Berlin Mmm...(Stadt Land) Food - Show social responsibility with right food!

A life full of choices and decisions. 

Every day we eat food and drink all kinds of beverages next to water. But do we all really know what we are eating or drinking? Where does it come from? What routes did it take to come into your stomach? What kind of additives does it contain? How much money is left for the people in the first part of the industrial-chain? Only the minority of people in the “first world” really has a clue about what they consume. Most of the times, price matters a lot. Nevertheless, more and more people invest their time to gain knowledge about the life demanding supplies they consume. In this movement many small companies were created with the goal to have a product with a social impact. As a matter of fact, there are many reasons why we should be more aware of what to eat and drink.

Experience: Food

If you go into your supermarket next door, many everyday products are either distributed by no-name companies, in that case you might ask yourself what they have done to their product to be that cheap; or big names, where you just think their product must be good according to the price. In other words, many of us (I hope I’m right if I use “us” if not, sorry for that) have no idea about everyday products, their quality, and if the price is justified. In addition, many people lack the luxury to buy expensive products due to their living status. Is it possible to combine quality and price to make the experience of good food possible for everyone? The “Stadt Land Food” festival, which took part around the Markthalle Neun in Berlin, Kreuzberg from the 1st -3rd of October, was a place where questions like these were asked and answered. Furthermore, it was a great chance to gain more knowledge about essential food supplies and become inspired by the passion and tasty foods from the vendors.

The Festival

From Saturday till Monday, about 150 different local producers, distributors, or organizations gathered around the market hall. Being hosted by the Markthalle for the second time after 2014, the food festival attracted many people onto the streets nearby the Görlitzer Park. Next to the vendors that you find at the weekly farmers market from Tuesday till Saturday (for more information scroll a bit down), different vendors displayed and sold their goods and showed that food is not just food for them. It’s a big part of their life, locally produced and distributed, out of eco-sensitive goods. Furthermore, many experts also offered workshops in different “food-labs” in order for the customer to improve their knowledge of the product and the process of making it. Next to workshops for drinks like spirits, wine, beer and coffee, the food-labs for cheese, different kinds of vegetables, sausages, fish, and bread were very interesting. For example, we never knew how easy and cheap it was to make your own “sauerkraut”.  Another thing we learned was how the production of honey works and that there are two different types of methods: pressed and hurled honey. → FLo filz Oh honey soundcloud link

Another spot at the market hall where inspiration hit us, was the stand of Slow Food Berlin. “Slow Food” is a movement with a growing community out of Italy which tries to “prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, counteract the rise of fast life and combat people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat” (www.slowfood.com). Furthermore, they offer skill-sharing events or information evenings where you can enlarge your own knowledge about food and everything around it. All in all, the Stadt Land Food festival was an experience that was very inspirational. It demonstrated that with a bit of practice you can make everyday products by yourselves and therefore control what you eat. Nevertheless, there are other goods which you can’t make by yourself but to whom companies were founded in the last years to ensure you fair traded, high quality products.

Companies with Social Impact

The Berlin-based company Coffee Circle portrays one of these companies which create a quality product with a social impact. Coffee is an example where you can only create the end-product but to grow a coffee-plant in Germany is not possible. Often times farmers of coffee plantations have to work under inhuman conditions or even kids have to work so that the coffee-beans can be offered for a low price in the supermarket. There are many companies with a fair-trade seal on it, but fair trade does not directly mean that it has a positive, long-lasting effect on the farmers and their lives. What it definitely means is that the companies pay for a third party that the farmers earn the minimum amount of money they deserve. Coffee Circle ensures a fair traded coffee without a seal, as they only roast high-quality coffee which they buy directly from plantations they visited. Their goal is to have a greater impact and directly help the people with important problems like their lack of education or clean water.

Coffee circle only portrays one of many companies which were created in the last couple of years. Others which need to be mentioned are lemonaid, soli-mate, or viva con aqua. The last one is a subsidiary of the non-profit organization that tries to improve water quality in developing countries. The goal of the growing company is to socialize water, which is mostly under control of huge companies like Nestlé, as they want to donate 60 percent of their profit to drinking water projects.

