Monday 6 June 2011

E.Coli: German Hobby Farmers @ Work

First, the obvious point: UK farming methods aren't exactly a model of disease-free pastoral practice, are they ?

But this E.coli outbreak looks like just what you'd expect from the bizarre German hobby-f
arming industry.

Every large town is tightly ringed with miniscule farms operated out of the backs of the last ring of houses before you reach the countryside proper. Typically horticulture, looking like over-sized allotments, they are all equipped with tiny tractors gaily spraying ordure everywhere, and go by the local appellation of 'cabbage village' (Kohl Dorf). One imagines they are all operating some EC farming subsidy scam.

One also imagines that any type of serious inspection of their practices is out of the question. Walking past (with nose-peg firmly in place) the layman can only observe that some of these farmlets are ramshackle in the extreme. When reports started coming of a "clear trail of evidence" leading to one such establishment, we may all-too readily guess what the trail looked like ...

Later this month I shall commence another of my lengthy business expeditions to Germany. I only ever eat cooked veg.


Pic © Nick Drew 2011


Sackerson said...

That was interesting.

hatfield girl said...

'One imagines they are all operating some EC farming subsidy scam.'

It's for the pensions. Registered as a 'direct cultivator' and paying the correct, quite small, amounts to the Coldiretti organisation, after 25 years you get a decent, inflation-proofed pension.

There are subsidies and grants as well, of course, which when applied -for use a points system: anyone who has completed one of the Coldiretti courses in being, well, a peasant really, gets more points; even more for being under 40; even more for being a woman; more for marginal land; more for registering not to use chemical fertilisers and anti-bug sprays etc. The money is for access roads, fencing, solar power, insulation, improving types of trees and crops, irrigation,(recently got one of those as part of a co-operative irrigating along the Valtiberina), etc.

You can see the effects all over in the gardened-like quality of the countryside. The Coldiretti encourages producer and marketing co-ops, delivers quality control and monitors sticking to the rules - they're quite fierce and efficient. Something must be going badly wrong in Germany if the small-holdings are as bad as you have been seeing, ND.

rwendland said...

I remember camping next to one of these overgrown allotment complexes in my youth, near Mainz. They had a hut in the middle that sold the cheapest by-miles (kms?) fine German beer that could be found. Pleasent memories. Didn't notice how they grew the green stuff!

rwendland said...

There's a Beeb report and video here. Re spraying ordure everywhere, to be fair to the farmer, he says:

"The salad sprouts are grown only from seeds and water, and they aren't fertilised at all. There aren't any animal fertilisers used in other areas on the farm either."

They are grown at 38 degrees though, which bugs find very pleasent.

Mark Wadsworth said...

@ Hatfield Girl, that's all fascinating stuff, but Coldiretti is in Italy not Germany, is it not? Try not to get these Axis power confused.

Nick Drew said...

Sackers - nice to be hearing from you !

HG - pensions, eh ? I shall take some pics later in the month, to illustrate my findings ...

Radders - well fair play to the lad (but have they checked his boots ?)

Mark - yes and their new policies on nuclear power generation are confusingly similar too, Germany / Japan / Italy ...

hatfield girl said...

We're just about to vote against nuclear power generation reintroduction in Italy, ND. Next Sunday we all go to put four 'Si's on the referendums against nuclear power, water privatisation, and immunity for Berlusconi (I forget the last one but I know I must vote Si four times to deny them all - so counter-intuitive, referendums).

If 50% plus 1 vote then the decisions become binding on the government to implement. That's the bit that matters; in the UK the idea of referendums fails because they are invariably and constitutionally only advisory.

Sorry MW, I'd assumed the CAP was the same across Europe, at least where there are still small farmers left.

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