friendly holiday flats, with washing facilities and fast internet connection. The German minimum wage of 12 EUR/h applies on our farm.
If there are leftovers after the harvest, we recycle them into vinegar or schnapps or they are composted.