In autumn 2015 the museum was certified by the EU-Eco-regulation (reference number: DE-ÖKO 006). All agricultural products of the museum can now carry the well-known label for EU certified organic food – the Euro Leaf. Just as required, it took us two years to make sure animal husbandry as well as farmlands and meadows were completely switched to organic farming. It will take a third year before the fruit from the orchards can claim the label organic, too.
The certification as an organic farm is tied to high standards with regard to environmental protection and animal welfare, the compliance to which has to be checked regularly. Seeds and plants need to come from organic sources. The use of chemical and synthetic fertilisers on the farmland is forbidden, and pesticides are only allowed when they are organically certified as well. All farm animals must have access to open-air areas. They are only allowed to be fed with organically certified feed, and fodder made from genetically modified plants is generally forbidden. New animals for breeding have to be bought from other organically certified farms.
Since historical agriculture as practised by the open-air museum already complies with the guidelines of organic production methods, there were only a few changes to be made to become eligible for the certification. After all, factory farming, genetic engineering and synthetic pesticides had been unheard of until about one hundred years ago. However, animals often had to live in conditions which did not foster animal welfare. Therefore, the historical stables at Hessenpark can usually not be used as animal shelters without additional access to the outdoors. Another common method of yore was tethering the animal up – which also goes against guidelines on organic farming. Historically accurate farming at Hessenpark is practiced through the three-field system; a system which has been proven a sustainable method for centuries and which is also in compliance with the requirements of organic farming.
If you’re now hungry for a bite of Hessenpark’s very own organic products you can stop for various sausage specialities from the German saddleback pig or, if they’re in season, potatoes and apples at the museum shop in the entrance building. Of course, these products can also be bought at their respective stalls at our major events.