All Posts By Anja Constien

Crop protection agents or pesticides

Posted on 10 min read

Pesticides or plant protection products – chemical pesticides are banned in organic farming. In conventional agriculture, they are considered the only solution to maintain food security for humanity. Opinions are divided on this topic. Therefore, it is not so easy to form your own opinion about the use of pesticides. This article aims to give you a better overview of the issue and to look at pesticides as holistically as possible.

What are pesticides?

First of all, a short introduction. Pesticides are any substance made up of chemical or biological ingredients that are used to ward off diseases such as fungi or pests from plants. Pesticides can be used both as “plant protection products” in the field and as biocides (disinfectants, rat poisons, etc.) in storage, transport or food processing (Swiss Food 2021, German source).

Active pesticide ingredients

There are hundreds of active pesticide ingredients. They are divided into groups according to the target organism to be controlled. Four elementary groups are:

  • Insecticides,
  • fungicides,
  • acaricides and
  • herbicides.

Unfortunately, insecticides are often not only directed against harmful insects, but are also dangerous for useful insects, especially bees. Fungicides are used against fungi, acaricides are biocides to control mites and ticks. Herbicides have the greatest effects on plants. The mode of action is specific to the individual groups of organisms.

Herbicides, for example, interfere with the plant’s metabolism. Some other substances stimulate plants to grow more. Prof. Dr. Johann Zaller, ecologist at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, describes the stimulation as follows: “The plants then virtually grow themselves to death.” (Podcast mit Prof. Dr. Johann Zaller-Ökologe an der Boko in Wien- Hör` mal wer die Welt verändert 2021, German source).

In organic farming, it is assumed that the effects of pesticides are harmful to the environment and are also not healthy for the end consumer of agricultural products. It is a fact, however, that Swiss farmers still use them extensively. This is why the topic has remained red-hot for years – among consumers, the demand for sustainably produced food is becoming ever greater. Is this demand justified?

What are the arguments for the use of pesticides?

Increased demand for food in the future

One of the most important arguments for the use of pesticides on the road to Zero Hunger is that foods must be produced efficiently.

Organic agriculture, where the use of pesticides is not allowed, consumes more land than conventional agricultural production. The latter is more efficient due to the use of pesticides.

By 2050, the world population will grow to almost 10 billion people. To be able to produce enough food from 100 % organic production by then, up to 81 % more land would be needed. This was calculated by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL). Huge areas of forest would have to be cleared in order to provide enough arable land. This is an important argument used to justify the use of pesticides.

Containment of invasive weeds and alien insect species

Other opinions also claim that pesticides even contribute to the preservation of biodiversity in many ways. The logic behind this is as follows: herbicides can, for example, rid the soil of invasive weeds that are increasingly displacing native plant species. This means that there is no need for extra ploughing and soil organisms such as earthworms are spared in the process.

Another related argument is that soil sealing due to intensive construction is the main cause of biodiversity loss and that agriculture therefore has a much smaller impact on biodiversity. The positive impact of pesticides on biodiversity is even emphasised, in that the efficient use of cultivated land is seen as land conservation (Swiss Food 2021, German source).

Insecticides can also stop the spread of alien insect species that otherwise become rampant and a threat to native biodiversity.

But how valid are these arguments about land use and biodiversity really? Because there are also arguments against the use of pesticides.

What are the arguments against the use of pesticides?

Poisoning of essential insects

One of the most important counter-arguments is also very logical and contradicts the argument in favour of pesticides that says they promote biodiversity. The use also poisons soils and insects (about 80% of insects since 1980!) that should not be destroyed, which contributes significantly to the loss of biodiversity (Bio-Company Magazine October 2019).

source: Farmy 2020

Poison for both humans and animals

Insects that are harmful to plants are not the only ones that can be harmed by pesticides. Birds, amphibians, beetles, butterflies, pollinators such as bees and bumblebees and even individual mammals can also be harmed by the poisons also known as pesticides. Via the food chain, the poisons are absorbed by the animals and can make them very ill (ProNatura 2021, German source).

