I’ve loved nature since I was about 12. And working on lots of farms when I was studying gave me tremendous insight into the problems and opportunities in Swiss agriculture. With friends, we’d take direct action – like helping farmers mow and restore steep species-rich meadows!
Setting out a vision for the transformation of Swiss farming, Vision Landwirtschaft’s 2010 Weissbuch Landwirtschaft, triggered change. In 2014, parliament ruled that half of Switzerland’s CHF 4 billion agricultural subsidy should support sustainability, including crop diversification, animal welfare and healthy ecosystems. Relentless promotion of intensive agriculture by The Swiss Farmers Association may have since persuaded the government to postpone further reform but Vision Landwirtschaft have found other means of change.
Migros and COOP supermarkets have agreed not to stock a number of products grown using hazardous pesticides. And as a result of our proposals, COOP now only sell environmentally friendly Christmas trees. It’s a strong signal – they sell half of all the Christmas trees in Switzerland. Engaging in the market can deliver rapid change.
Whole farm sustainability
Vision Landwirtschaft have launched a pesticide reduction plan and a training programme for interested farmers, Gesamtbetriebliche Nachhaltigkeitsberatung, which demonstrates how sustainability can deliver more income with fewer resources. Such support had been completely absent, either from government or the private sector.
The Swiss Constitution calls for an agriculture that’s diverse and healthy, produces food and value for society, and for which farmers are fairly paid. What we do is try to show the media, federal agencies, parliamentarians and farmers how to achieve it.
By collaborating with more than 30 partners, including political parties, and by using innovation, expertise and practical know-how, Vision Landwirtschaft have created a movement for change.
As a small organisation, at first we didn’t really believe we could make a difference but we’ve realised, yes, we can! We’ve got a clear vision for sustainable agriculture, and in Switzerland, the right conditions to realise it – money, farmers and lots of small farms.
How Andreas is contributing to MAVA's mission
Through credible analysis and practical solutions, Andreas and Vision Landwirtschaft are supporting a shift towards less resource intensive and more sustainable agricultural production that is critical to delivering MAVA’s mission in Switzerland. Read more about MAVA’s action plan for this specific subject.