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Unveiling the Story: Inside the Vegan Resort Von Kernvoll | Christian | Ep 124

Introducing Christian

Today, we’re thrilled to introduce Christian, a key member of the team behind the Vegan Resort Von Kernvoll in the captivating region of Mecklenburg. Join us as Christian shares the inspiring story behind this exceptional resort and the team’s commitment to providing a truly extraordinary vegan-friendly environment.

Discover what sets the Vegan Resort Von Kernvoll apart and why it should be at the top of your must-visit list for a unique blend of nature, tranquility, and compassionate living. Whether you’re a seasoned vegan traveler or new to plant-based adventures, this episode promises to unveil the secrets of Mecklenburg. Let’s dive into this captivating conversation with Christian!

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The Vegan Resort Von Kernvoll is located in the captivating region of Mecklenburg.
  • Christian shares the compelling story behind the inception of the Vegan Resort Von Kernvoll.
  • The motivations that drive their team’s commitment to providing a truly exceptional vegan-friendly environment
  • What sets the Vegan Resort Von Kernvoll apart from other destinations regarding nature, tranquility, and compassionate living?

Learn more about what we talk about

  • The captivating region of Mecklenburg and how it adds to the resort’s appeal for travelers seeking an extraordinary experience
  • The resort’s approach to sustainable living and its efforts to promote eco-friendly practices.
  • The resort’s commitment to animal welfare and how it caters to the needs of vegan travelers.
  • The resort welcomes both seasoned vegan travelers and newcomers interested in exploring plant-based adventures.
  • Unveil the secrets of Mecklenburg and why the Vegan Resort Von Kernvoll should be at the top of the must-visit list for travelers.
  • Provide valuable information and inspiration to listeners interested in compassionate and eco-friendly travel experiences.

Other World Vegan Travel content connected with this episode

Connect with Christian

Transcript

Brighde: Hi Christian. Thank you so much for joining me on The World Vegan Travel Podcast.

Christian: Hi, Brighde. Nice to be on your podcast.

Brighde: Oh, I’m thrilled to have you here to talk about this incredible project that you have going on and all about the area around your vegan resort in Germany. But why don’t you tell us a little bit about like how you got involved in this project and what it is that people can expect when they come?

Christian: Oh, it’s a long story. I hope we have three or four hours. In short words, I’m one of the two CEOs and we founded a full vegan company in Berlin, the capital of Germany, in 2017 and it’s a full vegan organic catering. It’s possible to have a full vegan catering in Berlin. We have a lot of clients and yeah good market for this.

But in 2017, a lot of people say, oh, no chance, only vegan. You must have a vegetarian option or, meat, vegetarian, and vegan. So we started as a vegan company and we are still now a vegan company. Over the years, we decided we expand. We are fully business caterers, so I think it’s special because we don’t live from small birthdays or small little vegan parties.

We live from big events, congresses, full vegan catering, and big events and Congress from Monday to Friday. We like weddings too, and birthdays, it’s no problem. But, the main market is business catering, and I think it’s special because we are union organized 100%. We are the only vegan company, with a union collective bargaining, I think, and Germany is a very special working-class movement.

We have strong unions, but not in our gastronomy. So my background is, I worked few years as a union activist, and that’s why we have a strong union point of view. Now I’m the CEO because we must build a company, for the vegan. We have no companies where we can hire for the job, so we must do it on our own.

 The Vegan resort, after three years, make it to Berlin. We think about it, we need a fully vegan place owned by us. Because in Berlin, you rent the kitchen but we want to build up a complete vegan place. With a lot of luck, we find in Mecklenburg, in the northeast of Germany, near the Baltic Sea coast, we find an area, we buy it and we change it from the first day to a completely vegan place.

So we canceled all the old clients and customers, from the first day and the 1st of October, 2020, we have the Vegan Resort. That’s the beginning and till now we have the Vegan Resort and the Berlin Company. So we have two sides of the vegan possibilities.

Yeah, we have the Gastronomy, Catering, Events, Congress, big things. We have a big crew. Meanwhile, and we have the smaller parts, the quietness, the nature in Mecklenburg.