But the path of pesticides does not end here either. Pesticides can even enter the human organism via food and drinking water. Past studies report that 0.4 per mille per kilogram of pesticide applied enters our organism via food alone. If this value is multiplied by the number of active substances applied in Switzerland each year, it means that each Swiss person consumes an average of at least 10 grams of poison per year.

Even more devastating is when people come into direct contact with pesticides. Pesticides are suspected of causing diseases, including cancer. In France, Parkinson’s disease is recognised as an occupational disease among farmers who have used pesticides more intensively. The people most directly affected by diseases caused by pesticides are women farmers or farm workers who apply these chemicals repeatedly and often unprotected. But other people and ecosystems near agricultural areas are also exposed to them (Public-Eye 2021).

source: Weingut Besson-Strasser 2020

The reach of pesticides

Pesticides in the air

Swiss farmers alone spray 2,000 tonnes of pesticides on their fields every year. On average, that is more than five tonnes per day. These pesticides do not stay on the fields.

In the warm season, so-called “drift” occurs: moisture evaporates from the field – and with it the pesticides. They are then carried further in higher layers of air (Bündnis für eine enkeltaugliche Landwirtschaft 2021, German source).

Greenpeace Switzerland analysed the extent to which this happens. A total of 13 different fungicidal active substances, seven herbicidal active substances and three different insecticides or acaricides were detected in Swiss air (Greenpeace Schweiz 2020, German source).

source: Tilsiter 2020

Pesticides in groundwater

Another channel of dispersal for chemical pesticide cocktails is through the soil, which is how they get into groundwater. From the groundwater, they also flow further into rivers or lakes. The living organisms in the water bodies are thus deprived of their livelihood, as the ecological balance of their habitat is disturbed.

In a study, the Eawag Research Institute and the Ecotox Centre concluded that Swiss streams contain excessive concentrations of pesticide residues – far above the legally permitted maximum levels (ProNatura 2021, German source).

However, especially in recent years, Swiss agriculture has already done a lot to reduce the use of pesticides and to make it more environmentally friendly and efficient. An important aspect of regulating the use of pesticides is the classification of pesticides.

Good and bad pesticides

To further differentiate opinion, it should be added that there are natural and chemical pesticides:

Pesticides range from

  • microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, fungi) and
  • macro-organisms (nematodes, arthropods) through to
  • active substances without living organisms as well as
  • organic pesticides,
  • nature-identical pheromones,
  • substances of natural origin and
  • inorganic substances such as kaolin, sulphur and copper.

Thus, the effects of pesticides are also not the same. While some substances are suspected of causing chronic diseases, others are acutely toxic and immediately fatal (Public-Eye 2021).

Highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) are products “that are recognised as posing particularly high acute or chronic risks to health or the environment”. As early as 2006, the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and the WHO (Word Health Organisation) established the above definition and precise identification criteria for “highly hazardous pesticides”. However, the substances are not yet listed. But this is exactly what would be important in order to draw conclusions and ban certain substances (Public-Eye 2021).

While we are on the subject of the classification of pesticides, it must also be said that the European Union and Switzerland produce a large quantity of pesticides whose use is not permitted on their “own soil”. Nevertheless, agrochemical companies like Syngenta, based in Basel, manage to export pesticides to regions where pesticide regulations are weaker, such as Africa, South America or Asia (PublicEye 2021).

One of these pesticides is called paraquat and is highly toxic. Syngenta is the largest exporter of pesticides not authorised in the EU, followed by BASF and Bayer. An example of a pesticide that is still widely used in this country and is highly controversial is glyphosate.

Glyphosate

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world (Global 2021, German source). More precisely, it is a systemic broad-spectrum or total herbicide. This means that it is lethal to all plants, which is why it is often sprayed before sowing. Systemic means that it is sprayed on, absorbed by the plant and then distributed throughout the tissue of the entire plant.

source: Adobe Stock

The best-known pesticide is also suspected of causing various diseases. The WHO assumes that glyphosate is carcinogenic and can contribute to malformations in newborns. However, science has not yet reached a consensus on this. Furthermore, it is suspected of limiting reproductive capacity.