It is nice to see that more and more cafés become aware of what products they buy and sell in their store. A growing amount has local roasted coffee (damn we have nice Coffee roasters in Berlin; check the bottom list) and other social food and beverages like the ones mentioned above. As a consequence, people get to know these companies and maybe also think about what they consume.

Maybe you can also have an impact on the world with only a small effort. In the end, we in Europe have the great luck to decide what to drink or eat. In other parts of the world this is not the case.

Food and Coffee Starter Kit:

Markthalle Neun

Ancient market hall (first opened in 1891) in the Eisenbahnstrasse 42/43
Weekly farmers market opened Tuesday-Friday 12-18 pm , Saturday 10 am -18 pm
Streetfood Thursday with, like the names says, tasty street foodà Thursday 17-22 pm
For workshops and other dates visit the website à www.markthalleneun.de
Berlin Roasters (https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1ryJ07RkbND-EASyLaI_0nrM4f3c&hl=en_US) Map with all the Third Wave Coffee Roaster in world

Berlin Coffee Roasters

It started very small, but now we are here. It is hard to count all the roasters in Berlin. Every year there are new openings and a serious coffee culture with focus on high quality and perfection has developed. Here are a bunch of classic suggestions of very established ones:

For a full list, just have a look at this Google Map created by guys of Third Wave Wichteln! Or can also just buy some beans online at Coffee Circle - they are also roasting in Berlin-Wedding. 


So it's up to you to decide, what kind of food do you want eat and what do you want to change in the world. Every single meal, cup or drink counts!

How Berlin's citizens are trying to solve the refugee crisis with food - Meet 'n Eat

Integration.

A topic over which people's opinions currently diverge incomparably. Should Muslim women be allowed to wear headwear or a burka in public to continue their deeply rooted cultural practice? Or does it portray the complete opposite view to the western culture in relation to women’s rights and should therefore be abandoned?

These controversial questions were all around in the last weeks and did not contribute to any integration process at all. Nevertheless, there are people with an incredible social passion who create initiatives that try to integrate Arabic people and refugees around the world into the German society.

The idea

One example illustrates the event called “Meet n’ Eat” which takes place once a week at a community hall in Prenzlauer Berg. On Wednesdays people from all different cultures, new and old neighbors meet and get to know each other. So what brings people together and is probably one of the best conversation-starters? Exactly, it’s food! And in this case, it’s pretty damn good food. Cooked in collaboration with a team of Cooks and refugees (all are working for free and with great passion) the food varies from Arabic to Mediterranean to everything else you could imagine.

Not only is it very enlightening to see the positive energy that takes place, to witness that there are enough people who have respect towards each other and their cultures. It also shows that a harmonic life together is possible although the cultural backgrounds are different. Furthermore, you get to know personal life-stories and start to understand why it was so urgent for the people to leave their old lives behind them.

The Food

What was on the agenda last week when we had our first visit? Nice talks and a cool short-film from a volunteer about the event, recapping the vibes, food, and all the great people who attended this event. On the lunch-menu was a delicious cucumber-avocado soup, followed by polenta with foul and a fennel salad. As a desert the cooking-team made a great fruit-salad with a cardamom cream.

Lend a hand

We believe in the power of this phrase. You can support Meet 'n Eat with small activities like cake donations or restoring the rooms afterwards. The idea works completely on voluntary and donation basis. They need any support they can get. There is always a doodle list, where you can choose, where and when to help. So be proactive!

Sit together, eat together, talk together, live together!

Learn more about Meet 'n Eat:

Vimeo Video about Meet 'n Eat

Berlin Coffee Festival 2016 - Why you should definitely go there next year!

This festival attracts coffee lovers from all over the world even though it is only the second edition. From experts to beginners different kinds of people are coming together with the same motivation: Coffee!

We enjoyed our time at the festival deeply. Several events, workshops and talks had been scheduled to be explored. We will present four of them with pictures and our own experience. 

Homebrew Kaffeekirsche

Kaffeekirsche a cosy, minimalistic café close to the Kotti in Kreuzberg. We tried their cold brew and we also participated at their homebrew event. From aeropress to Hario V60 and Chemex was everything there to brew. We had the chance to try the following three beans:

  • Colombia, Hacienda la Claudina - Filter
  • Costa Rica, Finca Chispita - Filter
  • Kenya, Rhito Handege - Filter

We had a great time there, some good conversations and just a wonderful start into the weekend. 

