On December 16th, 2019 the fourth meeting of the German steering group took place in Berlin with twelve people. Two interesting presentations by Simone Sterly of BioFinanz on alternative financing options and the presentation of one of our case study farms CSA Speisegut (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJYWPawpc-s) by the founder and manager Christian Heymann provided the basis for exciting discussions. In addition, a representative of the EU H2020 project Nefertiti came to visit and presented the idea of an “international facebook for farmers”, which aims to virtually connect innovative farmers and encourage them to exchange ideas.
The discussion with the invited speakers covered how farms and projects can be financially remunerated for educational services, like giving farm insights for children. While in the some of the German federal states farmers receive a compensation for this kind of knowledge creation for the wider society is being remunerated, it is not in others.
Simone Sterly presented an interesting information platform, which is intended to provide working papers and decision-making aids for prospective entrepreneurs. Christian Heymann promotes not to start with high financial burdens. Land in protected landscape areas are often comparably cheap to lease and are available especially for organic farmers. He said that he himself had built up his Community Supported Agriculture through slow growth and learning, with little start-up capital and is still proud of his company today. Nevertheless, he never stops looking for new business ideas and innovative development opportunities and continues to strengthen his business.
The Steering Group discussed possibility on how to support new entrants into farming. Thus the idea of a competence list was born to “accompany” newcomers and career changers in their first steps and to support them by clarifying key questions. It was reported that the advice given so far has been rather disappointing and that one would like to see people or even coaches from the field who are not classical consultants but rather act in an accompanying role. The Newbie team will take these ideas and further discussion points from the exciting Steering Group meeting with us to the Newbie Conference in Ljubljana in February, present them and see how further support for newbies can be developed further within the project.