Albeit Glyphosate is not classified as a “highly hazardous pesticide”, it is clear that it kills not only arable plants but also many wild plants and thus harms the environment. The nectar or pollen is lost, which means that insects that would take up the pollen no longer have any food and decline. Glyphosate is generally prohibited for organic farming.

Pesticides are also used in organic farming

Although glyphosate is banned, pesticides are also used in organic agriculture (organic farming as well as organic farming) – with restrictions.

In organic farming, chemical pesticides and artificial fertilisers are not allowed according to the European organic label – ecological farming goes beyond this and takes into account the natural rhythm of the entire ecosystem. In both, only natural and living organisms, not chemical pesticides, may be used.

Pesticides are also used in ecological farming, especially for special crops such as fruit, vines, vegetables and potatoes. Approximately 40 % of the pesticides sold in Switzerland are also approved for ecological farming. However, the choice of pesticides is limited to living organisms and substances of natural origin as well as individual inorganic substances (FiBl 2019, German source). Sulphur, copper and paraffin oil, for example, are also used in ecological farming (Swiss Food 2021, German source).

In ecological farming, the prevention of diseases through cultural measures such as crop rotation, fertilisation, soil cultivation or the choice of species and varieties is always in the foreground. However, if diseases nevertheless occur, organic farmers must also resort to plant protection products.

source: Bächlihof 2016

State of research and outlook

One problem in pesticide research is that only a few organisms are studied in registration studies. The Federal Office for Agriculture and the Federal Office for the Environment are the lead institutions when it comes to approving pesticides for the Swiss market. The substances are not sold until the laboratory studies have been successful.

However, it is the pesticide industry itself that conducts and evaluates the studies. Critical scrutiny of the active substances by the pesticide industry is therefore largely absent – more transparency is needed here in the approval procedures (Pronatura 2021, German source). However, there are initiatives in the political landscape, such as the Pesticide Ban Initiative or the Drinking Water Initiative (German source), which critically question the issue.

Pesticide alternatives

Alternative, preventive measures for the spread of diseases include diversely designed cropping systems as well as crop rotations, functional agrobiodiversity and robust or resistant varieties used in organic farming.

Likewise, modern diagnostic methods for the early detection of pests based on molecular biological analyses, sensors or high-resolution cameras are part of this.

The availability of innovative technologies is crucial for the further development of sustainable crop protection. Examples could be plant protection products based on newly discovered biocontrol organisms, nanotechnology, new breeding methods, but also innovative machines (for example robots) – here the keyword is “precision farming” (German source) – which is explained very well in the linked article by our producer Juckerfarm (Fibl 2019, German source).

source: Adobe Stock

Conclusion

After a wide research on the controversial topic of pesticide use, it can be summarised: it is better to be careful with the use of pesticides and to find alternatives whenever possible. In individual cases, and also depending on the pesticide, it must be weighed up whether a pesticide should be applied.

Neither conventional agriculture alone nor organic agriculture alone seems to be the solution. Without conventional agriculture, the world’s population cannot be easily fed in the long term unless alternative measures are found. However, the intensive use of pesticides is definitely not the right way.

To prevent the use of chemicals and toxins from becoming too high, it is important to keep the limits of pesticides in soils and food as low as possible. It is clear that the use of pesticides is probably not necessary in the intensity in which it is currently practised.

One approach to getting by with fewer pesticides can be mixed cultivation, for example. Here, the plants help each other to fight pests and thus promote biodiversity.

In the end, it is clear that the consumer can have a say in the widespread use of pesticides through the purchase of products. An expansion of organic farms is definitely still possible, but first the demand must be there so that the costs for the conversion can be covered.

Currently, the market share of organic products is 10 % – this could be expanded to 30-50 %. Ecological farming is also more energy-efficient, produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions, has a positive impact on soils and biodiversity, and thus has fewer fluctuations in yield (Ökolandbau.de 2021 German source), as the system is more resilient. In view of climate change, this is an important factor for food security.

I hope this article has given you a good overview, which will help you to sharpen your opinion on the subject of pesticides.

At Farmy we make sure that most of the products we sell are not treated with chemical pesticides: most of Farmy’s products are sourced locally and from organic food producers who avoid the use of pesticides. In addition, Farmy minimises food waste through its sophisticated logistics system without long storage times. Above all, we can come closer to the goal of “zero waste” through the more conscious handling of food.

