The long night of farmer’s films
The conclusion of this year's eco-week was another highlight. The artist Antje Schiffers has been running a deal with farmers for many years. She paints a picture of their farm and the farmers produce a video of their farm and work from their own perspective. Antje Schiffers first introduced herself, her project and some of the farms she painted. This was followed by a cinematic journey through Europe, an organic farm in England run by two siblings, which was saved by a cooperative and became a beacon for other projects. A melon farmer family from Hungary struggling with local traders, middlemen and European corporations, always at the rim of losing out and giving up. The journey continued to Brandenburg to a newly established smallholder farm, where horses are ploughing again, and further on to an agricultural cooperative, which had emerged from a former colchose. In the Basque Country, two brothers and their daughters run a sheep and goat farm, which ensures its economic survival mainly through the farm's own cheese production. Impressive pictures and stories, which caused a lot of enthusiasm but also a lot of thoughtfulness among our viewers. Thus it became a really long night of the farmer film, the longest so far, as Antje Schiffers enthusiastically stated.
Those who did not have the opportunity to watch the films during the Eco-week can do so on the Internet. On the website www.vimeo.com you can search for "Schiffers Sprenger" and find a whole range of the films that Antje Schiffers and her partner Thomas Sprenger have acquired in exchange for the general public in Europe for a good 20 years. Here too, the participants unanimously expressed the wish to take this film journey to the Pellwormer cinema again next year.
You will find the video-stream of the conference on
an die final document is published by ARC2020
ARC2020 believes that a long term vision and comprehensive strategy for rural Europe is needed now, because rural areas and communities can help us turn the tide of the multiple crises we face – COVID-19, climate, biodiversity, loss of farmers and migrant crisis. By focusing on rural areas at this moment, we can bring divergent strands together and re-organise ourselves: we can help find a way for agriculture and environment to work together, and we to help shape how the Covid19 recovery happens, all the while strengthening a real, people-focused European cohesion and solidarity.
To help stimulate this process, ARC2020 is bringing civil society participation to a high level interactive video conference with the Renew Europe group in the European Parliament, on 7 July, 14.30 – 17.00 CEST.
This overall event “A vision for rural Europe – Harnessing the potential of rural areas to contribute to a sustainable and prosperous Europe” is organised by the President of the Renew Europe Group, Dacian Ciolos. He invites participants for an open reflection, analysis and public mobilisation, with a high level panel including the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer, Brexit Chief negotiator and former European Commissioner for regional policy Michel Barnier, and the President of the S&D group in the European Parliament, Iraxte Garcia Perez.
ARC2020 is mobilising a panel with civil society organisations and rural movements, who will introduce an open discussion with citizens participating via videoconference, followed by an exchange of views between the presidents of the Committees for Agriculture and for the Environment of the European Parliament.
How does social innovation emerge in remote areas? How can younger people help bridge the urban-rural divide? What is the role of rural stakeholders in accession countries in building a common rural vision? How can local empowerment approaches bridge the rural-urban digital gap and boost innovation in rural areas? And how can climate and environmental challenges become part of rural development strategies?
These are the key questions to be addressed in a panel on mobilising rural communities chaired by ARC2020’s president, Hannes Lorenzen. It will feature:
- Ilaria Signoriello (Agricoltura Capodarco and Social Farming National Forum Italy)
- Katrina Idu (Latvian Rural Forum and European Rural Youth Parliament)
- Emilija Stojmenova Duh, Ph.D. (University of Ljubljana and 4PDIH)
- Petar Gjorgievski (Rural Development Network of North Macedonia and Balkan Rural Development Network)
- Francesca Whitlock (ECOLISE and GEN Europe)
The resilience of villages
The lecture by Alistair Adam Hernandez from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hannover was an impressive event, including many islanders and friends of the island, representatives of villages from Brandenburg and Lower Saxony, Austria, the Canary Islands and Croatia. The term resilience describes the ability to resist and adapt and is more familiar from psychology. Presenting is PHD findings, Alistair Adam examined how villages throughout Europe deal with disturbances and difficult situations. How the specific problems are recognised and analysed and how village communities searche for solutions was impressively compared and discussed. Examples from England, Spain and Germany were used to show what village communities have in common facing various types of crisis and how they organise their way out of those challenges. Adam Hernandez explained that the main question is "how a village is perceived as lively, dynamic and active from the outside and inside and how it organises conflict management and transformation through communication and collective learning". The lecture was followed by a lively discussion and an exchange of experiences with all participants, so that the event continued well into the night. All expressed the wish to deal intensively with the topic of resilience again at a next physical meeting on Pellworm.