 I grow up in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. That’s why I can speak the language of the village and I can speak the language of the big city. We come united here in the village because we have only 100 and 10 inhabitants and the food we can place. Sometimes people wondered, but you can speak both languages.

Brighde: I didn’t realize there was a different language up there. That’s so interesting. It’s the idea of having some sort of catering company and resort. It’s quite a leap there. But it’s interesting because I recently learned about a couple of restaurants in Toronto, which is not where I live, but it’s a big city in Canada. They’re opening up a resort, a vegan resort just north of Toronto, maybe two or three hours up. So, It seems like this is an interesting model that a few people are doing, having some sort of business in the city and then creating this space outside and having it as a resort, like a place where you can just go and not have to leave so much and not have to worry about food. All of those kinds of things. It just sounds like so much fun. So tell me a little bit about like what your resort looks like and then of course I’d like to get a little bit bigger and talk about Mecklenburg and why people might be interested in going there.

But tell us what can people expect if they come to your resort?

Christian: First, it’s funny because we have a Canadian Vegan Chef. So I don’t know the model in Toronto but sounds similar to us. So the Canadian Germany Bridge is open. The resort is in the middle of the Mecklenburg, it’s 50 kilometers, from the Baltic seacoast. That’s why it’s not on the coastline, it’s in the backland. It’s very quiet here. It’s the biggest lake plate in Germany, called the Mullett. It’s 40 kilometers away and we are on the north of this lake area.

 The Vegan Resort is only a few hundred meters from one of the biggest lakes in Germany, the Müritz, and its biggest lake in Germany, but I think all Germans only know the three or four first big lakes. But we have here one of the greatest. This is not special because of the lakes you have everywhere.

We have a special situation. We have one of the biggest moors, which became a mooring area back for 13 or 14 years, and we are on the border of this moor.

Brighde: I think more is like a very British expression. I’m not sure that North Americans would know this word possibly, but basically, it’s like a grassland.

Christian: Yeah, the grassland getting wetter and wetter. You must expect for German history, all areas here were drying for the farmers. For the farming industry, the big wheat area is here. For the environment and CO2 problems. When you get the landscape back to the moor, it’s getting wetter and wetter. It’s the normal situation in Mecklenburg.

Brighde: Hmm.

Christian: 200 years ago, and this is a very special project here around the lake. So very interesting to be part of it because it changed every year. It’s so interesting to see how the birds come back. More than 300 different birds here. They are secured in this area. It’s a project from scientists from the university near here, but we have more farmers, a farmer who try to organize it. And we have areas, no one is allowed to go in. You can see it with binoculars. To watch it is so interesting. This is special, we are on the border of the wet grassland. People who wanna discover this, when you leave nature alone, yeah, you can see it here in the wood and in this area.

Our food is special. It’s organically certified, one hundred percent. We make everything of our own. Catering and here 0%, convenience food. Nothing. Everything is handcrafted and it’s special from cooking chefs, that we sing about it, how can we produce only high-class vegan food and have it for normal prices because we are a working-class company and we want to have it?

It’s not bad for yoga and spiritual people. I like that we get in the midst of society, the women and the men who work every day hard can discover vegan food. I think it’s special to produce this food. We have small houses, where you can live in different sizes for families. When you’re alone or two people. The special situation is you arrive, by train or by car. When you are here and you eat something, you can go into this wood and to the area of the moor, I described.

Brighde: So I think I understand now more about this project that you are talking about what’s been going on for 15 years or so. Please tell me if I understand well that it’s Rewilding project. So in the past, it was cultivated or grazed on or depending. Some people have decided that this is a good place to rewild it, and then of course that’s when you start seeing all of these returning species of animals and it’s really rather special. Is that what you’re saying, that this is like a rewilding project? Right.

Christian: Yes, correct.

Brighde: That’s so interesting. I have done a little bit of research on rewilding projects around the place and I think that if we could just rewild a decent amount back of the Earth, it would solve a lot of the world’s problems. It really would just give animals some of their habitat back and revert some of this grazing land to forest. This would really make such a huge difference and I would love to see a project like this firsthand. So tell me, how is it that you get to this place, Mecklenburg, and the hotel?

