Re-cultivation of Emmer and Einkorn

    Aims

    By re-cultivating Emmer and Einkorn, two traditional cereal species are protected from extinction. Emmer and Einkorn are cultivated without any pesticides and only little fertilizer. Moreover, high-quality ecological compensation areas are implemented with every new field of Emmer and Einkorn. Thereby, highly threatened arable plants and animal species relying on them (many ground-breeding bird species) are promoted. High-quality products such as breads and pasta are successfully marketed nationally and regionally via wholesalers and retailers. Not only biodiversity, but also farmers benefit from the cultivation of Emmer and Einkorn.

    Approach

    What started with a few grains and a visionary idea back in the 1990s has turned into a successful concept for future nature and species conservation on farmland: A low-intensity production without any herbicides, combined with the implementation of high-quality ecological compensation areas and a regional and national marketing of exclusive products made of Emmer and Einkorn. The cultivation of Emmer and Einkorn is concentrated in three regions in northern Switzerland (Schaffhausen, Rafzerfeld, Fricktal/Schenkenbergertal) and is now coordinated by the "Interest group for the promotion of Emmer and Einkorn" founded in 2005 (Schweizerische Interessengemeinschaft zur Förderung von Emmer und Einkorn).

    Significance

    Commerce and trade partners such as the wholesaler Migros and the bakery Hiestand are convinced of the quality of Emmer and Einkorn products. They have recognised that a reliable story and sustainably produced foods enjoy the consumers´ confidence and can be marketed very successfully. This concept has opened up new perspectives for species conservation in intensively used farmland areas. In 2008, the wholesaler Migros and IP-SUISSE (integrated farming), in collaboration with the Swiss Ornithological Institute, have developed the new label TerraSuisse, which is based on the findings of the Emmer/Einkorn project.

    Results

    Emmer and Einkorn are now re-cultivated on approx. 200 ha by several dozens of farmers. The partners, the producers and the subpurchasers declared by contract their cooperation in achieving the goals of this project. Subpurchasers and consumers compensate the ecological added value accomplished by the farmers in a fair way. Scientific studies show that ground-breeders such as the skylark benefit from the low-intensity cultivation of Emmer and Einkorn.

    Project management

    Markus Jenny

    Partners

    Mühle Bachmann, Willisdorf
    IP-SUISSE
    Migros Genossenschaftsbund
    Agridea
    IG Dinkel
    Biofarm Genossenschaft, Kleindietwil
    Sativa Rheinau AG

    Publications

    Seidl, I., O. Schelske, J. Joshi & M. Jenny (2003):
    Entrepreneurship in biodiversity conservation and regional development.