Tag Archives: Switzerland

Seminar on Community Seed Banks in Oslo

On 31st October, I took part in a seminar at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute in Oslo on Community Seed Banks with interesting talks and discussions with pioneers of the seed saver movement in Europe from Pro Specie Rara (Switzerland), Heritage Seed Library (UK) and Aegilops (Greece). Videos of all the talks can be seen by following the link: https://www.fni.no/news/community-seed-banks-as-springboards-for-enhancing-food-and-crop-diversity-article2178-330.html
In my short 10 minute introduction to Norwegian Seed Savers, I talk about one of the pioneers and the person that inspired me into seed saving, Lawrence Hills of the Henry Doubleday Research Association. The first newsletter I received from HDRA in 1980 was about the World’s Vanishing Vegetables…almost exactly 40 years on it’s a very interesting read:  https://www.fni.no/getfile.php/1311057-1573120703/Dokumenter/Kvann%20-%20powerpoint%20presentation.pdf
Thanks to Regine Anderson of FNI for arranging this event!

Visit to Pro Specie Rara

On 4th April 2018, I took advantage of my trip to Switzerland to attend the The Potential of Perennials for Food Resilience symposium to visit KVANN’s (Norwegian Seed Savers) sister organisation Pro Specie Rara in Basel. Many thanks to Director Béla Bartha (since 2002) and Head of Education, Esther Meduna for making me feel so welcome. The trial grounds and offices of Pro Specie Rara are located in the Merian Gärten, a botanical garden in Basel. I lead a walk and talk of the trial grounds and botanical collections followed by an evening lecture at Markthalle in the centre of Basel! A great place for a seed saver organisation to be located! Béla also showed me their seed vault a specially climate controlled room (15C and 15% humidity). The walk and talk was sadly interrupted by heavy rain and we moved indoors and I did a short version of my evening lecture instead!

See also on Facebook here:  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10156381535005860&type=1&l=add4af4a2e

Pictures and review of my walk and talk at Merian Gärten: https://www.prospecierara.ch/de/news/rueckblick-around-the-world-in-80-plants
Here’s a review of my lecture:  https://einfachnachhaltig.net/2018/05/14/around-the-world-in-80-plants

Talking in a swimming pool: Neubad and Neugarten

On Thursday 5th April 2018, I arrived to give a talk at a place called Neubad in Lucerne! I had no idea that I would be talking from the deep end of a swimming pool ;)
Neubad, formerly a swimming pool, is now a thriving alternative cultural centre! Across the road I also visited Neugarten, a small community garden.
Thanks to Francesca Blachnik and Sven for inviting me and showing me around!

With Mountain Gardener Joe Hollis in the Zurich Botanical Gardens

During my trip to Switzerland I had a fantastic day together with Mountain Gardener Joe Hollis in Zurich, first in the new (larger) Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich where some 7,000 plant species can be seen and later in the old botanical garden which is still maintained as a public park!
Joe is incredibly knowledgeable about useful plants and we spoke mostly latin!
Thanks to Matthias Brück​ and Kala Serafim​ for bringing us together!
More about Joe here: https://www.mountaingardensherbs.com

The Potential of Perennials for Food System Resilience Symposium

Last weekend I attended this symposium in Stans (near Lucerne) with a diverse group of people including farmers, decision makers, bankers, investors, NGOs, students, landscape architects, writers, international organisations, chefs, plant breeders, university researchers, syntropic farmers, permaculturists etc. to discuss the role of perennials in what more and more people are seeing as a necessary paradigm shift in agriculture in the face of climate change and dwindling resources.
The program: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5a574020b078696d379ca25e/t/5ab04a9288251bfd948ffe44/1521502868186/Program+PerennialsConference+7.Apr18.pdf

The Potential of Perennials for Food Resilience symposium

Happy to announce that I’ll be in Switzerland the week after Easter to attend and talk at a symposium on “The Potential of Perennials for Food Resilience”   Here’s the symposium announcement: https://www.perennials-resilience.org (more later!).
Excited that I’ll get to meet Mr. Mountain Gardens himself, Joe Hollis, who is also attending. Many of you will know Joe from his youtube videos, like this one on Udo (Aralia cordata): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNzCpfSQWks
Joe has spent 25 years developing Paradise Gardens, a botanical garden of edible plants in the mountains of western N. Carolina!
I will also visit Pro Specie Rara (KVANN – Norwegian Seed Savers’ counterpart in Switzerland!) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ProSpecieRara
Thanks to Matthias Brück and Katharina Serafimova for doing most of the organising!