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Thursday, 25. May 2017 (All day)

from May 25th  to 28th, 2017 in the Rhön


During the weekend around ascension day, we intend to meet again, this time in Gersfeld in Röhn. The theme will be "Animal Husbandry, where do we got to (Quo Vadis)?

We thought to approach it this way: We start with an introduction to history of animal husbandry, impacts and current trends. We can then look at some problems, possibly the impact of excessive application of dung and slurry, impacts on biodiversity and intensity of land use and look into alternatives - kepping sheep, eco-farming. Just in case, we can also organize a programme for kids.

Since Rhön is a bit remote, and we would like to organize visits in two groups, we rely on private cars. We hope to have abut 10 cars available, to be flexible.

Accommodation is at Gersfeld youth hostel,  – good value for (little) money, but with rather conventional facilities. For people who like to have it more cosy, the are hotels and B&B in the surroundings of Gersfeld.

We'll start on May 25th, at around 16:00 hours, and take our ways back on Sunday, after lunch. 

All are welcome, als non-members of Agrecol e.V. If you are interested, please contact info@agrecol.de. Registration by April 16th, please ask for a  programme and a link to doodle.

Lorenz, Wolfgang and Evelyn


Friday, 11. November 2016 (All day)

Experimental Site for Irrigation and Solar-Technology of Kassel University, Am Sande 3, 37213 Witzenhausen

Theme and Objective

The Topic "Energy in Agriculture and Rural Development" lies in the focus of international development co-operation and research. In our meeting, we intend to place the theme "energy use in agricultural production and processing" in the context of ecologically adapted production and lifelyhood systems, establish the actual state of the art of the topic, specifically the use of renewable energies, and learn and discuss about relevant innovations and ideas for development advisors. Thereby, we want, on the basis of study reports, case studies and practical examples, look at technologies in different production systems and value chains (induced changes, adaptation, benefits, unintended side effects, value added etc.)

Location of the Event and Practical Examples

With the faculty of ecological agriculture of the University of Kassel and the "German Institute for Tropical and Sub-Tropical Agriculture" (Deutsches Institut für Tropische und Subtropische Landwirtschaft (DITSL)) ,  Witzenhausen offers an inspiring environment for the event. The faculty looks back to more than 100 years of internationally oriented agricultural training and research and belongs to the few faculties, which placed development oriented agricultural research in the south and ecological agriculture in the foreground of its activities. The location at the experimental station of the faculty for agricultural engineering offers practical examples for research and development of agricultural production and processing technologies, which are based on the use of renewable energies. Besides presentations and extensive discussions, we plan to visit the bioland-eco-farm  Freudenthal, on saturday afternoon. The farm operates an innovative form of poultry keeping, in connection with a photovoltaic installation and a bio-gas plant. Also, they operate a horticultural section based on the concept of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Furthermore, the farm manager, Maximilian Weiland, has agreed to report about a project for photo-voltaic and water-generated energy recently initiated by him in the Philippines.

To enlighten the meeting more, we would be happy to receive poster or other media presentations about projects and technologies, which can be presented briefly and contribute to the discussion. Please inform us beforehand to facilitate planning.

Thursday, 29. May 2014 - 18

The Agrecol Family Meeting Spring 2014 took place in Traben-Trabach located at the middle section of river Mosel from May 25th to June 1st, 2014. The theme was "Limitations and Potentials of Ecological Viniculture on Steep Slopes".

Accommodation: Mittelmosel-Jugendherberge, Hirtenpfad 6, 56841 Traben-Trarbach.


Friday, 18. October 2013 - 18


Our meeting in autumn 2013 took place as planned in Germerode from October 18 to 20. The theme was "Smallholder farmers adapting to climate change". It was a small, but very active group of participants who presented experiences and suggestions towards the theme. During dicussions, it became obvious, that for smallholders and pastoralists in developing countries, climate change is only one of several stress factors such as land grabbing, fluctuations of produce and input prices, shortage of labour or invasive plants an animals.

Unfortuantely, Djibril Thiam of AGRECOL-Afrique could not attend due to last minute problems with visa.