You mentioned you can go there by train and by bus, and you mentioned that it’s in the Baltic Sea, but how far is it? I’m wondering if people would need to make a special visit here from Berlin. Tell me about that.

Christian: Yeah, no problem. One sentence to the topic, I think you can see the connection. We need less grassland for the animals because we are vegan and so we have more place to give nature back in the wildness and it’s good for the whole situation with our nature and the CO2 problems.

I’m not a fan to have a dramatic situation for our nature problems and for the climate collapse. I don’t want to have it on this because I think we can change everything. So we can try to have it in our everyday life to change something, but here can see it too.

We make products to widen again the woods and the grasslands. But some people must do it and not only talk. In the past, I see a lot of people who fight for a good nature life.

When you travel, I think you come in from North America. Frankfurt, I think it’s the biggest airport, you travel to Berlin or to Hamburg, and from here it’s not far away you can travel by train. We have a little bit bigger cities in the area, 15, 20 kilometers around. You can reach these cities on a normal train to Berlin. For example, two hours, 20 minutes around with a regional express, I don’t know what it’s called in North America, but it’s the slowest train, but you can reach it.

When you stay in Berlin, you can eat vegan options in Berlin a lot, and then you can come to us, it’s no problem. I collect from the railway station or you can go by bus. We have a bus station in front of the weekend resort. But we are in the village, the bus doesn’t drive every hour or every half an hour, I think three times a day. When you have a little bit of luck, you can go to the railway station by bus or when it’s not, I collect the people. No problem.

Brighde: I see. 

Christian: When you come from a big city to us, you must slow down. You see when you go by car or by train. First, it’s full, a lot of people. With every kilometer you reach nearer, you see it’s green, it’s not so many people. That’s very nice.

Brighde: I love the fact that you are trying to make this resort like an accessible place for working-class people to go and have a few days away with their families without it being super, super expensive. So, who is your market? Are they mostly German tourists or Europeans, or do you sometimes get some North Americans?

Christian: No, our Canadian Chef is the first and only North American people till now for three years. I think it’s time now, huh? But our neighbor is from the USA, it’s a funny thing. He was longer than we are here. Yeah, Mike is from the USA. So when people want to talk with American people, we have one neighbor. Most people are German. We have one from the Netherlands. I can count it on one hand. Czech Republic, Austria. I don’t know how the other hotspots in Germany, handle it, I don’t know.

But we have internationals who lived in Berlin. When they leave Berlin and they speak only English. I’m not at booking dot com. So, I like that people discover us and talk about it in their family and friendships and we talk together, but I don’t like booking.com or so commercial sites.

Brighde: I understand. Now, I know that booking.com has its problems For sure. Myself, I love collecting vegan hotels. I like going to vegan hotels or resorts or places. Firstly to support them and just to see what’s going on. Cuz I find it so interesting and I’ve been lucky enough to visit, a few now, mostly in Italy. But Germany really does have quite a few vegan bed and breakfasts and small hotels and even some slightly larger hotels as well. It’s really interesting. Many, many more than North America, I will tell you that for sure.

So tell me a little bit more about some excursions that people could enjoy. You’ve already told me that there is some beautiful countryside to observe and to see this incredible rewilding project that’s a destination in itself, in my opinion. But what about some other activities or attractions that people might like to do when they come to your area once they step foot outta the property?

Christian: Yeah, we have different people. Sometimes people are in the area to chill and the weather good. We have 7000 meters area in front of the wood. When they have dogs, they can go with the dogs in the woods and in nature, that is one of the most activities. When you have a little child, the child can play in front of the houses so that the parents don’t control where the kids are. Germany is very peaceful. You can let the kids play outside. No one thinks about it.

We have football, where they can play. When we have small groups, that side is very special. They can sit together, eat something. Together we have a good family time or friendship time. We have the fireplace. Imagine you sit here when it’s night, the bright stars, and everything around is dark. No city lights and you see the whole area, it’s very nice. It’s a little bit romantic here, for people. Over the day the big lake area, the biggest in Germany, the Müritz, it’s very interesting to see. It’s big. The Baltic Sea is only one hour away by car.

