In the past years, Berlin has become a poster-child for creativity, innovative urban development and experimental societies. From the tattered artist to the visionary start-up: everyone wants to pitch their tent in Berlin, just like we did. It’s within that context and attitude of a free and post-modern city that the C-HR Festival takes place in the former department store Kaufhaus Jahndorf in Mitte.
The program of the CH-R Festival reads like a who is who of makers and shakers in Berlin and unites art, culture, economy and science to elaborate on what our future could look like, and what kind of creativity it takes to solve the problems of our contemporary societies.
Vegan & Sustainable
As you know already from my visit to the Vegan Sommerfest and several other mentions on this blog, I’ve been very invested in living a vegan lifestyle, as well as weighing the pros and cons of it. So I was very enthusiastic to visit Jan Bredacks speech about his success as founder of the world-wide first vegan supermarket brand Veganz.
Brendack explains – and very charmingly so – why he expanded from having only a supermarket to actually creating his own brand of vegan products to whole-selling to a broad variety of European stores. “Although vegan consumption and consciousness is rising, the gateway has to be an alternative in the conventional supermarkets; there are no brands yet to catch the eye of the consumer in the regular stores.”
For now, as the Veganz pioneer shows us on his charts, animal ethics are the driving factor when people decide to become vegans. “The future of meat is vegan”, he quotes Bill Gates, and when it comes to living meat – i.e. animals – he is probably right.
He goes on to explain why being vegan isn’t just a lifestyle that is connected to health and fitness, but most importantly, to a sustainable perspective of our lives on Earth. Saving resources is one of the best arguments to produce and consume vegan. “The net profit of a pig is 6 Euro! For a living being! That is a very low number, and on the other hand, we invest so much water and resources – how does this add up? We have to reconsider what our food is worth to us”, he says when it comes to the subject of pricing.
It’s not a secret that the animal industry is heavily subsidized, making meat a lot cheaper than it probably should be. Of course, everything that scales becomes more affordable. Brendack points out that Germans specifically like to save money on food, a dangerous mentality to our health and environment that is put to the test in the context of climate change and global migration. When asked whether it is actually possible to scale the production in a sustainable way, Brendack swiftly says “Yes – it’s not just possible, it’s also feasible and profitable for the producers, they just have to see first that the consumers are ready.”
Although I’m not a big fan of the superfoods and fake meats – aren’t the wheels of industrialization just turning round and round – I understand that the traditions and history of our cultural diets ask for slow changes. And Veganz might be the first step into a right direction.
C-HR Festival: The Future of our Lives
The C-HR Festival isn’t only about food. But I chose to talk about this panel specifically because everyone has to eat. Food isn’t abstract or only vaguely connected to our lives; I’d even go so far to say that for most people, it is the very core of our daily lives. What we are is what we eat. So who will we be in the near future?
And it’s no surprise that Berlin is especially fond of this subject, and that it’s the very city that “gave birth” to the first vegan supermarket. The future of Berlin is forever a hot topic here. Globalization, capitalism, and yes, as a proxy, even veganism are typical “Berlin themes”.
The city is always either dwelling on its (very recent) past – a city that had to grow up very quickly and is now melancholic about its lost childhood – or it’s already thinking about the future.
Looking at other – and wiser ;) – metropoles like New York and London is like looking into a future that can still be changed. Rising rent, social networks, working conditions, and so on – these are all urban topics that seem to be locked into a state of paralysis in “made” cities. How do we overcome the seemingly inevitable barriers before they even appear?
Thus C-HR is a great platform to listen to what the pioneers of creativity and innovation have to say about the future. You can watch all of the talks and panels on the official C-HR website, with daily updates right after the talks were held, at the Content Studio of C-HR (free registration).
The C-HR Festival program is completely free for all participants (first come, first serve), and if you are in Mitte, I’d strongly advise you to see the fantastic art exhibition on the ground floor of Kaufhaus Jahndorf, lounge in the working space or have lunch catered by Louis Pretty (and yep, there are vegan options, too).
The Festival is taking place from the 12th to the 23rd of October, daily from 12pm.