Thursday, 9. May 2013 - 16


Agrecol-Letter Spring 2013 Göttingen, May 17, 2013


Dear Agrecol Community, dear friends,

A few days ago, we came back from Berlin, where our spring-family meeting took place, with 60 participants, and two film makers, one of the largest family meeting alltogether. And our age-structure has changed also. Relatively many children, if I counted correctly, 8 children under 10, 9 youths from 10 to 20, 4 early twens. Only, as one of the early twens remarked, hardly men at an age to be married (between 25 and 35). But we had older ones also: Helmut Gundert celebrated his 86th aniversary during the meeting. This much regarding statistics.

We found accommodation in a youth meeting centre (Jugendbegegnungsstätte) at Tunnelstraße, situated beautifully in a green area. The assembly room was a bit small for our group. Therefore, we were somehow lucky, that not everybody was present all the time. The weather was good, so we had not only rain, but could enjoy Berlin, and the garden behind the house, in sun shine.

The theme of the meeting was, as we all know, Urban Agriculture. Christine Martins, Susanne Hofmann-Souki and Verena Tigges prepared a very nice and interesting programme. They managed to convince 18 initiatives to receive us and present their activities. An enormous achievement.

We started off on Thursday with some introductory presentations. Christine (Martins) showed a powerpoint presentation by Arndt Zschocke - an overview from husbandmen through town-homegardens to modern forms of urban agriculture. Ann (Waters-Bayer) reported about her experiences during evaluating a programme for promoting urban agriculture in North America and Berthold (Schrimpf) about his respective work in South America.

On Friday, six small groups were formed to visit various initiatives. These were often multi-cultural (from the gay punk to the traditional turkish mother), often on industrial waste land, whereby, sometimes, the original soil was sealed off and new soil had been brougth in, for example on a concrete cover, or at least, the original soil had been exchanged knee deep, or cultivation was placed in crates and pots. Initiatives were more, or less strictly organized, individual plot sizes varied (often only 3 to 4 m²), and joint activities more, or less prevaling.

There were peculiarities, which can only be found in Berlin, such as the wall garden. When the wall was erected in 1961, it had to remain on East Berlin territory, and sometimes, there was a patch of no-mans land, directly at the wall. On one of these patches, a turkish family started gardening, and a wall garden developed, which is meanwhile being cultivated in the second generation.

Very recent initiatives developed on the Tempelhof airfield, closed in 2008, in the heart of the city. Since 2010, the Neukölln suburb initiative (Stadtgarten Schillerkiez), an intercultural initiative (Allmendekontor) and two other groups utilize a small part of the 300 ha large field. Also there, gardening is allowed only in structures above the ground, on smallest land for the inidividual, with great emphasis on joint actions and get-together. And always threatend by eviction, since the very expensive user contracts (one €/m²) are only concluded for one year. Despite this, there are waiting lists for interested gardeners.

Another specific case were formerly occupied houses, where, meanwhile, inhabitants have become members of a cooperative, and who have maintained many joint activities - shopping, occasional cooking, common rooms. Agriculture is rather a side line, two bee hives on the roof, a lawn of spring onions, else more leasure garden. A vertical reed-sewage plant is still in place, but out of operation - too much work. One back-yard has a special history, a former cow-stable (used till 1975), and a pig-stall (also not used any more as such) in the cellar. The time of milking farms (according to new paper reports formerly 5 000, with 50 000 cows) is now over in Berlin, but not yet in many developing countries. Can we still learn something from the old Berlin?

During the session of information exchange, Peter Neunhäuser presented the latest work of his wife Ingeborg about the topic of "Agre-Koller" (somehow "agre-craze") and urban agriculture. It was really worth listening. (The poem is attached in the German part of the web-site). Are we now entering the sphere of literature? A note of explanation: Already before the meeting, we had discussions whether what we planned to see should be called Urban Agriculture, or Urban Gardening. Ingeborg found some obsession with Peter (a gardener by his studies) regarding this question. During the visit of an initiative at Gleisdreieck, we found a sign "railway farming" at the fence, which led, particularly with Peter, to new convictions.

