“Crop protection products” deposited in the soil via private households and agriculture find their way into the groundwater. Last year, this issue entered the Swiss political arena. Now the Swiss Small Farmers Pesticide-Free Action Week brings the subject back to the nation’s attention.
First of all, there is no reason to begin panicking about our health as soon as the word pesticides is mentioned. The safety threshold for pesticides in groundwater is set low, and as our ever-increasing life expectancy shows, we are not being systematically poisoned – even if, in view of approaching votes, the situation is sometimes painted darker than it is.
However, the use of pesticides is not only a question of personal health, but also concerns our interaction with entire ecosystems: The soil and its microbiome, as well as plants and their roots, livestock and its manure, and the entire animal kingdom, from the smallest of creatures right up to the majestic lynx, depend on each other. And put together, they form the very basis of our life.
Because pesticides are not specific to individual pests in their toxicity, and because these poisons are used on a large scale, the biodiversity of insects, for example, from the tiniest beetle to the gently fluttering butterfly, is dwindling. If there are fewer insects, then there is less food for birds, which leads in turn to noiselessness in our woods and forests. “Silent Spring” is the name coined by the Swiss Small Farmers’ Association, to describe this dreaded phenomenon – and it’s fighting this increasing silence in forests, meadows and hedgerows this spring by jumping on board the 17th International Pesticide-Free Action Week.
Pesticide-Free Action Week
The Pesticide-Free Action Week began on March 20 and runs until March 30. “The first ten days of spring represent the return of birds and beautiful weather, but it’s also the time when pesticide spraying on our fields begins,” explains the organization. The Swiss Small Farmers demonstrate how everybody can do something for biodiversity (shopping at pesticide-free farms stores, creating habitats for beneficial insects etc.) by offering a variety of hands-on activities for the whole family. The stable, high-pressure weather system that is set to remain until the end of March is the perfect excuse to head out to a farm near you or your favourite mountain region to discover more. After all, knowing more also means enjoying more.
March 26: Frauenanlass: Diskussion und Degustation biodynamischen Weinen in Twann (BE)
March 26: Workshop junge bio-Obstbäume veredeln in Wiedlisbach (BE)
March 27: Hofrundgang in Wiedlisbach (BE)
March 27: Produzentenbesuch auf den Birkenhof in Uster (ZH)
March 28: FOODTALK #7 Pestizide in der Landwirtschaft in Zürich (ZH)
March 29: Visite d'un domaine viticole en biodynamie à Môtier-Vully (FR)
March 31: Avant-première du film documentaire «Vigneronnes» à Lausanne (VD)
April 2: Rundgang auf dem Biohof Heimenhaus in Kirchlindach (BE)
2 avril: Avant-première du film documentaire «Vigneronnes» à Corcelles (NE)
Everything you need to know about the Action Week can be found here.
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