Rediscovering small scale farming in Switzerland (One week on a bike to visit 6 sustainable farms)


Last week was the European sustainable development week and I got invited by the fairtraveller to join them on a Fair crawl by bike across Switzerland for one week. You don’t know what a fair crawl is? It’s like a pub crawl but with fair spots and during a week We visited six farms in order to discover and document their sustainable practices I’ll leave you with Katy to present the fair traveller. And then it’s all about the awesomeness of Swiss landscapes and delicious farm food enjoy! With the fair traveler, we’ve developed a web platform where we want to promote what we call our fair spots, so it’s hotels, restaurants, shops Anything related to tourism, but that has a fair Aspect to them and last week we went on what we called our Swiss fair crawl 2018 which was a one-week tour of Switzerland every day we visited a different farm and we learned about how they were farming in a sustainable way and How they welcome people and how they also wanted to share what they were doing. I think it was a great way to travel and we really want to encourage other people to do similar tours And we hope that it will be inspiring for others to see how it is to travel in a fair and sustainable way So we took the train from Lausanne to Lucerne in order to get to our starting point I didn’t take Blue with me because I needed to mount a rack on it. and i didn’t had my touring bike. The first day was only 30 kilometers. So we stopped at a farm for strawberries most of the farms in Switzerland have like a little shop in front of them so you can buy whatever is fresh and Directly leave the money in a little box So we arrived at the first farm and our little routine was to start with the visit of the farm so the farmers could explain to us what they were producing how they were producing it and what their sustainable practice was and This farm was one of the first to change their heating system to solar Nearly 20 years ago now and the most the cultures were covered with nets because they make fruits and vegetables without pesticides That’s possible because it’s such a small scale Then we moved on to dinner. In every farm we had amazing food cooked for us and the breakfasts as well were incredible when you produce locally you have a relationship between the consumer and the producer. And the farmers want the consumers to have good quality product when it’s produced on another continent, then you don’t really have that relationship and it seems like profit is the most important part. So by visiting farms by talking about agriculture We restore a link between the food we consume and the people who produce it Been like 50 or 60 kilometres since you know the very start obviously the bike is really not good. Such a nice guy It cost me 25 bucks for the repair. They gave me an old cassette that actually works so it’s worth it, but That’s the price for you know, a bad bike. I’m not paying for the rental. They just lend it to me, but it’s like a bad gift, you know, it’s a bad gift that just doesn’t work and once you’re on the road it’s just sad Anyway, you know back on the road. We’ll see if If it still works until the end of the trip, all right, let’s go There’s a lot of small human scale farms in Switzerland and most of them have multiple streams of income They don’t all rely on one type of production, you know, they grow fruits, grains, veggies, herbs They have animals they make their own alcohol They also have group of kids coming to teach them about Agriculture and they usually do bed and breakfast as well. In Switzerland, like everything else food is expensive and even more the products that are made in Switzerland But the consumers are used to buying local and they’re ready to pay a little more to avoid Imported good and as a result, the supermarkets are full of Swiss made products But even then the price of the food we buy today with all the businesses in between the producers and the consumers Make it rather unsustainable for the farms to leave without fundings from the governments And every year in Switzerland there are small farms like the one we visited and that are forced to shut down and close and Sell the lands because they just don’t make enough money to cover the cost from producing the food Today we have a camera crew. Say hi Jonathan. And the drone pilot Alright let’s go So Katie, some feedback from the road. How’s it going today? Seriously? What? All right, so as you can see Nico and I we don’t have it luggage anymore We left them with the camera crew and we are Leaving those guys who are going to neuchâtel To take the train. And we’ll try to cycle up the mountain and we’ll meet them at the farm in about 30 kilometers something like that Something like that. So we’ll see who make it first Nico chose the route and chose the chose the shortest route instead of the one with the less elevation but being in Switzerland, it’s It’s going up and down a lot 2 minutes break I managed to get Nico tired But it’s nice hear, nice view When Google doesn’t tell you the road isn’t actually a road Ladies, how u doing? Nico is still not there I think he’s exhausted. But he’s gonna make it. I’m quite happy that He’s still hanging on. It’s like quite an adventure today. It’s nice. Yeah Nico! Give me 5 man Yeah Third farm Today was a good day on the bicycle. I think we passed 100 km. With around two thousand meters elevation so Good day. I’m happy you finish man happy for you. That’s really cool You’ve come just in time we’re having an amazing BBQ. Ouuuu BBQ night! Hey Tony, bonjour , hi nice to meet you You’re tired now. Yeah a little bit, it was a good day Merci, danke schoen, santé mec! They have all very sturdy animals That can sustain, cause it gets very cold up here. Their philosophy is really to be part of the whole cycle. So everything that they produce they use and they reuse Like all the water from their kitchen goes into their manure And then the manure goes into the soil. The soil the is used to grow vegetables and grass for the cows. And then the cows are in the plate. We kind of missed the visit on the third farm because of the extra cycling but Katie gave me a little brief and this farm was focused on Water management and also they had a massive Solar system Covering the needs of the farm and they were also quite involved in teaching and in passing the knowledge that they have The fourth day on the bike was a lot more manageable it was mostly downhill so pretty easy and enjoyable And we made it to the fourth farm This one was in the middle of the village which is quite unusual and the cows were getting in and out From the fields to farm through the streets of the city. And Nico got a lesson on milking cows But this farm was focused on alternative medicine and apparently a lot of its involving water cold water So we went through different series of baths For our feet than walking in the garden; the herb garden Walking on glass. But what we had been waiting for all day was the warm wood-fired hot tub. That was really enjoyable The fifth day was kind of flat and we went through quite a few cities It was the weekend a lot of people where out. The little cities and villages in Switzerland are Like very typical and there’s nothing else quite like it Then we arrived at the fifth farm went on to our little tour this farm was quite small and they were making their own alcohol Any each of us got to do an interview as well with the camera crew Julia take one. You want me to look at you right? Yes The next day we went back on the road through a few more typical villages ate some cherries from the trees And ended up the day taking the train so we could head to the sixth farm, which was near the Leman lake and The sixth farm was a little different than the other ones. Raphael is making vegetables. Mostly everything is done by hand and The interesting thing is Raphael used to be a cook. So he knows exactly what type of product he wants to produce so he showed us around explain to us how he worked and the next day we helped him plant vegetables in the garden and It’s incredible how when you take away most of the mechanical tools? it seems such a tremendous work to actually have a small production. And Raphael story is quite interesting on how is to switch from one job to another and just start on a small scale and just Learning by doing and eventually you end up being really good at what you’re doing and you know putting out incredible quality product that people want to eat

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