After the annual members-meeting on Saturday morning, we organized a "Market". Each group had put together the essential experiences from their visits to the initiatives in words and/or pictures and presented them briefly. During the presentations, several things popped up: for one, that also people, who work as moderators, sometimes have difficulties in keeping time limits, but also, how well our young participants make presentations. The youngest presenter was 13 years old. The presentations showed the mulitude of initiatives in urban gardening / agriculture in Berlin, and the relevance mainly of its social dimension.

Almut Hahn had sent some information about an intiative in Senegal. There, it appears, a middle sized town plans to expand and needs land for construction. The land taken into consideration, however, is being utilized by farmers, who, in turn, don't have secure land titles. Almut asks for support. Urban agriculture is, other than in Berlin, largely or excusively the basis for living for the affected families. Her letter is attached in the German part of the web-site.

Already during the introductory sessions on Thursday evening, Gerda Münnich, head of the organisation Intercultural Gardens in Berlin and Brandenburg, was present. On Friday and Saturday, she received our groups at the Almendekontor at the former Tempelhof airfield and told us much about the history of urban agriculture. Every visitor to Berlin should, by all means, visit this astonishing area and admire its size and vividness.

On Saturday evening a young couple of the University of Arts showed us the film "Sprechende Gärten" ("Speaking Gardens") - Regie Teresa Beck (teresbeck@gmail.com), and camera René Reichelt. The film is still in development, is already now very impressive and reflects very well our impressions gained during the weekend. An earlier film by Teresa about an urban gardening project of arts students at the University can be seen under: http://vimeo.com/48128934.

On Sunday - unfortunately, many participants had already left - Lea Forster and Marta Stuckenschmidt reported about their internships in Bolivia. Last year, we could not sent any students to Senegal, the political situation was too tense. The technical aspects of the internships were good, but organisationally, there were some shortcomings. At first, both felt to be left alone, but, since they had already some experiences in Bolivia, they could absorb some of it. Then, again, there was no real work programme for their stay, and particularly Maria often felt more to be a casual worker rather than a partner in the work of Agrecol-Andes. In the end, in both cases, some reasonble results were achieved, but it appears to be a matter of balance. On the one hand, students should primarly gain experiences, on the other side, an organisation who wants to host students, should contribute something. Payment for accommodation, travel and food by the hosting organisation should be possible. But then, there is no budget for it.

During the annual meeting the report by the chairperson, an overview over finances, the report of the audit and others were presented. Members will receive minutes and attachements by seperate mails. Of interest to all, however, will be the planning of future meetings:

Autum meeting 2013 (18. - 20. Oct.): Supporting the adaption of smallholders to climatic changes. Altes Forsthaus Germerode near Kassel.

Spring meeting 2014 (May 29 to June 1st ): Eco-Wine production at river mosel

Autum meeting 2014 (date not yet determined): Social sustainability of ecological agriculture, in Bergisches Land.

Spring meeting 2015 (May 14 to May 18): Farmer led research and innovation on the suebian Alb.

At last, again many wholehearted thanks to Christine, who carried the main burden regarding logistics, to Susanne, who was more active in the conceptual orientation (to which Christine also contributed a lot), and to Verena (a former stipend), who does not study agriculture any more, but theology, who kept herself more in the background, but who was always there when need arose. Also tanks to Jochen Currle and Tommy Becker for the moderatiom during the weekend, to Sibylle Pich for the accounts, to Gudrun Soergel and Ute Schneiderat for the audit, and to Georg Duerr for writing minutes of the annual meeting. The hosts in Tunnelstraße - Mr. Thomas and Mrs Burkhardt - made an extraordinary effort to make us feel comfortable - a very warm Thank You to both!

Pictures from the meeting can be placed on the Agrecol web-site through Tommy Becker (thomas.becker@agrecol.de). Who would like to see the pictures, should look them up on the German part of the web-site (www.agrecol.de/?q=VergangeneTreffen).

With agrecol-ic greetings from Wolfgang Bayer, Sibylle Pich, Jochen Currle, Tommy Becker and Ann Waters-Bayer

Friday, 5. October 2012 - 18


The privatisation in the seed industry is moving on unimpeded and the boundaries of meaningful privatisation and concentration have been crossed since long. Only ten international seed companies control more than 75 percent of the worldwide commercially trade seed, through patents or laws for varietal protection. The creation of private ownership rights in the hands of few demonstrates in a glaring manner, how the trend of the formation of monopolies negatively affects biological diversity and innovation in plant breeding. An increasing number of voices are being raised, also from breeders, that see in the overemphasis of intellectual property rights an impediment to innovation development. Breeders complain more and more about lack of access to basic materials for genetic improvements.