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Our producer: Hans Peter Hediger

Posted on 6 min read

“Those who sow can harvest”

"Hediger's Lädeli" with greenery

Not far from the train station in Affoltern am Albis in the Zurich region the Hediger family lives in an inconspicuous single-family home that is adorned with wild briers, vine tomatoes, vine branches and young fruit trees. Next to the entrance is written “Hedigers Lädeli” (“Hediger’s Little Shop”). Behind it, many neatly arranged, delicious products made from special fruit are hiding. The product assortment ranges from apple juice to sparkling wine, dried fruit, jam, vinegars, syrups and schnapps made from fruit.

ProSpezieRara

Hediger's shop showing his products

In front of the shop, there is a small, green metal table with a stout cucumber as well as a few certificates – one of which is “ProSpecieRara”. ProSpecieRara varieties are not to be genetically altered or hybrid. They should be available increasingly in whole sale again, have been traditionally cultivated and used in Switzerland or be equivalent to one such variety (see knowledge details for more info about this (German source)).

In his variety of fruit, Hans Peter mainly devotes himself to ProSpecieRara species which are endangered. A lot of effort and lifelong hard work are behind these awards. He became self-employed in the year 2000 (Hanspeter Hediger, German only). For a considerable amount of time, he was also responsible for cantonal nature protection areas in the Affoltern district. The practitioner – “The man at the front line.”

Of species – to product variety

Apple rings in a wooden tray

In the kitchen of the house, Esther Hediger is stationed. She cuts apple rings and slices and aligns them. Esther is devoted to the hand manufacture of the products and is highly precise in her work. “We’ve worked much and hard and have to take a step back now and live well at the same time – enjoy life some more.”

Esther, with a few helping hands, processes everything on her own. Only the surplus of fruit is turned into distillate so that it is used efficiently. In case the fruit are only enough for the other products, no distillates are available. Hans Peter’s favourite product is the fermented apple juice: “It tastes good, is completely natural, without additives. It’s a very delicious thirst quencher.”

Pouring apple juice through a funnel

The history of the varieties

Hans Peter is a talkative man. Always there for a laugh. In his past, they said he was a happy-go-lucky sort of fellow. Even though he simply likes to tell a joke and take things lightly; have fun in life. He also has fun in his life while working, he says excitedly – and he’s worked plenty in his life. It’s especially important to him to have a connection to the trees and to nature. Treating the trees with love is what constitutes sustainable work for him. “Every species has a story for me…”, he reports; and how he hid the particularly well-tasting pears from his sister when he was a child.

A photograph of Hediger caring for a tree

He fetches old magazines and gives a lecture about his distinctions. One of them is “Prix Bioterra“, which awards people “who have committed to organic gardening, natural gardens or organic agriculture over a long period of time to an exceptional extent” (Bioterra 2013). He takes pride in being able to talk about this. He was a pioneer in the milieu. On a picture in the magazine, the variety of his products is aligned in front of a fruit tree. He points to the image with a finger: “This picture is very beautiful to me.” A content smile crosses his face.

Portrait of Hans Peter Hediger, sitting at a table

Learning from practice

He is a practitioner and has learnt a great deal from practice. Hans Peter stresses that it’s important to make decisions concerning the protection of nature in close attunement to the practice. He regrets that most people only get to know ecology and nature conservation on the paper and that there are only few people left who establish such an intense connection to their work.

“I learnt everything from scratch…” He tells of his great coherent, practical knowledge that he built step-by-step. His work day starts with a look out of the window. “I pay very, very close attention to the weather.” The work is closely connected to nature. Next to his products, Hans Peter also offers consultations concerning garden maintenance as well as variety workshops.

Half-standard orchards

In an orchard, there are over 90 different fruit trees. Altogether, there are around 400 on his leased land areas in the region, he says. “Almost every tree is a different variety. From Juli to November you have to know what is ripe where and when. We pick them weekly by hand.” The varieties range from “Chäppeli” to “Reinacher” apple, “Oberländer Himbeerapfel”, “Leuenapfel”, “Freiherr von Berlepsch” apple, “Uster” apple, “Klingar” apple, “Menznauer Jägerapfel” or the “Stäphner” plums and “Einsiedler” pear, to name but a few.

