Not far from the German capital lies the Uckermark, a region dotted with small lakes, old water mills, and nature reserves. This location is also home to the Peetzig farm, an estate that dates back more than 150 years, and one that Wildling enjoys a very special partnership with.
In the Uckermark lakeland countryside, much of the land is used for agriculture – as is the case with the Peetzig farm. But because its farmland was so barren, it eventually ceased to be viable for cultivation and was abandoned in 1987, lying fallow for several years to come.
If this were a movie or a book, now would be the moment when some bold and gutsy bunch would step onto the scene with a mindset that’s a bit different from their predecessors and turn the situation back around. And that’s what happened here, too. The courageous people in this story are Heike and Ulf, and their idea was to run the farm biodynamically.
Image: Wildling Shoes/Sarah Pabst
The concept of biodynamic agriculture is nothing new, but over time its importance has waned since farms have been able to generate higher yields with intensive, conventional farming. Well, for a given period of time, that is – since this cultivation method depletes the soil enormously, with the result that some land can only support specific varieties of plants. The use of synthetic pesticides poses yet an additional threat to the insect population – including the bees.
Things look quite a bit different at the Peetzig farm. Here, plants with different requirements and different nutrient preferences are cultivated in rotation. Thanks to this crop rotation, the soil naturally maintains and even increases its fertility.
Heike and Ulf enjoy the support of a herd of Galloway cattle, which have struck a kind of barter deal with the field: They receive fresh fodder in exchange for the manure used to fertilize it. This creates a closed system.
Image: Wildling Shoes/Sarah Pabst - Ulf and a water buffalo
The farmstead also boasts a number of orchard meadows and shelterbelt hedges that create a habitat for numerous species of animals and wild plants and thus contribute to biodiversity in the area.
A common goal
Given our shared values, aspirations, and ideas for a sustainable future, it was really only a matter of time before Wildling and the Peetzig farm crossed paths. Perhaps you remember our interview last summer with actress Maria Simon? That was held on the farm in the Uckermark!
And in the meantime, we’ve been working together very closely in terms of product development, too. Right now, we’re running tests with Heike and Ulf to determine how suitable the hemp straw grown on their farm is for Wildlings.
Our most recent joint project is a flowering meadow for bees and other pollinating insects, and we’ll have more details on that coming up soon. Yet another reason to start looking forward to the warmer months.
Image: Wildling Shoes/Sarah Pabst
Through our cooperation with the Peetzig farm, we were also introduced to BioBoden, a cooperative that promotes organic farming and supports farmers in that sector. BioBoden is the sole landlord for the land that Heike and Ulf use for farming. That ensures that they won’t suddenly lose their land (or parts of it), which is something that sometimes happens in “normal” lease agreements involving more than one party.
So we’re optimistic that we’ll be able to work together with the Peetzig farm for a very, very long time to come and achieve our common vision for the future.
Biodiversity in a Wildling
That sounds like quite a happy ending for our book adaptation, don’t you think? But we don’t want the story to end just yet – on the contrary, we’re looking forward to everything that is yet to unfold.
Nonetheless, the product team couldn’t resist celebrating all the progress that’s been made so far, and they’ve dedicated a special Wildling to the topic of biodiversity. That’s why the new 2021 Spring/Summer collection features a tribute to biodiversity, the Eden model.
Eden’s kaleidoscope print of orchids, mushrooms, cabbage leaves, and butterflies – along with the custom-printed cardboard box the model is packaged in when it arrives at its new home – are reminders of how important each and every living thing is to our Earth’s ecosystem.
Cover Image: Wildling Shoes/Sarah Pabst