Encouraging counter-models focussing on the creation of common goods are still at an infant stage. This includes international sets of regulations such as the seed convention with farmers rights, the convention on biodiversity with the access and benefit sharing regime and the Interlaken Convention with the demand for Livestock Owners Rights.

At the same time, there are a number of initiatives, which endeavour to maintain or develop seed or animal races as common goods. This poses the question, how these alternative approaches can be designed conceptionally, legally secured and turned into a power base. This does not only refer to the creation of say varieties to be registers as common goods, but also to maintaining the character of commons for subsequent generations.

For about 10 year, under the term of "Bio-Linux", the idea to take up the principle of open source developed for information technology, also in the area of genetic resources, to apply the principles for the development of seed, and to develop corresponding procedures. Thereby, important questions are:

  • how can the Copy-left principle be realised in plant breeding

  • which possibilities are there to sell seed (to be able to finance future breeding) and, at the same time, maintain its common source character

  • how could a Bio-Linux look like

During our AGRECOL-Weekend in October, we tackled these, and other questions.

The programme was

Fr. 17:00       Registration, Coffee/Tea

Fr. 17.30       Welcome, Introduction to the theme

Fr. 18:30       Supper

Fr. 20.00      

  • Silke Helfrich: Wealth throught Sharing – the actual status of the commons-movement (Presentation / Discussion 45/15’). A paper on this topic may be obtained from Böll-Foundation (info@boell.de)

Sa. 9:00 – 10:30

  • Susanne Gura: The contribution of Farmers’ Rights towards maintaining common goods - case study  (Presentation / Discussion 30/15’)
  • Lorenz Bachmann: Free Access to Seed, the example of Masipag, Philippines
  • Evelyn Mathias: The Livestock Keepers Rights and the state of their implementation (Presentation / Discussion 30/15’)
  • Gebhard Rosmanith: Open Source - Breeding - how can it be financed? (Presentation / Discussion 30/15’)

Sa. 14:00 – 15:30

  • Walk around Dottenfelder Hof, visit of the seed breeding in the research section

Coffee and cake

Sa 16:30 – 18:30

  • Gregor Kaiser / Johannes Kotschi: Open-Source Models for seed – how could a „Biolinux“ function? (Präsentation / Diskussion 30/15


Sa 20:00

  • AGRECOL Information session and informal get together

So 9:00 – 10:30

  • group work

Tea/Coffee Break

So 10:30 – 12:00

  • Plenary Presentation und Discussion of results of group work

So 12:00  Closing, possibly joint lunch

The meeting took place at Dottenfelder Hof,   http://www.dottenfelderhof.de/dottenfelderhof.html, a well established Eco-farm. Lively discussions centred around the questions, whether one should aim at changing the legal frame for breeding, reviving the ideas of "common goods", or to issue licences for "Open Source" varieties. On fincancing, the concept of crowd funding, a mechanism of collecting funds through internet, was raised as an option. A  documentation of the findings, though only in German, is attached below:


Presentations, Discussions and Follow-Up of the meeting


For further discussions, please

Contact: Johannes Kotschi, E-mail: kotschi@t-online.de

Thursday, 17. May 2012 - 17

The Family meeting spring 2012 took place in Schmochtitz near Bautzen in Oberlausitz, Saxony, from May 17 to 20, 2012. The theme of the meeting was:

The Conflict between Agriculture and Protection of Nature exemplified by the most recent migration of Wolves into the Area of Lausitz.

Maintaining biological diversity and protecting nature are more and more important themes in Middle and Eastern Europe. In the cause of increased efforts in these fields, the populations of wolves have increased as well. Young wolves move in in the search for mating partners, often over long trails. Distances of 500 km are not unusual. Thus, wolves came back into Oberlausitz twelve years ago, to make it their new habitat. This has impacts on farmers, hunters, foresters and providers of tourism in the region.

