At the Anniversary Symposium, Biovision reflected on 20 years of real help. The pioneers took a journey into its past with over 1,000 guests in Zurich’s fully-booked Volkshaus.
20 years of real help
“Someone who is always 100% convinced of what he is doing and does not accept no,” answered Hans Herren with a smile when asked the question of what a visionary is. The price for this is a pile of work, but it ultimately leads to success. Anne Rüffer, who had this conversation with Hans Herren, can confirm his theory. The journalist and publisher is also a member of the jury of the "Right Livelihood Award," which awarded Biovision and its founder Hans Herren the Alternative Nobel Prize in 2013 for their work.
The example of organic agronomist Janet Maro from Tanzania showed what enthusiastic people with a vision can build and achieve. In 2008, she contacted Biovision and modestly asked for support to buy a laptop computer. Janet Maro needed a laptop to be able to advise small farmers in the Morogoro area with information from Biovision’s Infonet and offer them courses in agroecological methods. Out of her small project, which she had started together with her husband, grew the organization Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT), which she now heads as co-director. SAT was the first organic farming school in Africa. Today, she and her 15-person team teach hundreds of farmers about sustainable organic farming every year.
You can find more impressions of the anniversary symposium in our photo gallery.
"Africa's future is green"
Biovision invited the well-known photojournalist Patrick Rohr on an adventurous trip through East Africa last summer. There, he met many people who were able to improve living conditions for themselves and their families thanks to Biovision's organic cultivation methods. His travel report told about Africa's green future through vivid and touching stories. One was brought back to life when Margaret Karanja from Kenya joined Patrick Rohr on stage. She is happy and proud of the organic garden she has built up for her family and neighbors over the years. She is especially happy that her granddaughter Makayle belongs to the first generation of Kenyans that is able to eat exclusively organic vegetables.
The awakening has begun
Dr. Christian Schöb, Professor of Agroecology at ETH Zurich, led a lively expert discussion with Dr. Stefan Diener, biologist and insect expert at Biovision. The audience learned interesting facts about the current state of plant research and how Biovision has implemented laboratory findings in the field. "In order to implement solutions for complex topics such as food security or climate change, interdisciplinary cooperation is required, for example in research and practice-oriented organizations such as Biovision," Professor Dr. Schöb summed up the discussion.
Stefanie Pondini, Biovision Program Manager for Policy and Advocacy, also highlighted the importance of cooperation at all levels and between different partners. "Development projects alone are not enough to set the political agenda," said Pondini while describing experiences she had shared with Janet Maro and others while working on Agenda2030. To achieve political change, the political decision-makers must be convinced directly. Biovision gives small farmers a voice and emphasizes the credibility of their demands for agricultural change by using successful practical examples.
The guests lastly experienced a world premier with Marcus Maeder, who took them on a journey of discovery into the realm of soil sounds. "Every year, fertile land twice the size of Switzerland disappears worldwide" said Andi Schriber, CEO of Biovsion, drawing attention to a silent catastrophe. To ensure that soil as a resource receives the attention it deserves, in autumn Biovision launched the upcoming Sounding Soil project in in collaboration with scientific partners
Thanks to all employees: donors, patrons and members
At its anniversary symposium, Biovision took a journey into its past to look at "20 years of real help." Its journey landed at the present, where the departure into the future has already begun. The great interest in the event demonstrates Biovision’s strong support from its longstanding loyal members, donors and patrons. You all form the backdrop for our much-valued staff. Without your help, we would not be able to do our work.
Many thanks to all of you who have contributed by supporting us financially. To honor your cooperation, we have dedicated this campaign to you.
Biovision would like to give a heartfelt thanks to all the people who, through their contributions and financial support, have made the past "20 years of real help" and the continuation of this journey possible.
In the words of Franz Hohler: "Biovision is 20 years young – now we're really getting started!”