Dream Weaver

Dream Weaver

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Yamagishi Frühlingsfest

It's been long and not having time to sit down and dig my head into writing my blog. It's always easy to start up with something new, but try to keep it up is always an issue. In the last couple of weeks, I noticed spring had gradually come, but not so obvious. Now in May still, the weather is cold and sometimes when it rains and winds chilly, you 'd wonder does seasonality really exist. I remember in primary school, my geography teacher told us "In Hong Kong, we have four seasons, Spring is from January to April with moist warm air from the East China sea, we have foggy and the cloudiest sky of the year. Then Summer comes in May and lasts till August. When you see tree leaves turn yellowish and start to fall in September, you know it's Autumn and it's a season for family hiking.We have cool and dry winter from December till end of February." However, nowadays Winter doesn't necessarily mean overcoats and gloves.  When I was still small I remember the time during Chinese New Year which is usually around Jan/Feb, kids used to follow the parents from homes to homes to visit relatives and send out new year greetings. My mom would put me on the warmest clothes and dresses, since it's supposed to be the coldest days of the year. This cliché omage of lovers huddle together walking on winter streets with Christmas lights on might soon becomes outmoded and  far-gone. Winter is not that cold anymore in Hong Kong and don't be surprised one day you may see your guests wearing T-shirt and sandals come visit you in Chinese new year.
2 small volunteers :-) 

apple trees flowers, in late May and June they will slowly mature to apples!

Angus beef... fed on fresh silage 

delivery fresh regional farm products to Swiss !

My time in Switzerland has gone like an arrow. I'm happy and lucky enough to have met some angles around. When I'm abroad, it's always been my wish to try out more local things, and do stuff with the locals. It's the way to help yourself to adapt to a new culture. Last weekend, I was in a Yamagishi Früflingsfest (Spring festival) at my friend's family farm nearby Winterthur. Usually Früflingsfest is a time for farms to open up for visitors, to showcase their fresh farm products and to celebrate the coming of Spring. People from the nearby villages or the region come with family and kids, enjoy the day and have some freshly produced regional cheese, milk and vegetables. But it's a bit different with Yamagishi farm. "The Yamagishi movement is a network of egalitarian intentional communities which originated in Japan. People in these communities live without money and with minimal personal possessions, but their needs are provided for by the community. There are no bosses or set working hours. Their primary industries are farming and ranching." (WiKipedia). 

Yummy :-) it tastes homemade Japanese style!

Okolomiyaki - Japanese pancakes, so tasty! 

The laying box on the left keeps the hen warm with small eggs laid 

Farm Eggs - visitors come pick their own ones from the laying box

Their idea is to create a world "in which our children and grandchildren can live without worries, a world in which everyone and everything has the same chance to live a happy life, that is our goal, and we work for life". A lady who shared with me her life-changing experience with a Yamagishi farm in Japan back in 25 years ago. She said, it's all about "to do things from your mind to your heart, and from heart to actions". They live and work with their motto "Ich - ein Teil der Natur - werde ein Mensch, dessen Gedanken, Taten und Gefühle zum Gedeihen aller Lebewesen, der Sonne und der Erde beitragen" , which means I, being a part of nature, a person will contribute its thoughts, actions and feelings to the prosperity of all living beings, the Sun and the Earth. 

There are around 14 people live in the Yamagishihof in Switzerland, they keep livestock like Angus beef cattle, chickens for eggs and fattening pigs for sausages, and a small orchard for apple trees. Animals are respected and provided with comfortable living space, to have a happy life. The Yamagishihof buys farm products from neighboring farms like seasonal vegetables and deliver farm products to small quarters in cities like Basel and Zurich.

mini music concert and afternoon cake session
The festival
Last weekend the Yamagishihof were busy preparing for the festival. There I met more than 20 people and volunteers from Belgium, Korea and Kenya came to set up the ground and event. It was cool there was even an Indian tipi and camp fire inside where we were sitting around to keep warm and make hot tea. On Saturday we set up a mini golf course and collected wild flowers for decorating the dining tables. I was shifting around various tasks, sometimes being outside or stayed in the kitchen preparing dinner. The kitchen I must say, is always the busiest corner with the "cooking mamas" preparing good meals for us :-) In the evening after the long day of preparation, we sat down in a circle and sharing. We went a round to say what we had learnt or felt about the works or "zusammenarbeit" (work together in German). I feel everyone is so motivated to helping out and does everything from the heart. You've got to take initiatives, because nobody is giving orders, but people are ready to instruct you. 

On the Sunday, the event started at 10 a.m. and I guess during the day over a hundred people came. Most of them are Yamagishihof supporters or customers, some of them are old friends or farmers from the region. Since Yamagishi has a close link to the Japanese community and the culture, there were quite a lot of Japanese visitors. Funny thing is, I was mistaken to be a Japanese, I would never mind cos I can't tell European faces too.

I am happy to be invited to this farm event and to get to know more about Swiss farms. Yamagishihof has set a good example of promoting community supported agriculture (CSA) by establishing close relationships between farmers and customers. By educating customers the importance of buying seasonal and regional farm products. It is not necessarily be organic, but agricultural products could be produced in more ecologically friendly methods, which concern more about animal ethics, use less chemicals and live in harmony with the nature, so that species can be nourished by high biodiversity of the farms.
Crowds searched for farm eggs!

Our mini golf-course looks good  :-) Good job Lukas !

Merci viel Mal Aunt Renate, Auf Wiedersehen..

More about yamagishi in Switzerland:

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