Interview with Paavo @ Havelmi

Jan 29, 2021

Why did you start Havelmi ?

Havelmi is an attempt to build a sustainable business from the ground up with a focus on grandchild-friendly nutrition. Next to meat, cow’s milk and processed products have one of the highest ecological footprints on our menu. We want to change this by offering high-quality yet affordable alternatives with at least the same product characteristics.


How is Havelmi oat milk different from the one we find in supermarkets ? 

Common oat drinks are packaged in beverage cartons, often contain additives, are not made from regional ingredients, are ultra-high temperature and overall lack transparency. These are some of the things we are trying to do better with a fresh, regional organic oat drink in a returnable glass bottle. Apart from that, the term “milk” has been protected by the EU and may only be used for products made from animal udders.


Where can we buy Havelmi in Berlin ? 

We are listed with LPG and Veganz. In addition, a large number of independent natural food and unpackaged shops list us, such as our cooperative member Fair Unverpackt in Charlottenburg. All sales outlets can also be seen on our map.


What are your core values ? 3 words to define your cooperative

We adopted eight norms and values at our founding meeting. These are: Regionality, naturalness of our products, transparency, participation, post-growth, ecological sustainability, cooperation and a holistic approach.

Why did you choose to be a cooperative ? Can anyone take part ?

In contrast to other legal forms, the cooperative offers many advantages, for example the prevention of private ownership. Through the model, everyone along the value chain has the opportunity to become a member and has a say in strategic decisions, e.g. in the general assembly. In addition, financial participation creates a higher commitment to the company and thus a more intensive relationship between producers and consumers. Finally, we also offer financial incentives such as a cooperative discount for members.


How do you see the future of agriculture?

Increasing resource consumption and ecological damage such as soil erosion, water scarcity or species extinction will confront humanity with massive problems. It is therefore imperative to act as quickly as possible and not just offer alternatives, as we are trying to do. Personally, too, intensive steps must be taken towards sufficiency and subsistence if we want to continue to produce as much food in the future and additionally distribute it fairly in order to feed the earth’s population.

 Thank you Paavo Günther for this enriching interview, we learned a lot ! Hoping that this exchange will encourage you to consume more locally. 

For more information, go to or @havelmi.brb

Follow us @benoo_berlin!