A lot of people drive to the hotspots here. You can go to the Baltic Sea, for swimming or to be on the beach. We have big islands near, it’s island Usedom and the island Rügen, famous for beaches and the whole tourist thing.

 The nice one is we have the half pension, so that, you can eat breakfast here very well, you make your day trip and you come back and the dinner is ready. That’s a good point. No one must cook something in his own house. We prepared everything. We make it all and you have the whole day. Around this half pension, you get two times very special, high-class vegan food. So that is the thing.

Brighde: I love that. Yes. It’s very interesting. A lot of the time in Europe, in the countryside they have, usually we call it half board, where breakfast and dinner are included in the price. And then sometimes you can get full board, you can get lunch as well. But it sounds like you are a half-board kind of setup.

 It sounds like a very community-orientated place. I’m wondering whether it’s like communal dining or does each room have its own table? Are there ways for guests to get to know each other? Cuz I’m imagining if they’re all vegan guests, they’ve all got something in common. So I’m wondering whether it’s a place to meet others.

Christian: Yeah, this is a concept. That’s why, when you will book us, you must book the half board because a full board is not possible. Only when you have a wedding or family, when you rent the whole house or so. We can discuss it but normally for tourists, we do not make full because of the working hours.

 We are the union company, like in Berlin, we are here too. So we have working times and we must think about it. How we can pay one Chef so well? The reason the resort is too small and I don’t like to have a restaurant. A restaurant is not the same quality because when the Chef can organize the food, and we have the times we discuss with the people, okay, dinner is at half past six. Then the Chef has the full creativity to make three courses in the evening, of our own absolutely fresh. We make it vegan and fully organic. That’s why when you book us, the half board is included from the beginning of the booking because we have not only Jessie, our main Chef here, but we have other chefs. We have one Chef, who organized the food and that’s why we need the organization, about the half part.

 As your first question was if we all come together. Yes, that’s why we can plan it. It’s our point that we see all people together at breakfast time and at dinner because we have a political situation. We all come to the Vegan Resort because we like to eat vegan food and we like to fight against animal exploitation.

 Not everyone has the same stand. Not everyone here is totally vegan, as a guest. We as owners, are vegan but not all guests are. They want to try something or want to discuss it. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I have so many good people that we meet here.

We have so many nights we discuss everything, not only the vegan movement, the political situation in Germany, the situation with the USA and Germany, and some special situations. I’m very political. The whole company is political. That’s why, we like to discuss with people when they like it. They come and want to eat and they discuss this.

We do have not this typical situation for a service craft. Yeah. Who comes to the table? Hi. Hi. What do you want to eat? Yeah, the cards. So we don’t do it. 

We stand on the same. We create this area here, and we create the fruit. The people pay for it and this is the same. We need to be together. That way we try to bring together at the times we eat.

 Sometimes people who don’t know each other, come to the big tables, they sit together at the big table they talk a bit and then everything is fine.

I have a different situation with the table. Sometimes in, sometimes outs. You can sit outside, there is a roof on it and it’s very nice. But sometimes it’s a little bit cold and then you are in. Sometimes different situations, but from us, I talk with every one of the guests and ask how you’re doing, and where I come from.

Brighde: It sounds absolutely fascinating. How many rooms do you have? How many people do you have when you are at maximum capacity?

Christian: We have nine houses, three different sizes. When we are full, we have 24 beds and you can rise up with a sleeping couch to 32. So when we have a wedding here, small wedding, but very intensive for three or four days together. Here it’s very nice for smaller weddings because you can talk with the people better, with kids on sleeping couches. I think 30, 32 is possible. But when there are only tourists here, I only want to book where that everyone has a real bed. Then, we have 24 beds in nine houses of different sizes.

Brighde: What are your plans? Do you have any big plans for the resort? Would you like to do other resorts around Germany or are you quite happy with what you’ve got for now and just working on that? I’ve always liked to know about people’s hopes and dreams.

Christian: Yeah, I won’t tell here. We rescued pigs from the mass industry and they lived here. We rescued four, but we have now three. One was very old and slipped away last autumn and, this is our growth. We, the company paid for the food and paid everything we need for him, including the doctor’s cost and so. They’re part of our Vegan resort. So three big pigs, Rocky, Aria, and Libera.

