Leopold Hoesch
Matthias Schmidt
Vera Bertram & Thorben Bockelmann
1 x 45'
Carina Mergens
From sausage king to organic pioneer
Karl Ludwig Schweisfurth

In his "first life" as an economic miracle pioneer, Karl Ludwig Schweisfurth revolutionised his father's factory, accelerated production and packaging with modern assembly lines and became involved early on with the principle of minimum shelf life. When his father dies unexpectedly, Karl Ludwig Schweisfurth goes from butcher to manager of a large company at the age of 34.

He flies around the world, is restless and unconventional. He has a state-of-the-art factory built and scares the employees with open-plan offices and provocative art in the factory, canteen and break rooms.

In the late 1970s, Karl Ludwig Schweisfurth's world begins to crack. The Herta brand is still strong and meat consumption in Germany is rising, but with the supermarkets, price pressure is also increasing.

Schweisfurth, who cares deeply about the artisanal quality of his sausages, begins to have doubts. The fact that his children distance themselves from the family business and go their own ways finally makes Schweisfurth rethink: How are the animals kept and slaughtered from which he makes his products?

In 1984, Karl Ludwig Schweisfurth unexpectedly sells Herta to the Nestlé food company and shortly afterwards founds the "Herrmannsdorfer Landwerkstätten", an organically run farm with artisanal food production in Bavaria. A real pioneering achievement at the time.

But Schweisfurth, himself a trained butcher, has one goal: to produce better meat - and for that the animals must also live well, he is convinced. Food production should be ecological, artisanal and regional. His sons make sure that the farm works economically today. And so, after all, they are taking over the family legacy.

And today: Karl Ludwig Schweisfurth still has a lot planned, even at the age of 84. He discovers "symbiotic agriculture" and experiments in his experimental garden in Herrmannsdorf. Once again he is ahead of his time - a pioneer.

WDR Television, Friday, 19 June 2015, 8.15 to 9.00 p.m.

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