Agriculture is the biggest cause of species extinction in Germany and Europe. It causes about 11% of greenhouse gas emissions in Germany and infertile soils for decades to come. Drinking water has to be purified from fertiliser residues at increasing costs, smallholders are losing their livelihoods, and genetic engineering finds its way into the world with its completely unpredictable risks for humans and nature.
A balance between use, healthy soil and intact wilderness was essential for 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 on destructive traits at an ever faster pace. The return to a healthy, nature-compatible land use, in which hare, lapwing, bluewing and cornflower are at home, is increasingly demanded by society today and is slowly leading to a rethinking of European agricultural policy.
The Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung contributes directly to nature-friendly land use in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania through an organic farm adjacent to the Nature reserve "Wüste & Glase". The farm participates in the WWF project "Agriculture and Biodiversity". In Sicily, the foundation supports traditional smallholder agriculture in the Etna region and is promoting the establishment of a UNESCO biosphere reserve in order to protect the richly structured agricultural landscape from incipient intensification.
Since its establishment, the foundation has donated to selected associations, e.g. for the promotion of the partridges and red kites in Lower Saxony or for legal actions against new large stables in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Berlin's commitment to varietal purity and diversity is supported, as is the Greifswald Agricultural Initiative for the dissemination of organic farming in northern Germany and - in accordance with our belief in the need for environmental education - school or community gardens.