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Continental Seed Tour
6 August 2016 @ 7:00 pm - 10 August 2016 @ 7:00 pm
Why not join a four day seed tour visiting 2 well established vegetable seed production and plant breeding enterprises in Germany.
It has been an idea for a while to organise a visit to a couple of seed production and plant breeding enterprises on the Continent for organic growers.
This is an opportunity to see how a 250 ha farm and a 4 ha garden and seed company can integrate seed production and plant breeding with crop production.
The places for visiting:
We would first visit Dottenfelderhof a 250 ha biodynamic farm which started in 1968 with 5 farmers and their families. The farm is situated just on the northern outskirts of Frankfurt by Bad Vilbel. Today the farm is home to a fine herd of dairy cows with pigs and poultry enterprises and extensive vegetable and cereal production. In 1989 the market garden ventured into seed production and a few years later started also vegetable plant breeding which today feature prominently on the farm. Besides the vegetable seed initiative the farm also embarked on cereal breeding and animal breeding. Dottenfelderhof is actively engaged in various research projects. They run an accredited 4 year agricultural training program for young farmers and gardeners. All their own milk is processed into cheeses, quark and other dairy products and they run an on farm bakery, milling flour from their own grain crops. They manage a large farm shop and the farm today accommodates just over 100 people young and old, all living on the farm.
We will stay at Dottenfelderhof for the duration of our visit where they will provide all meals.
The second place to visit is Bingenheimer Saatgut, which is situated about an hour north of Frankfurt in the village of Bingemheim and is the main seed distribution centre and company for the Biodynamic and ecological seed initiative in Germany. They produce an extensive seed catalogue yearly which is also available in English. About 20 staff is employed at Bingenheim and facilities for seed handling and seed cleaning, grading, storing, testing is all part of the set up. 1600 sq m of greenhouses are used for elite seed production and breeding work and about 4 ha of fields are used for seed production and plant breeding.
Seed crops at Bingenheim include beans, tomatoes, onions, carrots, lettuce, different brassica species, other vegetable crops, herbs and flowers. For example the beetroot variety Janis was bred at Bingenheim. Bingenheim has been expanding over recent years as more people opt to use organic and open pollinated seeds.
Arrive at Tablehurst Farm in Forest Row, East Sussex to pitch tents and stay the night. Supper possible in local pubs and restaurants. The farm staff has agreed that people can leave their cars on the farm during the days we are away.
Early start. Pack tents. Depart from Tablehurst Farm at 7 am. Drive via Euro tunnel to the Continent and arrive at Dottenfelderhof near Frankfurt in the evening. 490 miles.
Tour of Dottenfelderhof in the morning to see seed crops in situ plus their seed drying and processing facilities and plant breeding in the afternoon. Accommodation in shared rooms and meals catered for by the farm. Free evening to wander round the farm.
After breakfast we travel to visit Bingenheimer saatgut an hour away and spend the day seeing the seed work. We would look at seed crops in situ and seed crops which have been harvested as well as and their seed processing set up. We will also look at their plant breeding work.
Return to D’felderhof in the late afternoon. Supper on the farm.
Early start to travel back to England via the Euro tunnel arriving back in Sussex in the evening. Pitch tents and go for supper.
Accommodation and meals costs:
- Accommodation and meals total if helping out in the kitchen; £ 70 per person
- Accommodation and meals total if not helping out in the kitchen : £ 83 per person
Travelling to Germany:
Scenario 1) Costs, with hiring a minibus:
Mini bus hire for 14 people, Euro tunnel and fuel expenses total : £ 1013
Examples: 14 people travelling would cost £ 72. 36 per person; 10 people travelling would cost £ 101.30 per person.
The costs become less the more people that come.
Scenario 2) Costs, driving with several cars:
Using cars rather than minibus, Eurotunnel and fuel expenses total: £ 280 pr car and 4 people.
( £ 70 per person )
In theory the lowest cost would be less than £ 150 per person which is very good value.
All enquiries and bookings please by July 1st 2016 to the organiser. Thank you.
Most Germans will speak some English and I personally have a fair understanding of German. But perhaps we may be lucky to get a German speaking person to travel with us.