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.
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.
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:
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:
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!