Frequently Asked Questions
Below you can read answers to some frequently asked questions. If you have other questions you may contact BERAS secretariat through info(at)beras.eu or one of our national coordinators, whom you can find under contact.
The key for making the farm a carbon trap at the same time as it effectively produces food is a crop rotation where several year ley (mix of leguminous plants, herbs and grass that are made to hey, silage or is grazed) and one year crops (mainly for direct human consumption). The ley builds the soil and raises the content of carbon in the soil – it improves the soil. The one year crops breaks down the soil and causes leakage of plant nutrients and losses of climate gases like carbon dioxide. To a certain degree these losses are unavoidable. But on the total a balanced crop rotation will have a net positive climate effect on soils with a low humus content. On top of this there are soils that are not fit to plow at all, and they are kept grazed for landscape protection and for protecting biodiversity. This means the greater part of the production will not be suitable for food at all. By giving hey, silage and grazing to ruminant animals meats are produced and also manure is given back to the soil. This manure stimulates growth and micro-life in the soil. Some parts of plants are also not used for food and there are also rest products in food processing that are fit to give to animals. The meat proportion in such a balanced farm is around 20%.
The main problem is that cheap meat has a high price for the environment. The fodder traders will look over the whole world for fodder that gives protein and energy specifications at the lowest possible price. And the cheapest production leads to land degradation and losses of climate gases. The soil is used until depleted. In the other end there is simple profit in squeezing in one more animal as long as the meat costs a little more that the fodder spent. You can say that the nutrients that should stay in the soil go up in the air and down in the water where they cause problem.
Some people will be vegetarians. This is a good choice, but it does not work for everyone. 20% meat is realistic for everyone. We recommend different techniques to encourage everyone to eat more vegetable food. For example a buffet could be organized so that the guest will first discover the salad and tempting vegetable food so that the plate is already almost full when it comes to take meat.
This is the situation for many students, for single mothers and for many people. There are solutions also for you! But you need to invest some time in building good food habits and decide on some recipes and menus that work for you. The key is good planning. The Diet for a clean Baltic food is not necessarily more expensive or takes more time to cook; but it does require better planning. It is when you come home tired and hungry after a lot of work and not until then begin to think about what food you should eat, that you will risk ending up eating the food that is more expensive, less healthy and less environmentally sound. If you recognize that this happens to you sometimes – you have a potential to make a big improvement – for your wallet, for your health – and for the Baltic Sea! Taking some time to plan your food is a good investment.