In the Hanseatic town of Salzwedel there are not only pretty half-timbered houses but also one of the first organic food stores in the region
Interview with Felix Neumann from the Grünland organic food store
Ecological and regional shopping – even to your doorstep
Felix Neumann has been running a shop in Salzwedel for a good 20 years, where he prefers to sell organic products from the region. Thanks to current discussions about climate protection, sustainability and healthy nutrition, his shop has gained in popularity.
Felix Neumann has been occupied with ecological and regional farming for a long time. Environmental protection and sustainability are important to him and were the motivation to open his own organic food store here in the Altmark. In his opinion there are still too few of them. The number of certified organic farms in the Altmark agricultural region is also relatively manageable. "Regionality is very important to many people. They do not want their fruit and vegetables to be transported halfway around the world. Buying regionally is important to support the local economy. For me, however, this only makes sense if organic farming is also practised here. The term 'regional' is not protected and is therefore a matter of definition by the provider. This can also mean regionally from Germany. Regional here means from the Wendland and the Altmark." Felix' entire business model is ecologically focused. In addition to the organic food store, he has been offering a delivery service for a good two years now, through which customers throughout the Altmark region can order an "organic food box". A popular concept in large cities, which is also well received here. There are boxes with fruit, vegetables or mixed products. The content comes from certified organic farming and is planned as seasonally as possible, i.e. with what is currently growing. The needs are then discussed with the local farmers. This gives them planning security and they know that the vegetables they grow are also being purchased. Initially there were doubts as to whether it was ecological to "drive five kilos of tomatoes thirty kilometres by car". But the routes are so well planned that they are only four to five kilometres to the customer on average, and there are plans to make even fewer. With delivery, the products are also collected from the producers, which saves additional distances.
It was important to Felix Neumann that the boxes are reusable and that there is practically no packaging waste. He has been occupied with the subject of packaging for a long time and wants to encourage a conscious approach to it. There are paper bags at the organic food store. But instead of having to pay for the bag, his customers get an "eco-bonus" if they don't take a bag with them, because they have their own bag or basket with them. Meanwhile there is an unpackaged station and a milk filling station in his shop. Felix Neumann is delighted that as part of the climate debate it is becoming increasingly important to buy unpackaged food and to prefer organic farming. "A rethink is slowly taking place. Many people are realising that things can't go on as they are." For the Altmark region, he would like to see more environmentally friendly agriculture and encouragement for farms converting to organic farming. "My wish for the future, of course, would be for the whole world to work like this. But for starters I would like to see more appreciation for organic farming and that more is done for organic farming in our beautiful Altmark."