Brighde: Oh. 

Christian: Italian name for freedom and Aria, from Game of Thrones and the killer of the Knight King. And Rocky from the boxing Rocky. Because he was a little baby pig. The farmer decided to kill him because he was too small. And the activist rescued and he comes here for one week, a little baby pig on my arm here, and now he’s two and a half years old. He weighs 230 kilograms. We have a big he lived and it’s very nice to see the little rocky is now a big rocky.

Brighde: I bet these pigs are popular with the adults and especially the kids too that come and stay. That would be so lovely. That’s something that I’m noticing a lot of small sanctuaries are opening up some sort of accommodation to support the work that they’re doing. And sometimes it’s the other way around. A little hotel or a small accommodation that’s vegan decides to bring in some rescued animals into their space as well, which of course is very nice indeed. 

Christian: Brighde, the dreams ensures because we are not the CEOs who want to expand, expand like a capitalist company. So every decision has a quality decision and we are a working-class company. So that’s why we only do things where we see we can Work with people who have good wages. High as for the German situation. I think in Germany, we are the first company who have a minimum wage for Chef is 3000 euros a month. I think for gastronomy and the whole world, as for Germany, we are the first, we have it in the collective bargaining.

So for 38 hours a week. It’s a full working situation. That is very important that everything, we do, must have quality, Vegan organic. When we expand the place must be nice. We must find good people, and pay good wages and it’s the Vegan Resort. It’s a fantastic place. I have one child who’s 15 and I have only one child. So that’s why I like one child. And the Vegan Resort is A special place. It has a history, why we do it, how we do it here. We rebuild a lot of things here because we buy it.

Then we changed a lot of things here. The company in Berlin is special and the crew is special. When we do the next thing, the dream is I want to have a vegan handicraft, the brickies thing, woodworking, so that we have vegan working build-up companies. Or we make something for the old people. When you get older and older, in Germany, you get to places where old people live. For the rest of their life. The vegan options are very less. So we work on it and we think about it and you need 2, 3, 4 years for this to build up. A vegan service for old people where they get good food.

Brighde: Yeah, I think that’s like a retirement facility. Sometimes there’s nursing care there as well, depending on the needs of the older people. But yeah, that’s a really great point. I’ve never thought about that. A vegan retirement place. I’m sure that at some point I will need some help with food and cleaning and things like that. I would love to find a place that aligned with my values. That’s really an incredible goal for you all. That’s amazing. 

Christian, this just sounds like such an amazing project that you are a part of. I can’t wait to come and check this out for myself. It just sounds so interesting and an interesting part of the world that I’ve never really considered going to, but the fact that there’s this special place makes me want to come. For other people that are listening to this podcast, like me, and would like to come and check it out, whether they are from North America or somewhere else.

Please tell us the website and the social media handles. We will, of course, have them linked in the show notes for this episode, but please tell us anyway.

Christian: Yeah, this would be very nice if you Brighde will come here and stay a few days. I will, looking forward, it’s no problem in two years and three years and five years or next week. Yeah. You can decide. And when your life brings you here, I think you will have good days. We are looking forward and we are very happy about it. For all other people, you can use our homepage for everything because we have no booking.com or anything else. Use our homepage. www.veganresort. de for Germany. The homepage is in German.

But I think now in this situation we lived in, you can use the Google translator and oops, I look at a lot of English sites and then I press the translator and show everything in Germany. That’s why I think, you can use it and when you have problems or don’t understand it, please call us so we can discuss all your questions and situations when you travel through Germany or you want to come and stay here. We find a way. 

Brighde: I love it and I’m just looking at your website right now. And yes Google Translate popped up and invited me to switch to English. It’s very easy to navigate. I think people will find it very easy and I really hope that some people will check you guys out cuz what you’re doing is so cool.

Thank you so much for joining me today, Christian.

Christian: Yeah. Thank you Brighde.

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COMING SOON: Bordeaux to Dordogne Valley: Castles, Caves, and Countryside with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

TBC: September, 2025
8 Days, 7 Nights
Group size: 15-26
stay in a private southern France villa
Tons of castles and quaint villages
17,000 year-old prehistoric cave art

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