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Dr. Klaus Henschel, Gartenbau Fontana:

"Corona will unleash renewed debate on sustainable production"

For almost three weeks now, the greenhouse facility of Fontana Gartenbau LLC, on the German-Polish border, has been full of activity. Despite the Corona virus, the regional cucumbers and tomatoes from Brandenburg have to be harvested as usual this year. As managing director of a medium-sized horticultural company, Dr. Klaus Henschel is generally positive about the future, especially for regional producers. According to the experienced grower, the crisis will unleash a renewed discussion on the topic of sustainable production.

In week 13, the first cucumbers of this year's season were harvested in the Küstriner Vorland, followed a week later by the first tomatoes. "Fortunately, the problem with the shortage of harvest workers does not affect us, as we have mainly regional workers available. On the other hand, we have had too few hours of sunshine so far, which has delayed the growth of the produce. As a result, we were able to harvest our regional fruit vegetables 10 days later than usual," Mr Henschel explains.

About 15 tomato varieties are cultivated using wires.

"No Planet B"
The horticultural company produces cucumbers on 0.6 ha and tomatoes on 0.8 ha, which are mainly marketed according to the motto "From the region, for the region" via direct marketing as well as via the regional wholesale trade. Over the years, the company has been able to establish itself in the regional specialised trade with its own logo Oderbruchgemüse. Indirectly, some of the goods also end up at regional Edeka markets, confirms Mr Henschel. "Both the regional trade and the end consumer appreciate our regional production and are also prepared to pay a reasonable price for it."

View into the greenhouse of Gartenbau Fontana. Some of the products are marketed by the Berlin wholesale company Malitz Frucht LLC.

Despite the current crisis, fruit vegetables from Europe's important growing regions - for example from neighbouring Netherlands - are now sold in the food retail trade at very reasonable prices. A thorn in the side of the Brandenburg gardener, just like the cultivation technique behind it. "Do we absolutely need year-round vegetables that are partly produced under lighting? I am firmly convinced that this will change after the crisis. We have to understand that there is no Planet B. We have to produce sustainably."

For more information:
Fontana Gartenbau GmbH
Dr. Klaus Henschel
Friedensstraße 23
15328 Küstriner Vorland OT Manschnow
Tel +49 (33472) 527
Fax +49 (33472) 529 

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