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My field, my produce, my cuisine.

My field, my produce, my cuisine.

My field, my produce, my cuisine.

The principle of "Solawi" solidarity farming is as follows: A reliance on organic vegetables that are freshly harvested every day right at our doorstep according to demand and the season. Organic hotel proprietor Emanuel Moosbrugger has launched the Bregenzerwald’s first solidarity farming project.

The “Solawi” solidarity-farming concept is simple: consumers collaborate with local farmers to guarantee that a certain amount of produce is purchased. Both sides benefit as consumers receive fresh, regional goods from trusted farmers, shape the product range, and help preserve the cultural landscape and biodiversity. Meanwhile, farmers reduce their risk and increase awareness about quality and consumption.

When it comes to the Bregenzerwald, the push to buy organic, high-quality vegetables from the region instead of from wholesalers originated from the proprietor of the “Schwanen” organic hotel in Bizau. If you ask Emanuel Moosbrugger, such a step was long overdue. The Bregenzerwald is known for many things, but vegetable cultivation is not one of them. So in 2017, a garden was planted in Bizau opposite the hotel. They were supported by Johannes and Katharina, who changed careers and now run an urban gardening project in Zurich. The pair devised a concept covering everything from the vegetable beds to the planting of crops, which was perfectly coordinated to suit the “Wild Ladies” style of cuisine at the “Schwanen” hotel.

Christoph Kaufmann, the son of a Bregenzerwald organic farmer and an enthusiastic outdoorsman, subsequently founded the first “Solawi” in Bregenzerwald. He named his project “Land.Wird” and soon began working in the garden together with Julie de Martino. In order to cover demand for the large quantities purchased by the hotel and private consumers, a 180-square-metre field including a greenhouse was planted in the neighbouring village of Bezau. Chard, beans, cucumbers, courgette, pak choi and lettuce now grow here and are used in the organic hotel’s cuisine, making a significant contribution to the menu (see article on page 50). “For us, this created an absolutely ideal situation that we can no longer do without,” agree Emanuel Moosbrugger and Head Chef Michael Webendorfer. The latter adds: “The product quality and proximity to the garden (where we can witness the growing process) are a dream come true for me as a chef.”

Regular meetings between the kitchen and garden teams have led to further novel ideas. “We have to act seasonally and think about supplies year-round: produce is preserved, pickled, fermented or dried, leading to some incredible possibilities.” According to Moosbrugger, being organic and self sufficient has many advantages: “We can now confidently focus on the produce as well. Consequently, our garden is a showpiece for our guests in the parlour, but also when it comes to marketing. The best thing that can happen to us as an organic farm is to have control over the produce that grows in the neighbouring village, the origin of which is always traceable, as opposed to produce that is brought in from far away. Self-sufficiency is in line with our organic philosophy.”

Author: Markus Curin
Issue: Bregenzerwald Travel Magazine – Summer 2021