What sustainability means to us
Sustainability is a central criterion for all decisions that we make on our farmstead. We know that we need a systematic change to a world that works for people and the planet. Our farmstead should be part of a future that enables our communities and animals to live in ethical and environmentally friendly ways. We're not perfect, but we learn new lessons every day and continuously work to improve our practices. Our sustainability concept is based on six pillars:
- Nature conservation: We promote biodiversity, protect valuable ecosystems and restore lost landscapes.
- Climate protection: We reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and support measures to adapt to climate change.
- Justice: We promote structures for social and economic justice and are committed to improving animal welfare.
- Resilience: We support sustainable production in our region, as well as fair and robust supply chains for our international products.
- Circularity: We are committed to reducing waste and recycling materials to promote the circular economy.
- Health: We use products and materials that promote the health of our producers, employees and guests.
Words are only useful when followed by action. That is why we are specifically discussing our standards, processes and projects that we implement in the four different work areas of our farmstead to promote our sustainability goals.
Implementation on the farmstead
Food & drinks
Organic farming is central pillar of our sustainability work in terms of food and beverages. In 2015, we received our organic certification and expanded it with constant commitment. Today, we are part of a small group of only 11 restaurants in Germany that are Demeter certified. This means that 100% of the food and beverages we use are produced under the strictest environmental and animal welfare standards that exist in agriculture.
"We cook all of our dishes from scratch, without any artificial additives, and here too we use all food products in their entirety."
In over two decades of event organizing and implementation, we have developed a special philosophy of cooking and menu planning. Our philosophy stimulates the palates of our guests, enables the protection of valuable resources, and offers better working conditions for our suppliers and our kitchen team. Every week, we eagerly await harvest updates from our producers and then proceed to developing special surprise menus for our events. Each menu draws fully on the seasonal repertoire and is precisely tailored to the size of the events. This allows us to avoid food loss and waste on the farms and at our events, making an important contribution to climate protection.
We cook all of our dishes from scratch, without any artificial additives, and here too we use all food products in their entirety. We prepare hearty bouillons from vegetable peel and bones and make breadcrumbs from left-over bread. Our chickens await appropriate food scraps with excitement, or else they return to their natural cycle via our compost facilities. We are particularly happy to use ancient and seed-resistant fruit and vegetable varieties. This type of cooking not only conserves resources; it also elevates taste, is healthier, and promotes the creativity and skills of our team.
"We know that our society has to consume less and better animal products to treat animals with respect and to enable a future for our planet."
We also select our internationally sourced food with the greatest care. When a recipe calls for nuts, our chefs prefer to use Hylea Brazil nuts to prevent Amazon deforestation in Bolivia and Brazil. We buy our bourbon vanilla directly from small producers on the Indonesian island of Lombok, which we visited on site in 2019.
Another characteristic of our kitchen is our passion for vegan and vegetarian foods. We know that our society has to consume less and better animal products to treat animals with respect and to enable a future for our planet. This is why we usually use a meat product in just one course at each event, and offer our guests wholesome and delicious vegan and vegetarian menus. Every year we organize several completely vegan or vegetarian events - both in terms of food and drink selection.
Event venues and accommodation
The buildings in which our guests feast, celebrate and relax are an important part of our sustainability strategy. We have carefully restored most of our buildings, which significantly reduces their ecological footprint. We prefer to use natural, recycled and upcycled materials, such as wood from old barns and stables. Our in-house carpenter crafts most of the furniture from local timber. We pay attention to the FSC 100% certificate for imported products. Our buildings operate with ENBW green electricity and energy-efficient technologies. We are currently developing concepts for our own green energy generation on the farmstead.
We try to produce as little waste as possible. Our preference is for products with reduced packaging and no plastic packaging, and we compost organic waste directly on our farmstead. We only use recycled paper, and our toilet paper supports improved sanitary systems in the Global South through Viva con Agua. Towels in our toilets and napkins on the tables are made of fabric and are therefore reusable.
