The Man in the Wheatfield
(€12.90 / DVD)
Eckart Irion is an unusual man with an unusual job: he researches and breeds new varieties of cereal.
What makes him particularly rare is that he doesn’t use genetic engineering, relying instead on the ancient art of selection.
Eckart Irion's ideals, too, contrast with those of modern agribusiness. His goal is to develop just a few, standardised, high-yielding varieties. They are developed to be as resistant as possible to pests and diseases – but only if they’re dosed with a range of herbicides, pesticides and insecticides. In this way, the intensive use of polluting chemicals, many derived from oil, is perpetuated.
As well as rye, wheat and oats, Eckart is also conducting research into a long-forgotten variety of wheat thought to be 8,000 years old. He believes you can’t get good seed from a laboratory: it has to be allowed to mature in a natural environment. That’s why he grows the feed for his cows, horses, hens and ducks himself – and they provide the manure for the cereal.