The day trip to the Rhön started at 8:15. The aim was to introduce the students to the biosphere reserve from an ecological point of view, especially the breeding of indigenous farm animals such as Rhön sheep and red mountain cattle.
The Rhön is characterised by a large number of sustainably producing and processing agricultural enterprises, some of which were visited:
First, the participants gained insight into the processing of slaughtered meat at the „Landmetzgerei Kleinhenz“. The participants found the labelling, which precisely shows the type of meat, date of birth and slaughter, cut and origin of the animal, particularly interesting. The butchery only delivers to its customers once a week. If the school canteen were supplied by Metzgerei Kleinhenz, the weekly menu would have to be changed a lot and mainly vegetarian dishes would have to be offered. This would require a lot of creativity, and the DGE standard guidelines for a balanced diet should not be neglected. However, reducing meat consumption would protect the environment and health.
The second place to go in the Rhön was the Weber organic farm. There, Rhoen sheep, game and red mountain cattle – a cattle breed threatened with extinction – are kept. In addition, Mr Weber bakes bread once a week with an old type of grain – the Urkorn, which he grows himself. This grain causes few allergies. However, the preparation takes a lot of time, as he traditionally makes the bread with sourdough. The bread is marketed exclusively regionally in his own farm shop; customers become aware of him through word-of-mouth. Mr. Weber cannot guarantee the production of large quantities of bread due to his limited acreage and the implementation of biodiversity. The price of the meat offered by Weber is still higher than that of organic meat, but this does not lead to sales difficulties due to the extremely high quality. Large farms, however, can only buy in limited quantities due to the high price level and the low production volume. In the middle of the nature reserve we met the shepherd of the endangered Rhön sheep, who explained to us how sheep farming can be used to maintain and fertilise the Rhön in a natural way. The visit to Weber impressively illustrated how the closed sustainable economic cycle, and thus environmentally and climate-friendly living, can function. This gave the participants a feeling for natural quality.
The third visit was to the „Pax“ brewery in Oberelsbach. There, master brewer Seufert presented his business concept to us. He has combined innovative business ideas with traditional beer brewing. He attaches great importance to organic ingredients, as far as this is possible. Even if the inclusion of the Pax brewery’s products for the canteen of the Klara-Oppenheimer-Schule is not up for debate :-), the students gained an insight into an innovative company that sources its ingredients from the region.
Finally, the participants stopped at the Volkersberg Youth Education Centre, a former monastery of the Franciscan Superior Friars. Here, only regional food is purchased, which has led to a unique distinction of the“ three thistles“. The participants were thus able to take a look at a canteen run almost exclusively with regional food and fortify themselves there with a wonderful dinner after a strenuous but very informative day.