BIOHOF AGA (Thüringen - Germany): an example of good practice in social, educational and organic farming

25.11.2013

BIOHOF AGA (Thüringen - Germany):  an example of good practice in social, educational and organic farmingIn the frame of the European Food Kids project, a Grundtvig Learning Partnership between Denmark, Germany and Poland, and funded by the European Union, to promote healthy food in public canteens, Area Viva visited Biohof Aga, an social and organic farm also taking part in educational programs.

Biohof Aga was created five years ago by Carolin Ullrich, in Aga, near Gera (Thüringen region - Germany). It is an organic farm adapted for handicapped workers. It has one the most modern greenhouse in Europe, built in 2010 and works in collaboration with another farm that breeds chickens and collect eggs. Biohof Aga grows mainly organic tomatoes, cucumbers and salads, and sorts out the eggs coming from the farm. Forty-two handicapped people take care of the vegetables and eggs and four employees are leading them in four teams. The organization has employed disabled people since 2011; they come from Gera and receive salary from the state and pocket money from Biohof Aga. 

To make the environment safer for the workers, special measures were taken right from the beginning of the building of the greenhouse. First, the greenhouse roof is made of safety glass, then the alleys between the vegetables rows are wider to let more space for the employees to walk and work there and the lifts used to pick the highest tomatoes have special safety guardrails, higher than standard ones. Finally, the packaging hall has an underfloor heating which makes this working area more comfortable. 

Apart from the fact that Biohof Aga is strongly involved in social farming, the farm is also remarkable by its modern and environmentally-friendly facilities. We’ve talked already about the greenhouse, which is one of the most modern in Europe and uses rain waters for the plants; we should not forget its biogas central. This plant produces methane gas from corn and chicken manure which are decomposed by bacteria. Then, it is used in a gas engine to convert the energy into electricity and heat, which then goes directly to the greenhouse. Furthermore, some computers control the ventilation, the heating, the water supply and shading of the greenhouse. These computers work with the data of the outlying weather station.
 
Biohof Aga has also a small organic shop selling local and European organic products and last but not least, it is also an environmental education center working in collaboration with Thüringer Ökoherz since 2012. The project is financed by Rotary Club Gera and is called “Gesunde Kids” – “Healthy Kids”. After receiving some theoretical information in a specific workshop through a specially designed game at their school, the children take part to a more practical lesson at Biohof Aga farm. There, they become detectives whose mission is to check whether Biohof Aga is really producing organic food. After this rally in teams, the children get together again around Anet and exchange about organic farming. It is funny and interesting for the children who are often unfamiliar with the subject. 
 
To know more about the Biohof Aga, you can visit: http://www.biohof-aga.de/
 

Autor: Mélanie Bourbigot   |   Sekce: SOCIÁLNÍ ZEMĚDĚLSTVÍ   |   Tisk   |   Poslat článek známému


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