At almost every tree, Hans Peter pulls out his pocket knife, picks a fruit, cuts slices into the flesh and let’s us try them. Each apple and pear variety tastes different – from sweet-juicy to tangy-starchy – the biodiversity knows no bounds. Some sorts are better suited to these, others to those products.

Close-up of an apple in Hediger's hand. Anja taking a slice

Old varieties, old methods

Pottery put on a tree

For pest control, he uses clay pots with wool made from straw. Green lacewings and earwigs nest there and feast on lice and other vermin.

He also shows us the bees next to his orchard. “Although they are not mine, they are a part of it all for me. I have a holistic view of everything”, he stresses. The exchange is important to him as well. He tutors workshops and project weeks, wants to include people – passing on his old knowledge.

He also tells of the pruning of the tree, which he will consider in case the tree is growing too opulently. “To calm it down, you don’t prune it in winter but in summer. If you take away shoots in summer, you take away growth hormones, thereby calming the tree. And if you prune in winter, the growth hormones have been stored in the roots and the trunk.”

Wood with wholes for insects

Give-and-take

The harvest brings the most joy to the aged man. Attending to and looking after the blooming tree in spring so that it is well cared for is a beautiful time for Hans Peter. It brings him equal joy to see how it abundantly creates happiness in autumn. “That which I am able to harvest is my wealth; in the mind, too…” To tackle work with joy and respect is especially important to him. “I give very much to nature. All my life I’ve made and done so much, but she gives so much back to me.”

Hediger's hand holding the branch of an apple tree

And what does the future hold?

Hans Peter’s biggest challenge at the moment is to ensure that the projects and ideas are passed on and end up in good hands.

Love and the feeling for nature almost exclusively exist on the shiny paper today. But outside on the field you can see how it wastes away in parts because many experts don’t have the knowledge anymore and the attention to detail is being lost. At the end of the day, we should be proud of our work, not do mass production. That is what’s missing today.

Hediger in his garden with an apple in his hand

Hans Peter suggests to increase the involvement of practitioners in cantonale and municipal work. Another message is: “Less is more.” For him, it’s not about raising as many nature conservation and land recultivation projects as possible but to implement good and sustainable care for those projects for which resources are available.

“Nature protection costs a lot of money but it should be sustainable, right? All communities that I supervised in the district are no longer equipped with a practitioner or layperson today but merely with a title. If I was young I wouldn’t be eligible anymore since I am no biologist – without title.” We ask ourselves after the conversation, however, what a title actually says about the qualities and skills of a person. Hans Peter is generous and doesn’t let us leave without filled backpacks either.

Hans Peter Hediger with his wife in their garden

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Unser Produzent: Hans Peter Hediger

Posted on 6 min read

“Wer sät, der kann ernten”

"Hediger's Lädeli" with greenery

Nicht unweit vom Bahnhof in Affoltern am Albis in der Region um Zürich lebt Familie Hediger in einem unscheinbaren Einfamilienhaus geschmückt von Hagebuttensträuchern, Tomatensträuchern, Weinranken sowie jungen Fruchtbäumen. Neben dem Hauseingang steht der Schriftzug “Hedigers Lädeli”. Dahinter verstecken sich fein säuberlich aufgereiht viele feine Produkte aus besonderen Früchten. Die Produktpalette reicht von Süssmost über Schaumweine, Dörrfrüchte, Gonfi, Essige, Sirupe und Brände.

ProSpezieRara

Hediger's shop showing his products

Vor dem Laden steht ein kleiner grüner Metalltisch mit einer kräftigen Gurke sowie ein paar Zertifikaten – eines davon ist “ProSpecieRara”. ProSpecieRara-Sorten dürfen nicht gentechnisch verändert oder hybrid sein. Sie sollten wieder vermehrt im Grosshandel erhältlich sein, in der Schweiz auch traditionellerweise angebaut und genutzt worden sein oder einem Sortentyp entsprechen (siehe Wissen Details für mehr Infos dazu).