 

NANO Kaffee Cupping

All in all Nano Kaffee offered more than 10 different coffees from three different roasteries in Germany. 

Besides the coffee there was an interesting and diverse crowd of people from all over Europe. The variety of coffee was very impressive. It's so good to see how rapidly the german coffee scene is growing. Small roasteries and cafés like Nano Kaffee are an essential part of the community and are engaging the citizen to meet there and have a good cup of coffee together. 

 

BRLO | Brewbox

Two things. Coffee and beer - that's it. We should stop writing here, these two very special drinks are enough to have a good time at the festival. Here's why: 

  • Brewbox: Summertime, hot weather cold coffee - Brewbox is somehow trying to do that. They are using the technical equipment from the beer scene to offer preserved cold coffee.
  • BRLO: Maybe one of the most famous Craft Beer companies in Berlin. The Pale Ale and the German Pale are only two of their outstanding beers. At the moment they are building their brewhouse close to the Gleisdreieck Park - the perfect summer location! 
 

ISLA Coffee BoomBox

We have been there for some cupping and some good music. Marc, our Chief of Music, recognized a couple vinyls after some minutes - the guys from Bikini Waxx Berlin have been there. As we are music enthusiasts we deeply enjoyed our time there.

It was a lovely combination of good coffee and chilled music. We had also a very interesting conversation with the owner of Isla Coffee.

Additionally the baristas from amazing Channel Brewers have been there, too. Fun Fact at the barista challenge the Channel Brewers and Isla Coffee both made it to the finals. In the end the Channel Brewers took the victory home. 

 

To come to a conclusion, we had a great weekend, we met interesting people and we are already curious to see the next evolution of the Berlin Coffee Festival in 2017. If you missed it this year, we only can recommend to go there next year.It doesn't matter if you are already a coffee expert or a complete beginner. Even if you are not interested in coffee you will find your spot either for something like beer or just for fantastic music. We will see you there next year to continue our coffee discovery. Coffee, Beer, Music and great people are the key components which will always create an outstanding mixture of fun and good conversations.

Music in Berlin - A guide to explore Germany's capital

Seek and you shall find.

Berlin calling. The name of Paul Kalkbrenner’s famous movie symbolizes the thoughts of many musicians and DJ’s in the world. Through the fall of the Wall, Berlin not only became open as one again, it started to open new hemispheres for underground cultures that had a major influence of creating the city we now know and love. 

Techno. One word that many people associate with Berlin. For sure, it is the most well-known scene in the urban area. A major reason for the rise of the techno culture is, as already mentioned, the unique and incomparable history of Berlin. After the fall of the Berlin-Wall, several houses and industrial areas in the East of the city were empty and raw. Many properties had no landlord; the city was an organizational chaos. In combination with the incredible feeling of freedom, matchless techno raves began to emerge.

The most famous club that started at that time was the techno club Tresor. There, you would feel the spirit of the music in its rawest moment. Pumpin’ bass, dark atmosphere, sweat dropping from the ceiling, and people living their lives. This was the beginning of the scene which would attract thousands of people into the city every year and spread fame to clubs like Berghain and Watergate throughout the world. Nevertheless, there are still dozens of smaller events and open-airs, that hang on to the underground culture and meet up legal or illegal to dance and party to the music they love. Liebe zum Detail, Krach, Giegling or Zosse Records are just four examples of small Berlin based Record Labels, who organize events once in a while. 

Besides techno, Berlin has many other music scenes which add to the incredible variety of the city. Next to Funk & Soul, where Fluid Soul Radio smashes great parties at the Paloma Bar in Kreuzberg - once in a while with a Brazil edition which will make your hips move..., or Jazz sessions at Café Edelweiss every Tuesday in the same district, the Hip Hop scene (lyrical and instrumental wise) portrays a growing culture with many cool events throughout the city.

The time where producers lack recognition is not fully over yet, but more and more the beats behind the rhymes get their big stage. In Berlin, many of Germany´s best producers have their “Lab” where they “cook” their beats. To listen to beats, samples, and plenty other party smashing hits, a good address is the “Monarch” at Kottbusser Tor.

