Intensive Agriculture is the biggest cause of species extinction in Germany and Europe. It also causes about 11% of greenhouse gas emissions in Europe, and soils to become deteriorate and eventually become infertile on the long term. Furthermore, we have to bear increasing costs of drinking water purification because of fertiliser residues, small-scale farmers are losing their livelihoods, and we are dealing with unpredictable consequences for humans and nature due to the introduction of genetic engineered crops. Once, the balance between utilization and health of soils, and intactness of the wilderness was essential for our survival. With the introduction of mineral fertilizers and pesticides some hundred years ago, this balance no longer seemed necessary. Since then, our agriculture has taken destructive paths at ever faster paces. The return to a healthy and nature-compatible land use is today increasingly demanded by our society and is slowly leading to a rethinking of European agricultural policy.
The Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung contributes to nature-friendly land use in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania through the organic farm Gut Barz, neighbouring the Nature reserve "Wüste & Glase" and also participating in the WWF project "Agriculture and Biodiversity". In Sicily we support traditional small-scale farming in the Etna region and promote the establishment of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in order to prevent the richly structured agricultural landscape from intensification. In addition, we are continuously engaged in immensely important environmental education, including school gardens or community gardens, like for example in Sicily the EUKI project "Frutti per la Biosfera", which is currently being replicated in the Balkans through Euronatur with the help of our donation.
Furthermore, we participate in the European Citizens' Initiative "Save bees and Farmers" and regularly support selected associations and initiatives. Examples include the Biological Conservation Society Göttingen, which cares for partridge and red kite habitat conservation in Lower Saxony, BUND's lawsuits against new large-scale intensive animal farms in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Save our Seeds' commitment to varietal purity and diversity, the Greifswald agricultural initiative of the Michael Succow Foundation and Finc Foundation to increase organic farming in northern Germany, independent research and lawsuits by Test Biotech on introduction of genetic engineered crops, the support of the Munich Environmental Institute in its commitment to pesticide-free agriculture in South Tyrol, and NABU for its influence on a nature-friendly drafting of the Common Agricultural Policy in Europe.