Nutrient flow balance and efficient use of manure - lecture by Philipp Löw, Thünen Institute Braunschweig
Philipp Löw presented the new requirements for farmers regarding the application of nitrate and phosphate on agricultural land. In the course of the past few years, the pollution of the soil by nutrients has increasingly come into focus with regard to climate, air, water and nature conservation. Numerous regulations have been created which are valid throughout the EU and must be implemented in every member state. Philipp Löw described how these regulations are placing increasingly high demands on farmers and gave an overview of the current state of soil contamination. It was noticeable that especially in North-West Germany, significantly increased levels of phosphate and nitrogen in soil and groundwater can be observed. The measures now required by the regulations are expected lead to an improvement in soil quality and increased nature conservation through more effective use of nutrients. In the future, farmers will have to determine in a nutrient balance for their farms, monitor how much nutrients they apply and what yields they can achieve with them. Depending on farm management, conventional or organic, there will be surplus and limit values for nutrients that remain unused in the soil and possibly also in water bodies. In the second part of his presentation, Philipp Löw presented the study for Pellworm, which is being developed upon the initiative of “Ökologisch Wirtschaften”. Here, organic and conventional farmers will provide data from their farms, supported by data from all imported and exported inputs and outputs gathered by trading and transport companies so as to get a good data basis through limitations of the island situation. The study will also take into account the increasing wild gees population on Pellworm. Nationwide, nutrient balances will become obligatory for all farmers and thus the study of the Thuenen-Institute can provide an early opportunity for farmers on Pellworm to exchange knowledge and experience through cooperation and professional exchange.
Study “Sustainable Pellworm island”
Prof. Hahne, Juliane Lenz and Lennart Schminnes presented parts of the comprehensive study on sustainable development opportunities on Pellworm. Prof. Hahne outlined, with a view to the current corona crisis, how the current pandemic-induced "slowdown" in many areas of life and the economy can bring positive impulses. Even before the pandemic, Prof. Hahne and his group of students at the University of Kassel had formulated the motto "Slow-Island" as a goal for the future.
Rural going digital: Pellworm Island - North Friesland – Germany - June 2020
The island association “Ökologisch Wirtschaften” has gone digital during Corona crisis. Planned conferences and events were not cancelled or postponed by replaced by video conferencing and webinars. For many islanders and guests this was a new and exciting experience. At a time when connections and partnerships with other local projects and experiences, with experts, research institutions and political decision-makers are becoming more and more important and increasingly presupposed, for example in current national and EU citizens' consultations on the future of agriculture, nature conservation and climate change, we felt like making the big leap forward.
The digital agro-ecological week allowed our members and supporters on the mainland, to participate in all events without much travel and time, and also to watch lectures and discussions of all events afterwards. We have even reached people in networks and projects well beyond our region and even beyond Germany linking back up with associations and networks we are members of. Such connections will become increasingly important in the future.
Numerous working groups cooperating in the Biosphere project are also increasingly entering into the digital mode, linking up with other Biosphere groups, agricultural cooperatives or local butchers, as was done last year with a project in France. The digital world is still new territory for many of us. But, to use a familiar image in our region, it will soon become a solid foreland for new relationships and perspectives of which we should take advantage.
Despite initial reservations, the Pellworm week 2020 as an online event was a great success. Even if many people missed the direct exchange at the round table or the chat and beer with their neighbours, the exciting lectures and on line cinema connected everyone. All lectures are available for download and reading on the website of the association www.oeko-verein-pellworm.de.