FondsGoetheanum: agriculture

Pioneer work for tomorrow’s bread

Based in Hombrechtikon, Peter Kunz’s ‘Wheat Research’ business has been conducting research for 25 years on wheat and spelt varieties specially suited to organic agriculture.

There was once a young, very idealistic agronomist, who made it his task to cultivate wheat and spelt varieties suited to organic agriculture. After achieving the first cross-breeding of two cereals in 1984, he created his first variety of spelt, ‘Alkor’. Since then his business has grown to a dozen employees.

Peter Kunz, seed selector : a charismatic pioneer achieves his aims.

Perseverance pays

In the first years, the new seeds changed hands only among bio-dynamic farms, because the market was strictly regulated. At the time, to create one’s own seeds was considered completely utopian, because the cultivation of cereals was entirely a matter for public authorities.
Peter Kunz and his colleagues succeeded in their objectives, despite such a setback as the loss of their entire stock due to a flood. Finally, in 1996, ‘Alkor’ was officially recognised as a seed variety and, in 2000, definitively authorised.
The cultivation of cereal varieties specially adapted to organic farming meets a great need, particularly from agronomy, baking and nutritional points of view. One can hardly imagine that, in Switzerland and Germany, there are now 16 officially listed varieties of organic wheat and spelt created by Peter Kunz.

Consolidating success for his anniversary

This year Peter Kunz’s business celebrated its 25th year. Throughout that time, its work has been supported by donations from both individuals and foundations now numbering 250 and 12 respectively.

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The “GEN Child” of Isidor

Isidor Steinemann, courageous and active

In the first week of July, non-GM Swiss agriculture received powerful support from Isidor Steinermann from Arlesheim, near Basel. On his own initiative, this 11 year old Steiner school pupil collected more than 700 signatures in favour of non-GM natural agriculture. But he did not want to send his petition by post to its intended recipient, the Economics Minister, Doris Leuthard; so he took it on foot from Basel to Berne!
Isidor had the idea in the spring of 2008, after having taken part in a ‘Sow the Future’ demonstration. He met with a lot of support, and in the summer of 2008 went with his mother to reconnoitre the route and organise overnight stays on farms.
His parents supported the initiative. Some friends went with him, bringing with them their parents and other friends. In the end, 30 to 40 people took part in the march, which set off from Basel on Sunday 28 June. The ‘action’ was called ‘GEN Child’.
As the Economy Minister was away on 4 July, when Isidor arrived in Berne, she could not herself receive the signatures. So Isidor took his petition to the national office of Basel’s Federal Representative, Mayn Graf, who then passed it on to the Minister.
The next day, at the Annual Meeting of the Swiss Biodynamic Association, Isidor was rewarded for his ‘action’, with a gratis membership until the age of 25.

Alfred Schaedeli