Hans Peter widmet sich in seiner Obstsortenvielfalt vor allem ProSpecieRara-Sorten, welche vor dem Aussterben bedroht sind. Hinter diesen Auszeichnungen steckt viel Mühe und ein Leben lang harte Arbeit. Im Jahr 2000 hat er sich selbstständig gemacht (Hanspeter Hediger). Dabei war er lange Zeit im Bezirk Affoltern für kantonale Naturschutzgebiete zuständig. Der Praktiker – “Der Mann an der Front.”

Von Sorten – zu Produktvielfalt

Apple rings in a wooden tray

In der Küche des Hauses steht Esther Hediger. Sie schneidet Apfelringe und Schnitze und reiht sie auf. Esther widmet sich der Handverarbeitung der Produkte und nimmt ihre Arbeit sehr genau. “Wir haben viel und hart gearbeitet und müssen uns langsam zurücknehmen und auch noch gut leben – noch ein bisschen geniessen.”

Esther verarbeitet mit ein paar helfenden Händen alles selbst. Nur der Überschuss der Früchte wird zu Destillaten verarbeitet, sodass er sinnvoll genutzt wird. Wenn die Früchte jedoch nur für die anderen Produkte ausreichen, gibt es keine Destillate. Hans Peters Lieblingsprodukt ist der Gährmost: “Es schmeckt gut, ist total naturbelassen, ohne Zusätze. Er ist ein sehr feiner Durstlöscher.”

Pouring apple juice through a funnel

Die Geschichte der Sorten

Hans Peter ist ein redseliger Mann. Immer für einen Witz zu haben. Früher haben sie gesagt, er sei ein Luftikus. Dabei macht er einfach gerne mal einen Spass und möchte die Dinge leicht nehmen; Spass im Leben haben. Den Spass im Leben hat er auch bei seiner Arbeit, erzählt er begeistert – und er hat in seinem Leben viel gearbeitet. Für ihn ist es besonders wichtig, dass er eine Beziehung zu den Bäumen und der Natur hat. Die Bäume mit Liebe zu behandeln macht für ihn die Nachhaltigkeit der Arbeit aus. “Bei mir hat jede Sorte eine Geschichte…”, berichtet er; und wie er als Kind die besonders gut schmeckenden Birnen vor seiner Schwester versteckt hat.

A photograph of Hediger caring for a tree

Er holt alte Zeitschriften hervor und referiert von seinen Auszeichnungen. Eine davon ist “Prix Bioterra”, welche Personen auszeichnet, “die sich über einen längeren Zeitraum in einem aussergewöhnlichen Mass für den biologischen Gartenbau, den Naturgarten oder den Biolandbau engagieren” (Bioterra 2013). Er ist stolz, darüber erzählen zu können. Er ist ein Pionier in der Szene gewesen. Auf einem Bild in der Zeitschrift ist die Vielfalt seiner Produkte vor einem Obstbaum aufgereiht. Er zeigt mit einem Finger auf das Bild: “Das Bild ist für mich sehr schön.” Ein zufriedenes Lächeln fährt über sein Gesicht.

Portrait of Hans Peter Hediger, sitting at a table

Von der Praxis lernen

Er ist ein Praktiker und hat sehr viel von der Praxis gelernt. Hans Peter betont, dass es wichtig ist, Entscheidungen zum Naturschutz nah an der Praxis zu treffen. Er bedauert, dass die meisten Menschen Ökologie und Naturschutz nur noch auf dem Blatt Papier kennenlernen und dass es nur noch wenige Menschen gibt, die eine so intensive Beziehung zu ihrer Arbeit aufbauen.

“Ich habe alles von der Pike auf gelernt…” Er berichtet von seinem schrittweise erarbeiteten grossen zusammenhängenden Praxis-Wissen. Sein Arbeitstag beginnt mit einem Blick aus dem Fenster. “Ich schaue sehr, sehr stark auf das Wetter.” Die Arbeit ist eng mit der Natur verbunden. Zu Hans Peters Angebot gehören neben den Produkten auch Beratungen zur Gartenpflege sowie Workshops zu Sorten.

