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Our Global Field: Opening Ceremony in Berlin!

The sun is shining, the vegetables are tasty, and there’s plenty for all!

After weeks of cold weather, the sun finally come out in time to witness the opening ceremony of our Global Field at the IGA. About 300 guests were already standing between our kitchen in the field and our tree of luxury. The wheat and oats stretch under the protection of nets, and the information stations are shining green in the bright light of spring.

Volker Gehrmann und Jan Ganschow

The day on the field had started a long time before this stampede of visitors. Our entire team and volunteers had been here from 11am helping with preparations; from lugging crates, chopping vegetables and preparing children’s workshop stations for root windows and seedball making, while our 2000m2 illustrator Annika Huskamp was painting children’s faces instead of brochures. There is enough work to keep all our dedicated helpers busy. We are all excited that at 5pm the vegetables begin to sizzle in a stir fry, beer is cooled under the tree, and it is at last time for celebration.



Just before that, I explained to an enterprising lady that the straw sacks next to our two pigs are not intended  as a sofa, but to demonstrate the amount of feed required for the breeding of pigs. With the amount of space available on the Global Field, we could only fatten two pigs to slaughter weight. ‘Aha’ says the lady as she gets off the sacks and walks on to the next information centre, our popular “surface buffet” which demonstrates the arable area required to produce different meals. For the opening ceremony we also calculated the area of cropland that we were about to eat and staked the area with coloured flags: just 20m² was sufficient to grow a vegetable soup for 300 guests. The area required for a barbecue of collar steak and sausages would have looked quite different. A total of 15 stations and 48 information panels inform the Global Field’s visitors on various aspects of modern nutrition and global agriculture, from biodiesel to sugar cane.


Amélie Dupuy-Cailloux


At half past five exactly, Benny Haerlin opened the celebrations with novelty facts like one from a special report in the current issue of ‘Nature’, which like the IGA was also sponsored by Nestle. “The report confirms precisely what our global field illustrates: malnourishment is no longer the biggest health issue of the human race, but rather obesity. More and more people have a poor diet and are overweight, while agriculture and ecosystems of the world are sickened by over production.” The health conscious and urban crowd nods in agreement. “Nevertheless, the remainder of the article was merely concerned with methods for increasing production, such as the use of genetic engineering to make plants more efficient in photosynthesis.

Uli Frohnmeyer from the IGA Campus describes the Global Field as “the place with the highest information density on the IGA” while Burkhard Träder, president of the small garden colony Kienberg, is very pleased with the good relationship he has with his neighbor on the Global Field.


Volker Gehrmann und Jan Ganschow


Throughout the evening there are two guided tours for our highly interested guests, led by the Global Field farmer, Gerd Carlsson, and our soon to depart coordinator, Laura Klein. Beans, peas and rapeseed had begun to sprout following the last few days of rain, while the flax seeds had sprouted their cotyledons from the soil just in time for the opening of the field.

Volker Gehrmann und Jan Ganschow

In the next few weeks there’s a lot that still needs to be sowed and planted. Many cultures still wait in preliminary cultivation under the polytunnel, because it is still too cold in the open air. Some even had the luxury of a heated environment, for example the yams, rice, cotton, and the tomatoes. After the Three Saints (12-14 May), the hard life on the open field begins for them, too.

And finally, with the joint Bantam-Planting Activity on May 20th, a variety of firm, GMO-free maize seed joins the global field at last.


Volker Gehrmann und Jan Ganschow

While the children had flower meadows painted on their foreheads, the adults listened to short entertaining presentations by Stig Tanzmann (Brot für die Welt), Philipp Brändle (Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft), Sebastian Vornhecke (Kultursaat), Ute Scheub (Author) and Tobias Keye (Biobodengenossenschaft).



A combination of Steffi Doll’s soup of rescued vegetables, organic bread, Elderberry cordial and Kreuzberg local beer, acid jazz and electro funk saw out the global field party until IGA security pleaded, despite every sympathy, for the party to depart elsewhere. By the end, we had distributed so much to the 500 visitors throughout the day, that no vegetables were left to eat, and more than 200 Seedballs and 20 root windows were crafted. The Global Field 2017season is officially open! And it all went according to plan… or perhaps even a little better!


Volker Gehrmann und Jan Ganschow