Perhaps this is one of the most important posts I've written to date. At least the one whose research has made me personally think the most and forced me to critically question my own behavior. However, I don't want to start this post so meaningfully and heavily right now, because it's about a thoroughly great and absolutely positive thing: the World Acre, which I had the pleasure of getting to know on October 31 in the course of a harvest celebration organized by feld:schafft! What exactly the World Acre is all about and who or what the feld:schafft is, I'll explain briefly:
There are around 8 billion people in the world, and they need to be fed. The globally usable arable land is currently about 1.5 billion hectares. If this area were divided fairly, each person would be entitled to about 2,000 m². Everything that Mother Earth provides us with must be grown on this area: all our food, such as cereals, vegetables and fruit. But not only those, also our animals, which we breed for the production of meat, milk and eggs, need fodder. In addition, there are all the natural raw materials such as cotton for jeans, energy crops for bio-gas or bio-diesel and renewable raw materials for industry.
The World Acre Innsbruck
On the World Acre Innsbruck arable crops are grown in the same proportion as they grow in fields around the world. With a total share of almost 50%, cereals take up by far the most area. Some crops would not grow in Tyrol, for this reason there are a few "substitute" crops. Cotton, for example, is replaced by flax (also Flax called). But this does not detract from the whole, you get even so a very good impression of what grows in what quantity on the fields of this earth.
In Innsbruck, the World Acre is organized by the field:creates organized - but the project was developed in Germany and is already being implemented in other countries besides Austria, such as Switzerland and Kenya. The aim is to network globally, support each other and create a space for communication and exchange of ideas.
Use the unused
The feld:schafft is a cooperative that has set itself the goal of counteracting food waste. It does this, on the one hand, by collecting and processing unused food. On the other hand, it places great emphasis on education. Children, young people and adults are to be sensitized to a sustainable, resource-conserving, responsible and above all appreciative handling of food. In the foreground of the Workshops is the practical doing! The participants do not expect dry lectures, but are allowed to be hands-on. Interrelationships in food production will be explored together, and so the appreciation for our food will (hopefully) come all by itself.
The workshops are particularly popular with school classes, I learn from Claudia (one of the founding members of feld:schafft). "We often start by asking the children or young people how they got here and what they have done so far. Even on the way to us or at home, they've used products that grow on the world's farmland - that is, that are grown on farmland." Like me, most probably think first and foremost of the breakfast bread or the apple we bring for snack. But many products today are made from bioplastics. In the case of bioplastics, the biomass comes from renewable resources such as corn, sugar cane or cellulose. That sounds great to me at first. In yours, too?
Bioplastics vs. fossil-based plastics
Claudia, who takes a lot of time for me and my questions, however, has a slightly different take on things: bioplastics made from renewable raw materials are not necessarily more environmentally or climate friendly than fossil-based plastics. For example, in most cases, the renewable raw materials used in bioplastics are grown on agricultural land. And as we "learned" at the beginning, each citizen of the earth is only entitled to a certain amount of arable land. We don't have more land and we have to think carefully about how we use it. At this point, it is very important for me to emphasize that there are certainly many different approaches and Claudia also emphasizes: "We don't have a solution, we just want to encourage people to think and communicate."
Children at the cake buffet
There is - as for most problems in this world - certainly no simple solution and no black or white. Nothing is just good or bad. But what we really should rethink is our consumer behavior. I like Claudia's metaphor: Let's imagine the world's farmland as a buffet. We people from the global North believe we have the freedom to serve ourselves as we please. We behave like children at a buffet, stuffing ourselves only with cake. And that this is neither smart nor healthy doesn't need to be emphasized. Just as little as that we cannot exploit our earth without consequences.
For the barrel:
I am the last one who stands there with a raised forefinger and lectures someone. Because as they say, first you should sweep in front of your own front door and in front of mine it's pretty dirty! I regularly buy too much food. I'm always super motivated at the store and load extra fruits and veggies into the cart, but then often don't manage to use it all before it goes bad. Did you know that 48.5% of food waste happens in our household? So apparently I'm not the only one who buys too much and throws too much away. That's exactly why I asked Claudia for a few tips to help me throw away less:
- Increase shopping frequency: rather buy less and go more often.
- Store properly. Sounds logical, and it is. Nevertheless, it is difficult (at least for me). So it's best to google and find out the best way to store what.
- Take inventory: Look through bins, freezer and fridge. You often have a lot more at home than you think.
- Write shopping lists and only buy what's on them.
- Just because a product is past its sell-by date doesn't necessarily mean it belongs in the garbage can. Food often has a much longer shelf life. We have already eaten sour cream that had been expired for 2 weeks. So it's best to look (e.g., if the product is moldy), smell and taste.
- Write down what regularly ends up in the trash. Then you know the next time you go shopping what you'd better not buy or at least buy in smaller quantities. For me, that would be potatoes, for example. I have now firmly resolved, firstly, to stop buying huge bags and, secondly, to store them better.
Not only in private households a lot ends up in the garbage. Too much is also thrown away in agriculture, production, gastronomy or trade. foodsharing is an initiative that aims to minimize food waste and increase appreciation. The long-term goal is to reduce the throwaway culture of food and other resources. Founded in 2012, the initiative is now an international movement with over 200,000 users* in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and other European countries. There are also 6 Fairteiler in Innsbruck. You can find more information here.
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Mother, TV series addict and nature lover with a passion for good food and the mountains!