One woman, two dogs, a 1.2 hectare farm

Porträt Carolin Heinrich
altes Bauernhaus mit zwei Hunden

A year and a half ago, Carolin Heinrich, who works as a Digital Transformation Communications Manager in the Digital Accelerator team, fulfilled a lifelong dream by purchasing and expanding a restaurant.

ROUND. UM: You embarked on the biggest adventure of your life in 2022. Can you put it that way?

Carolin Heinrich: Probably [laughs]! I had already been looking for a residual farm near Hanover for three years when it became very concrete very quickly in February 2022: I found a suitable offer, signed the purchase contract - and have been the owner of a farm that is more than 100 years old in the corresponding condition ever since. This includes 1.2 hectares of land, with a barn, stables and lots of woodland.

 

Why did you buy the farm?

I want to create something lasting, a beautiful place for people and animals. My vision is to give horses a good life with an active stable concept. I would also like to offer a home to other animals, for example alpacas. And: I am fascinated by the idea of being largely self-sufficient and growing what you need to live. But there is still a long way to go...

 

How did you come up with the idea of the active stable for horses?

I got my love for horses from my mother: For 45 years, she was in charge of therapeutic riding near Langenhagen near Hanover. My goal is to build a boarding stable with an active concept. Such a concept provides for a route between stable and pasture areas, which provides the horses with an enormous amount of exercise – around 12 kilometres can come together every day – and leads to relaxed and balanced animals.

 

Did the Court already have the prerequisites for such a concept?

[Laughs] No, not at all. I really had to wake up the farm from its slumber: The farm had been empty for two years – and before that it had been managed solely by the previous owner, who was over 80 years old, but whose tasks had literally become too much for him in recent years. The brick house was in a corresponding, very bad condition. Recovering the 1,000 square meters of roof area was therefore the most urgent task – and took thirteen months, including setbacks and construction stops. At the same time, I had the house completely gutted – now it's time to gradually work on the interior, because seven guest apartments are also to be built on the farm, which I am now gradually expanding. 

Trecker auf der Baustelle

A mammoth task ... What were – or are – the biggest challenges in such a project?

To find good craftsmen (laughs)! Seriously, the size and complexity of the project are enormous – but they never scared me. Of course, you have to plan well and acquire a lot of knowledge in order to accompany such a construction and to be able to assess the services provided. Then you should be able to deal with setbacks and not be deterred. And it is very important to prioritize correctly: on the construction site itself, but above all in interaction with professional life – and to always do what you do with full concentration. All in all, the biggest challenge is certainly to manage one's own strength well and not to overdo oneself. Fortunately, I can assess my limits very well and adjust my behavior accordingly.

 

You are part of the Digital Accelerator team at Melitta in Minden and drive the digital transformation of the group with your work. How does a 100-year-old farm fit into the future topic of digitalization?

There are plenty of parallels: just like my construction project, driving digital transformation is a marathon, not a sprint – it takes patience and persistence to make a difference. Our E-Commerce Convention, to which we as the DAT team invited in May to the BVB Arena in Dortmund, is such a milestone that hopefully gave the participants a lot of impulses. Apart from that, I personally find it incredibly exciting to see what is possible in the context of digitalization – and so I plan to digitally network as many tasks as possible later on. This starts with digitally controlled feeders and irrigation systems and does not end with video surveillance and smart homes. So it's going to be a traditional farm that's digitized through and through!

 

What would you like to see in your project?

I want to be done with everything in five years. My very concrete vision of what I want to create and solid project planning are my motivation. However, you also need competent and reliable craftsmen. So if you can recommend good craftsmen between Hanover and Minden, please feel free to give me a tip at any time!