Hochstammobstgärten

In einem Obstgarten stehen über 90 verschiedene Obstbäume. Insgesamt stehen auf seinen gepachteten Flächen in der Region ca. 400, sagt er. “Fast jeder Baum ist eine andere Sorte. Von Juli bis November muss man wissen, was wann wo reif ist. Wir gehen wöchentlich von Hand auflesen.” Die Sorten reichen von Chäppeli-Apfel über Reinacher Apfel, Oberländer Himbeerapfel, Leuenapfel, Freiherr von Berlepsch Apfel, Uster Apfel, Klingar Apfel, Menznauer Jägerapfel oder die Stäphner Zwätschgen und Einsiedler Wildbirne, um einige davon zu nennen.

An fast jedem Baum zückt Hans Peter sein Taschenmesser, pflückt eine Frucht, schneidet Schnitzchen ins Fruchtfleisch und lässt uns probieren. Jede Apfel- und Birnensorte schmeckt unterschiedlich – von süss-mehlig über sauer und spritzig – der Biodiversität sind keine Grenzen gesetzt. Einige Sorten eignen sich besser für jene und andere für solche Produkte.

Close-up of an apple in Hediger's hand. Anja taking a slice

Alte Sorten, alte Methoden

Pottery put on a tree

Zur Schädlingsbekämpfung nutzt er Tontöpfe mit Strohwolle. Dort nisten sich Florfliegen und Ohrwürmer ein, welche dann die Läuse und andere Schädlinge fressen.

Er zeigt uns auch die Bienen neben seiner Obstbaumplantage. “Es sind zwar nicht meine, aber die gehören für mich auch dazu. Ich sehe alles ganzheitlich”, betont er. Auch der Austausch ist für ihn wichtig. Er gibt Workshops und Projektwochen, möchte Menschen mit einbeziehen – sein altes Wissen weitergeben.

Er erzählt auch vom Wachstumsschnitt, der für ihn in Frage kommt, wenn der Baum zu üppig wächst. “Zum Beruhigen macht man nicht Winterschnitt, sondern Sommerschnitt. Im Sommer, wenn man Ruten wegnimmt, nimmt man Wachstumshormone weg und kann den Baum so beruhigen. Und wenn man im Winter schneidet, sind die Wachstumshormone in den Wurzeln und im Stamm eingestaut.”

Wood with wholes for insects

Vom Geben und Nehmen

Die Ernte macht dem betagten Mann am meisten Spass. Für Hans Peter ist es eine schöne Zeit, wenn man im Frühling den blühenden Baum begleitet und betreut, sodass es ihm gut geht. Genauso bereitet es ihm Freude, wenn man im Herbst sieht, wie er in Hülle und Fülle Freude macht. “Das, was ich ernten kann, ist mein Reichtum, auch im Geist…” Die Arbeit mit Freude und Respekt anzugehen ist für ihn besonders wichtig. “Ich gebe der Natur sehr viel. Mein ganzes Leben lang habe ich schon so viel gemacht und getan, aber sie gibt mir so viel retour.”

Hediger's hand holding the branch of an apple tree

Und was sagt die Zukunft?

Hans Peters grösste Herausforderung ist aktuell, dass die Projekte und Ideen weitergegeben werden und in gute Hände kommen.

Die Liebe und das Gefühl zur Natur ist heute fast nur auf dem glänzenden Papier. Aber im Feld draussen siehst du, wie es teilweise verkümmert, weil das Wissen von vielen Fachleuten nicht mehr vorhanden ist und die Liebe zum Detail verloren geht. Wir sollen am Abend stolz sein auf unsere Arbeit und nicht im Akkord schaffen. Das fehlt heute.

Hediger in his garden with an apple in his hand

Hans Peter schlägt vor, in der kantonalen und kommunalen Arbeit wieder vermehrt die Praktiker zu involvieren. Eine weitere Botschaft ist: “Weniger ist mehr.” Für ihn geht es nicht darum, möglichst viele Naturschutzprojekte und Renaturierungen hochzuziehen, sondern für diejenigen, für die Ressourcen vorhanden sind, auch eine gute und nachhaltige Pflege umzusetzen.