Our detergents and cleaners as well as cosmetic products are carefully selected to protect our water supplies and the health of our guests and employees. The ecological companies Sonett and Speick are our partners in this area.
Our gardens enchant the farmstead, lend our dishes a fine aroma and provide important habitat for a variety of plants and animals. We designed them with the aim of promoting both productivity and nature conservation. They let us harvest fresh herbs, vegetables, fruits and flowers and at the same time are home to endangered insects, birds and chickens.
More than 50 different types of herbs have grown for over five years in our different gardens. This production covers the entire herb requirement of our kitchen. In addition, our Grandma Lore produces the finest, hand-picked herbal tea we have ever tasted from our herb harvest.
In 2020, we started to create a permaculture garden on 1,600 square meters of land. Here, we plant over 100 old and seed-resistant fruits and vegetables and nurture our soil. We can harvest freshly and use the products without intermediate cooling, enriching taste and nutrients and saving energy. Many insects, birds and small animals that can no longer find enough food in monocultural fields and modern, low-maintenance home gardens survive in our permaculture garden.
"Here, we plant over 100 old and seed-resistant fruits and vegetables and nurture our soil."
Bees are going extinct, which threatens nature as a whole and risks our food supply. Without bees there is almost no food. This is why our gardens are full of flowers and trees that provide food for bees and in which they are not exposed to any chemical toxins. We also keep four bee colonies on our organically certified areas, which we will expand to five colonies by the end of 2020. We are using the most ethical bee keeping manners, which lie a step above species-appropriate manners. This means that our bees can reproduce naturally, swarm freely, and keep most of their honey.
Many chickens also live on our farmstead. With their scratching, pecking and dung, they enrich the structure and nutrient content of our soils and support the natural balance of insects. By the end of 2021, we plan to cover all of our kitchen's egg requirements with our own eggs, thereby helping to preserve more than ten ancient two-purpose breeds. With the support of the “Bruderhahn” initiative, we produce a small amount of chicken meat in addition to eggs. Our chickens have a happy life, run free and thrive on a varied diet from our herb gardens, the permaculture garden, leftovers from our kitchen and high-quality organic feed. This is clearly evident in their health and the quality of their eggs.
"A meadow orchard is home to between 2,000 and 5,000 animal species, as well as rare grasses and meadow herbs."
Five years ago, we also created a meadow orchard on our additional land, on which we grow 20 different types of pears, quinces and apples. The number of meadow orchards in Germany has decreased sharply since the middle of the last century, so that we have already lost around three quarters. A meadow orchard is home to between 2,000 and 5,000 animal species, as well as rare grasses and meadow herbs. As a result, insects, spiders, frogs, lizards, birds and small mammals such as bats, weasels and hares lose their habitats. With our orchard meadow, we want to make a small contribution to nature conservation and the preservation of natural diversity.
Fair and respectful collaboration is just as important a part of our sustainability philosophy as the protection of natural resources. As a result, we do our best to offer good jobs on our farmstead and to promote a network of fair jobs with our suppliers.
"On our farmstead, every position is varied and flexible, which promotes the well-being, creativity and professional development of our employees."
The complex value creation we conduct on our farmstead allows us not only to offer a larger number of jobs, but also to make them more multifaceted. Every position is varied and flexible, which promotes the well-being, creativity and professional development of our employees. For example, our chefs practice cooking, baking, butchering and gardening at the same time, and our administrative staff tend to guests, organize events, decorate rooms and raise chickens.
"Every little contribution and every small decision contribute to the greater good."
"We pay our team well above the minimum wage, support them with retirement provisions, and offer communal lunch and a free selection of drinks every day. Our kitchen team is currently employing two apprentices. We also offer a dual degree program in event or gastronomy management. In addition, we enable our team members to carry out their desired professional development activities, be it on the basis of in-house training and company outings or external training and language courses.
It's no different with us than with you. Every little contribution and every little decision contribute to the greater good. We can do it if we really want to."