How Do I Eat Properly? – a Journey with Hardy Krüger Jr.
The extinction of species, climate change and feeding a growing global population are some of the biggest challenges for our future. We need to deal with these issues and start talking about possible solutions for the future.
That is why the actor and trained chef Hardy Krüger Jr. went on a journey for us to investigate the issue of sustainable eating. He is one of those people who sometimes buys organic and sometimes doesn’t. The kind of person who wonder whether the way he eats is OK. There are many other people who think and feel like him. And that’s precisely why Bayer felt he was just the right person to find some answers. The result is the documentary “How do I go about eating well? – a journey with Hardy Krüger Jr.”, which you can watch here exclusively.
Agriculture, and thus the system that feeds us, is under pressure. Each day in Germany alone, a further 50 hectares of uncultivated land are built on for residential or traffic purposes, while the population continues to grow at an unstoppable pace. The global population is expected to rise from 7.6 billion today to 9.7 billion by 2050. Feeding these people is in itself a tremendous task for the agricultural industry. It is exacerbated by the other major challenges of our time – combating climate change and maintaining species diversity.
In the face of these challenges, there is only one solution – we need to think about these issues as a single entity and look for common solutions. Modern agriculture needs to play its part in this and meet its responsibilities. One thing is clear – the answers of the past no longer respond to the questions of the future.
Hardy, Why Did You Go on This Journey?
I naturally had a lot of headlines bouncing around in my head, and heard many different views from politicians, industry and major companies. But I didn’t really understand this complexity at all and I simply wanted to know what the actual situation is.
This journey showed me that we simply have to focus much, much more intensively on our environment, that we should deal with how we feed ourselves much more respectfully and that we need to take a far broader and more serious approach to this whole issue. However, it also demonstrated that we have the opportunity to find a solution together – for us as people but also shouldering our responsibility in conjunction with the business world and politicians.
Hardy Krüger Jr. has been a successful movie and TV actor since 1991. A father of seven, he first trained as a chef before dedicating himself to acting. Son of movie legend Hardy Krüger, he became best known for the series “Gegen den Wind” (1995–1999) and “Forsthaus Falkenau” (2006–2012). Hardy, who grew up in Tanzania, currently lives with his blended family in his adopted home, Berlin. Alongside acting, the TV star is also well-known for his charity work. Since 2010, he has been the patron of the nature, wildlife and environment festival NaturVision. Furthermore, he also advocates for greater children’s rights as a UNICEF ambassador.
Why Is Bayer Making a Documentary of This Kind?
Bayer has for many years been a champion of open, dialog-oriented communication. On the one hand, we endeavor wherever possible to engage in constructive dialog with our stakeholders – whatever their opinions.
We therefore asked ourselves how Bayer can contribute to ensuring that the debate surrounding food and farming is conducted more objectively, and that conventional and organic farmers are not permanently at loggerheads, but can constructively discuss the best way forward.
About the Interviewees
“Not all the tasks society sets itself can be offloaded onto us farmers. Unfortunately, the market doesn’t currently allow for this.”
Marco Gemballa has been the manager of the Agrargesellschaft am Landgraben Zinzow agricultural society in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern since 2000. In this north-eastern region of Germany, Gemballa farms 580 hectares of land, on which he grows winter wheat, winter canola, winter barley, sugar beet and corn. The son of two farmers, he works hard in the Mecklenburg farmers’ association to represent the interests of farmers and invites school classes to his farm. Gemballa attaches great importance to sustainable business practices and a high level of environmental awareness, which is why he is part of the F.R.A.N.Z. (Future Resources, Agriculture & Nature Conservation) project by the German-based NABU (Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union), which is committed to enhanced biodiversity on farmland.
“It is correct that conventional farming is more intensive and produces higher yields. However, these yields come at the price of using fertilizers, bought-in fertilizers and crop protection products.”
“The public subsidies that organic farmers currently receive make up around 50 % of their total income.”
Wilpersberg in Wittelsbacher Land, 20 kilometers from Augsburg in the south of Germany, is home to Kreppold organic farm, where Stephan Kreppold cultivates 100 hectares of arable land and 22 hectares of pasture land. The main crops grown at the family-run business are cereals for baking such as wheat, rye, spelt and oats, but grain maize and soybeans are also produced in crop rotation. The farm’s produce is sold in regional mills, bakeries and its own farm shop. It was back in 1982 that the Kreppold family started to farm organically, without using artificial fertilizers, pesticides or genetic engineering, and managing livestock in a manner appropriate to the species. They are therefore one of the pioneers of organic farming in Germany.
“A third of all greenhouse gas emissions are caused by the food system!”
The renowned scientist Marco Springmann has already carried out research in Germany and the United States in the areas of sustainability, climate change and the food system and is currently working as a senior researcher in the fields of environmental sustainability, health and economic development at the University of Oxford.
As a member of the Eat-Lancet Commission, Springmann – together with 37 other scientists from various disciplines and 16 countries – investigated the impact of the food system on the climate. This resulted in the “Planetary Health Diet”, which incorporates nature and the climate, along with the health of the individual.
“Basically, the idea is that we provide the most accurate possible CO2 footprint for food products – not just for consumers, but also for restaurants.”
Together with his partner, Judith Ellens, the environmentalist Manuel Klarmann founded the company “Eaternity” in Zurich in 2008. This Swiss startup aims to show people how to eat in environmentally friendly ways so as to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. To do this, it collects all available CO2 data that foodstuffs generate on average and makes this available to chefs and consumers in the app of the same name. Manuel and his team now work with 74 restaurants and 170 chefs.
“What would the world look like if we tried to produce all the food we will need in 2050 using our current farms? We would need to increase our farming land by three billion hectares. That’s around four times the size of the United States.”
The researcher Tim Searchinger carries out research in the areas of ecology, agronomy and economics at Princeton University in the state of New Jersey. One focus of his work is the analysis of demographic change and the associated requirements for agriculture. In this context, Searchinger is the main author of a number of reports by the World Resources Institute on feeding the world population in 2050. These were jointly published by the World Bank, the United Nations and others.
“Ultimately our objective is to make farming better and more sustainable. We cannot do this by ourselves, but we can make a major contribution.”
Liam Condon started working for Bayer AG in 2006 and has been a member of the Board of Management since 2016. Born in Ireland, Condon heads the Crop Science Division, based in Monheim am Rhein, which promotes innovation and sustainability in agriculture. He is also on the Board of Directors at the international umbrella association of agricultural research companies CropLife International.
In addition, Condon is responsible for the Group’s Animal Health business unit and is a member of the Governor’s Panel for Consumer Industries at the World Economic Forum.
“We need a digital platform for agriculture in Germany that is effective throughout Europe.”
Rainer Spiering has been the SPD’s agricultural policy spokesperson in the Bundestag and chair of the Parliamentary Committee for Food and Agriculture since 2013. Until 2018, he also sat on the Parliamentary Committee for Training, Research and Technology Assessment.
In his role as agricultural policy spokesperson, Spiering aims to encourage economic, ecological and socially oriented agriculture. Based in Osnabrück, he does this by promoting improvements in the management of businesses and the use of state-of-the-art technologies in the agricultural sector.