Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Month of Meats: Getting Settled in Witzenhausen

My first month in Germany has been a wild ride - a European vacation and ruthlessly challenging 60hr work week at once....but there is definitely no complaining. I am located in the heart of Germany, the state of Hesse, in the fairytale village of Witzenhausen. The former home and inspiration for the Brothers Grimm, Witzenhausen is a small river town where the hillsides are dotted with gingerbread houses and rosy-cheeked women cloak themselves in abundant woolen warmth. And the meats ain’t bad either ;)

Here in town, on both sides of the river Werra, lie the two campuses of the Faculty of Biological Agriculture for the University of Kassel. It is here, and, for one day a week, at the southern urban center of Fulda, that I will master a wide variety of practical skills needed to manage a small-scale sustainable meat processing plant upon my return to the US.
While I am confident I can gain the skills here that I need to create an innovative meat operation at home - many readers might be surprised to learn
of the wide diversity of interpretations that the word “sustainability” has here on the academic front-lines of the world’s food trade. When I talk to some students and teachers around campus, I can tell I am viewed as ‘an extremist’ in my views on producing cows with out any grain. Yet, when I talk with many others, I can equally ascertain that my complete lack of interest in Organic Certification is disconcerting to that segment of the school. For me, this plethora of thought is an environment we should always seek to immerse ourselves in. Only through critical thinking and frequent discussion will our food system become what we know it can be - ideal!

Tomorrow - I go to Gottingen after class to the fleischereibedarf (butcher supply store) - and pick up the few remaining pieces for my newly obtained hand-crank meat-grinder.....Get ready for a rainbow of sausages the likes of which few Americans have ever seen!

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