“Naturschutz kostet sehr viel Geld, aber es sollte nachhaltig sein, oder? Alle Gemeinden, die ich betreute im Bezirk, sind heute nicht mehr mit einem Praktiker oder Laien bestückt, sondern nur noch mit Titel. Wenn ich jung wäre, käme ich nicht mehr in Frage, weil ich kein Biologe bin – ohne Titel.” Wir fragen uns nach dem Gespräch jedoch, was ein Titel überhaupt über die Qualitäten und Fertigkeiten eines Menschen aussagt. Hans Peter ist grosszügig und lässt auch uns nicht ohne voll gefüllte Rucksäcke gehen.

Hans Peter Hediger with his wife in their garden

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Vietnamesische Sommerrollen

Posted on 1 min read

Dieses Rezept aus der vietnamesischen Küche ist superleicht und frisch – ein perfektes Sommergericht!

Vietnamesische Sommerrollen
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Vietnamesische Sommerrollen
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Servings
4 Personen
Servings
4 Personen
Ingredients
Für die Sommerrollen
Für die Sauce
Servings: Personen
Units:
Instructions
  1. Rüebli schälen und in dünne Streifen schneiden. Radieschen putzen, waschen, halbieren und in dünne Scheiben schneiden. Lauchzwiebeln putzen, waschen und in dünne Ringe schneiden. Spinat verlesen, waschen und gut abtropfen lassen. Tofu in breite Streifen schneiden. 2 EL Öl in einer Pfanne erhitzen. Tofu darin unter Wenden ca. 4 Minuten anbraten und herausnehmen. Minze waschen, trocken schütteln und Blätter abzupfen.
  2. 1 Reispapier ca. 1 Minute in Wasser einweichen und mit einem Tuch abtupfen. Reispapier auf die Arbeitsfläche legen. Auf dem Papier 6–10 Blätter Minze verteilen. 1/8 der Möhren, Radieschen, des Spinats, Tofus und der Lauchzwiebeln auf den unteren Rand des Reispapiers legen. Gemüse mit 1 TL Sesamöl beträufeln. Reispapier fest zusammenrollen. Mit restlichem Reispapier ebenso verfahren.
  3. Für die Sauce alle Zutaten zusammenmixen und die Sommerrollen eintunken.

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Potato and lovage soup

Posted on 1 min read

Here we have a simple hearty soup for you!

Potato and lovage soup
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All products can be replaced by plant-based alternatives.
Servings
4 people
Servings
4 people
Potato and lovage soup
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
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All products can be replaced by plant-based alternatives.
Servings
4 people
Servings
4 people
Ingredients
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. First peel and finely chop onion. Peel and coarsely dice the potatoes.
  2. Melt butter in a frying pan and fry onions. Add the potatoes and fry. Deglaze with white wine and boil down for two minutes.
  3. Finely chop the lovage with scissors over the pan and drop to the onion. Add the flour and stir for about one minute until lightly browned.
  4. Pour in the broth and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Add milk and puree with a hand blender.

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Kartoffel-Liebstöckel-Suppe

Posted on 1 min read

Hier haben wir eine einfach würzige Suppe für dich!

Kartoffel-Liebstöckel-Suppe
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Servings
4 Personen
Servings
4 Personen
Kartoffel-Liebstöckel-Suppe
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
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Alle tierischen Produkte können durch pflanzliche Alternativen ersetzt werden.
Servings
4 Personen
Servings
4 Personen
Ingredients
Servings: Personen
Units:
Instructions
  1. Zuerst Zwiebel schälen und fein schneiden. Kartoffeln schälen und grob würfeln.
  2. Die Butter in der Pfanne schmelzen, Zwiebeln darin andünsten. Kartoffeln mit andünsten. Mit Weisswein ablöschen und zwei Minuten einkochen.
  3. Den Liebstöckel mit der Schere über der Pfanne fein schneiden und zur Zwiebel fallen lassen. Das Mehl dazugeben und ca. eine Minute rühren bis es leicht bräunlich geworden ist.
  4. Mit der Brühe aufgießen und 15 Minuten ziehen lassen.
  5. Milch beigeben und mit dem Stabmixer pürieren.

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