Twice a month the Beatgeeks (Suff Daddy, Hazeem, LeBob) spin their Records at the place with the Motto “Watch Beats, Not TV”. Another recommendable address is the café/ Bar “Panke Culture” in Wedding. A lot of great Hip Hop, as well as other music events such as the Wedding Soul Party, get hosted in this beautiful location. The urban setting in the backyards of an ancient Courthouse in combination with the incomparable sound of the speakers, make the experience very authentic.

Still, the well-known saying “Everybody has their own taste” comes especially with music. So what if you don’t like one of those music directions? Not a problem at all, Berlin has everything. You’ll just have to look for it.

Here is a small list for events and locations:

For techno:

Good outside areas:

 

For Hip Hop:

  • Backyardjoints @ Panke Berlin ( every first Saturday of the month, Beats and good old Hip Hop)( 
  • Beatgeeks @ Monarch (https://www.facebook.com/BeatGeeksBerlin)
  • Swag Jam @ Badehaus in the RAW area ( cool band, solid raps, afterwards open mic for everyone/ every Tuesday)
  • East-West Sessions @ Panke Berlin
  • Watch out for concerts at the “Prince Charles”+ “Gretchen” ( great artist like Mick Jenkins were there

For Funk & Soul:

  • Wedding Soul @ Panke Berlin
  • Fluid Soul Radio @ Paloma Bar ( https://www.facebook.com/fluidsoulradio)
  • Das Zündet @ Humblodthain ( nice funky sounds downstairs, Upstairs often with nice hip hop beatsets by Klaus Layer)

For Jazz:

  • Jam @ Café Edelweis at Görlitzer Park
  • Watch out for concerts and Jams. In Berlin there is a lot of Jazz going on

You need more music or you want to share your own beloved songs?

This is not enough for you? Need some additional hints or you want to listen to more music like this? Just follow our Co-Founders Marc or Tobi on Soundcloud they are constantly searching and exploring new music in Berlin. Stay tuned!

Modern Loneliness - Problems of being a Newbie in modern cities

Urbanization and internationalism.

Two words that are not only bringing positive aspects for individuals and the society. When you are trying to find a flat nowadays, for example in Berlin, you will realize pretty fast how complicated this could get. When you also want to live in a flat together with like-minded people, then you will come to the conclusion that this is close to impossible.

Coming to a new cityand culture means a lot of bureaucratic processes and new terms and conditions to learn. Newbies often don’t know where to go, whom to ask or what to do. They are wasting more time on getting their life going then starting to experience the new place! They have less or no time to get to know the culture or the people. That's awful.

And even in the unlikely case that they well find some time during the on-boarding process, they won’t have the city knowledge and expertise at all. A guided city exploration is either very expensive or depends on flatmates or other third parties. Newbies are in a weak position and this caused already negative consequences such as criminal offenses.

Besides the functional problems newbies have to face, there are also emotional challenges. Even though we are more and more connected through digital technology and social media, we have an increasing feeling of loneliness. It’s hard to build meaningful relationships in these fast paced and overcrowded times. People and societies are coming closer and closer physically together, but at the same time we are all moving emotionally away from each other.

During the last two thousand years there have been institutions like the church, which offered a home and a safe harbor for a lot of people. Nowadays the impact of the church is rapidly decreasing at least in Europe, but which community is going to replace that? People are feeling lost and disorientated in the oversupply of information. What helps people to get to know a new city and it’s inhabitants without staying trapped in an “expat” bubble?

Well educated international people, so called Young Professionals, are realizing that they have a big impact on gentrification processes. This means a big struggle for a lot of them and leads to a social segmentation of locals and expats.

We realized this global problem through different experiences. One of our founders learned it in Grenoble during his stay there for his masters degree. Another one discovered itduring his time at the HPI Potsdam while studying Design Thinking and working on innovation projects. Both had very positive experiences and were realizing the importance of a strong community!

We are now ready to come up with solutions for both problems - gentrification and the “being a newbie” - pain. We think there are possibilities to solve that. If you interested in our concept - follow our journey and contact us!


The Happy Pigeons Team