Its a wonderful Wednesday morning as early as 8:45am we already gather to take off to Gemüsewerft ( Urban Agriculture) We met Micheal who is the CEO of Gemüsewerft. He welcomes us and talk about his company where they grow vegetables in boxes. They are owning more than 1000 boxes where they plant hop or salat and vegetables in general. Normally farmers work with 20 to 80 ha land but Michaels business owns 0,8 ha divided in several boxes. Also most bigger farmers are using artificial methods for productions. The Gemüsewerft only uses natural environnement and grows only bio-products. Therefore they only grew saisonal vegetables. They are not depending on big companies telling them what and when to grow. Gemüsewerft is working together with one restaurant in Bremen. There is one cook working. Michael loved to describe how they used to send the vegetables to the cook every morning. Michael said the cook looks every morning at the harvest of the last day and decides what to prepare out of it. Usually cooks call farms and order the ingredients they need. Not this procedure! Gemüsewerft is harvesting when it’s the right time for the plant and not for any cooks or companies.
We learned that Germany produces 70% of the worldwide hop and to supply for one family with 4 people you need 1000 square meters. Michael explained to us that in almost every german city is a quater where poorer and less educated people live. There are many children who don’t know what a salad looks like or which part of a tomato plant is eatable. In the future, more and more people will live in cities so the plants will grow on the countryside than more people will never get to see the plants which are sold as their food at the markets. Further Michael explained that the humas developed to be the animal on the planet demanding for most food. That means that we (the people) are waisting too much food.
In the afternoon we were hosting two external experts (Annika and Pauline) who did a workshop with us about food sovereignty. We agreed that sovereignty means that consumers have authorities about their decisions also concerning everyones future. Therefore they are well educated.
We realised that a food chain usually starts with the pre-production. Companies like Monsanto are selling seeds to farmers who grow the plants and then production take place. The farmers are the ones harvesting the finished farm produce. They later process it into non-perishable goods and send to the wholesalers and to retailers and finally to the consumers. But some of the processes of production differ from country to country. Our fellows from Ghana stated that, from the wholesalers there is a powerful chain called Middlemen. They determine the actual prices of the farm produce and they get the most profit.
During the discussion we also realised that there are various problems facing the production from all the three countries ( Germany, Ghana and Togo). some of the problems are 1. poor roads to the farms 2. Inadequate financing 3. there are more import than export etc. we concluded that, we must purchase locally manufactured goods, government intervention( good roads, irrigation etc), we should also encourage more people in farming.
Later in the evening was the Culture night for the Togolese. They talked about the traditional clothes and educate us on how politics work in their country. We played a lot of games like Murder in the dark, follow the pussy cat and so on. Everybody was excited and we all left to get some rest for the next day.
DAVID SELORM NYAGAH