Tour E: Central Switzerland

Transformation through innovation

We start from Interlaken over the Brünig Pass into the heartland of Switzerland, into central Switzerland.


In the canton of Obwalden we visit the organic mushroom farm in Kerns. Sepp Häcki ran a pig farm for almost 10 years. In 1994, a new regulation on water protection came into force. The new regulation reduced the amount of manure allowed per square metre of land. As a result, the customers of manure from pig farming terminated their manure contracts. This meant the end of animal husbandry for the then 35-year-old. In order to ensure the survival of his family, Sepp Häcki looked for alternatives and became inventive. In a seminar on sustainable agriculture in Germany, he got to know Asian mushroom varieties. He then decided to start mushroom production. Under the name "Kernser Edelpilze", the first Shiitake mushrooms left the municipality of Kerns in 1995 / 1996. 


In 2011, Sepp Häcki and his son Patrick built the world's first fully automated substrate production plant with a bag system. Mushroom sales were continuously expanded. In 2016, a new building was built. 


Today, organic gourmet mushrooms are produced all year round, the widest range of cultivated mushrooms in Europe. Depending on the season, up to six different varieties of the finest gourmet mushrooms are available on the market.

"Kernser Edelpilze" has continuously expanded the business. (rho)
"Kernser Edelpilze" has continuously expanded the business. (rho)

We continue along Lake Lucerne to Alberswil, where we visit Burgrain Agrovision. There we visit the Swiss Agricultural Museum Burgrain, an education and dialogue centre for sustainable agriculture and food. "Who is agriculture?" We will explore this question in the new main exhibition. There will also be a wide range of exhibitions, guided tours and experience modules on sustainable agriculture. 


On the Burgrain, we also enjoy apero and lunch in the organic restaurant. Afterwards, we have the opportunity to visit the farm and the processing plants on the premises. You can also visit the organic farm, restaurant and farm shop on the Burgrain.

The Agrarmuseum Burgrain in the Canton of Lucerne. (© Schweizerisches Agrarmuseum Burgrain / Irène Lütolf)
The Agrarmuseum Burgrain in the Canton of Lucerne. (© Schweizerisches Agrarmuseum Burgrain / Irène Lütolf)

During the afternoon, we will visit Switzerland's first farm with slurry acidification to reduce methane and ammonia emissions. The pilot operation will be accompanied by a scientific project. And we will learn more about Agroscope Sursee's Nutrient Flux Test Station. In regions with large numbers of livestock, large surpluses of nitrogen and phosphorus arise from manure and slurry. These pollute the environment. The Nutrient Flux Test Station in the Canton of Lucerne is looking for solutions to increase nutrient efficiency and reduce emissions from livestock farming. A farm network is also involved in the experiments.

We will have dinner on a event farm in central Switzerland.