In our meeting, we talked to representatives of those affected, to learn their views on problems and chances resulting from the in-migration of wolves. And, of course, we also acquainted ourselves intensively with our new neighbour, the wolf: Which packs of wolves exist in the region, where do they come from, where do they move to, what are they feeding on, how do the hunt, and how do they react towards humans and their livestock.

Furthermore, we took the case of wolf migration to have a look at the theme "Nature versus Agriculture", which more and more moves into focus worldwide. How much "wild habitat" can agriculture tolerate?, are there forms of landuse, which are more compatible with protection of nature?, which sensible arrangement could ease potential conflicts between agriculture and protection of nature? These are some of the questions we raised and discussed, also in view of our own experiences with the theme in development co-operation.

Our Programme:

  • Thursday: Arrival, supper, introductory presentations, market with short  presentations
  • Friday: Contact office wolf region of Lausitz, excursion on wolf tracks
  • Saturday: Visiting Bio-Farmers, adventure hiking on the nature trail near Guttau
  • Sunday:  Presentations by AGRECOL in-service students, annual meeting of AGRECOL members, visit to Bautzen and departure after lunch.

Additional information on the issues may be obtained from some interesting articles (in german) from "Schafzucht", the journal for sheep and goat farmers.


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Friday, 14. October 2011 - 18


The working session of Autumn 2011 took place from October 14 to October 16, 2011 in Stuttgart. The theme of the meeting was  CO2 trade and its effects on sustainable land use and small holder agriculture.

Below we enclose the papers presented during the meeting, and some further documents which might be of interest.

Presentations of the meeting

Introductory presentation by Felix Nickel: Hintergrund, EU-Emissionshandel, Klimaschutzprojekte





Presentation by Reinhard Pfeiffer: CO2 mitigation - AFOLU




Presentation by Marlis Kees: Carbon Markets for Improved Cooking Stoves



Further documents, referred to during out discussions:

Deutsche Bank research: Mitigating climate change through agriculture
Meridian Institute: Agriculture and Climate Change: a scoping report: 1. full report, 2. executive summary


Accompanying  documents

The website of Carbonwatch contains many interesting contributions and readers about  carbon trade: http://www.carbontradewatch.org/

Also interesting are several comments and further articles published in taz on the debate about Yasuni, including a comment by Dirk Niebel:

About the same issue, there are further articles in taz:


If you have further documents which may be of interest please sent them to thomas.becker@agrecol.de .


Thursday, 2. June 2011 - 16

The meeting, with families, took place from June 2 to 5, 2011 in Kehl on River Rhine. Theme: Fishery, River bed regulation and flood management

River bed regulation has led to great changes on river Rhine near Kehl over the last fourty years, to the disadvantage of nature and the landscape, but also of fishery. Professional fishery on river Rhine was abandoned after the last professional fisher died few years ago. The Fishery Association of Goldscheuer near Kehl endevours to maintain favourable condition for fish stock, or, to re-establish such conditions after flood protection installations have been put in place. Thereby, fishery sees itself in conflicting situations with the administration for water and flood management,  but also against business interests, such as shipping, excavation of river sands and agriculture, and against the interests of protection of nature groups.  We learnt about history, present and future of fishery on river Rhine during that weekend.

Thursday: Arrival, Introduction to the topic: The Rhine river bed regulation of Tulla and its effects 

Friday: History of Goldscheuer, a village of fischers and gold washers,

Visit to Straßburg

Saturday: Fischery on river Rhine today ,

AGRECOL–Members meeting

Sunday: Presentations by AGRECOL-Inservice students,

Lunch, Departure


For further information and registration please contact AGRECOL.

Friday, 15. October 2010 - 2
We held the working session of 2010 at Dottenfelder Hof in Bad Vilbel from October 15 to 17. The theme was Soil fertility. Normally, the farm does not host any workshops, but for us, or rather the main organiser, Johannes Kotschi, the farm community made an exception. Accommodation was spartanic, and we prepared breakfast and supper ourselves at the farm-school. However, living and working together for two intensive days created a very warm atmosphere.

