The Central Plateau («Mittelland») stretches from Lake Geneva in the southwest to Lake Constance in the northeast. It is the most densely populated region in Switzerland, and agriculture is practiced on about half of the area.
Our tour starts in the Bernese Seeland, also known as the "vegetable garden of Switzerland". In Ried b. Kerzers, the Gutknecht Gemüse farm gives us an insight into large-scale vegetable cultivation. A wide range of conventional and organic vegetables are grown in greenhouses and in the open field for sale to wholesalers and for the farm's own store. A special focus is placed on the heating of the greenhouses, which in the future will be fossil-free with district heating from a wood-fired power plant.
Then we drive to the banks of the Broye Canal, where the brothers Léandre and Maxime Guillod planted the first wet rice fields north of the Alps between Lakes Murten and Neuchâtel. They will introduce us to the production as well as the motivations for the cultivation of this exotic crop for Switzerland. Afterwards we will enjoy a lunch snack.
We make our next stop in Jeuss at Reto Minder's farm. His only "farm animals" on the farm are earthworms. The president of Swiss No-Till has been advocating soil conservation tillage methods for many years. Among other things, he is known for no-till cultivation of Brussels sprouts. He is currently making new experiences with relay intercropping, whereby two main crops grow simultaneously in the same field. He hopes that this will increase the efficiency of fertilizer and pesticide use in open fields. We visit his fields and he shows us on site how his soils are developing.
On the way to dinner we will stop at a cattle farm with grazing and own fodder production. Details will follow soon.
We will end our tour with a cozy dinner on the shore of Lake Morat, where we will feast on fish from the lake. A presentation by a professional fisherman is planned.