We were all very much taken with the farm and the many-fold actitivities of the farm community – besides bio-dynamic agriculture with cereals, vegetables, fruits and livestock (about 80 dairy cattle plus pigs and poultry) there are a bakery, cheese making, a restaurant, a farm shop, the agricultural college, research and, further more, various events for people from around.  We enjoyed the freshly pressed apple juice and the many other farm products. During the tour through farm and fields, and later-on while having coffee, we had lively discussions with bio-farmer Martin van Mackensen over many different topics, from compost making to decision making in the farm community, which is composed of several families. We were impressed, that the managers of the farm keep to the principles of the founding father of DEMETER eco-farming Rudolf Steiner, but react pragmatically on practical issues. And for other climatic zones than Germany, they can admit, that there, extracts from stinging nettles may probably need to be replaced by extracts from other plants.

The programme for the weekend was a well balanced mixture of presentations, discussions, group work and visits. Joachim Raupp brought an overview over biological-dynamic methods of agriculture, from a scientific point of view (he has long-standing experience in research), above all about the effect of bio-dynamic extracts on root growth. Johannes talked about use of mineral fertilizers in the ecological intensification of Agriculture, a study he made recently on behalf of AGRECOL. Berthold Schrimpf and Johannes contributed their observations on „Conservation farming“ in the tropics. Willem Stoop reported about the relation between SRI (System of Rice Intensification) and soil fertility. In group work sessions, we exchanged further experiences with „ecological intensification“ and  „conservation agriculture“ in smallholder agriculture at  sub-humid and semiarid locations – and one group dealt with the question what actually is being intensified with „ecological intensification“ ( and proposed Knowledge and Creativity).

Many thanks to Johannes, who organised the session thematically and logistically, and to Jochen Currle and Georg Dürr for the moderation during the seminar. We also thank Martin van Mackensen for the guided tours and the discussion about the life and makings at  Dottenfelder Hof and Reinhard Lübbert from the agricultural college for organising our accommodation and food.


for further information please contact:  


Saturday, 1. October 2005 (All day)

Agrecol Wochenende vom 1. bis 3. 10. 2005 in Weikersheim

Wasser und nachhaltige Landnutzung


Materialzusammenstellung für das Treffen

Eine Zusammenstellung interessanter Dokumente und Internet-links, die Reinhild Schepers für das Treffen zusammengestellt hat, finden sie hier. (Acrobatdatei ca. 1 MB).



Zusammenstellung der Präsentationen des Treffens

Eine Art Proceedings des Treffens mit den vorgestellten Präsentationen, einigen Texten und den Teilnehmern finden sie hier. (Acrobatdatei ca 1 MB). Die Präsentation zum Thema ganzheitliche Abwassersysteme ist wegen seiner Größe (1,8 MB) in einer separaten Datei. Unten die Übersicht der Inhalte.

Präsentationen des_AGRECOL-meetings_2005-10

Präsentation Ganzheitliche Abwassersysteme


Additional paper on water-saving opportunities with SRI

Satyanarayana, A; Thiyagarajan, T. M. & Uphoff, Norman:
Opportunities for water saving with higher yield using the system of rice intensification.



Inhaltsübersicht der Präsentationen

Ursula Gröhn-Widdern: Wasser und nachhaltige Entwicklung
Hans Hartung: Überlegungen zu Wasser und nachhaltige Landwirtschaft

Systembetrachtungen, Systemvergleiche mit Bezug auf Wasserquantität, Wasserausnutzung, Wasserqualität
Johannes Kotschi: Systembetrachtungen zur Wassernutzung in der Landwirtschaft –
Versuch eines Vergleichs ökologisch – konventionell
Wolfgang Bayer und Evelyn Mathias: Wasser und Tierhaltung
Evelyn Mathias Case study: Camels on the way out in Rajasthan?

Lokale Systeme und gemeinsame Managementansätze
Ann Waters-Bayer Promoting local innovation in water management (Powerpoint)
Ann Waters-Bayer Promoting local innovation in water management (Text)
Thomas Becker Watershed management – a few conceptual thoughts

Wassersparende Technologien und –Techniken
Ganzheitliche Abwassersysteme als Teil der landwirtschaftlichen Produktion (Extra-Datei)
Willem Stoop The “system of rice intensification” (SRI):
a clash between paradigms

Group Brainstorming