"We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons."
Alfred E. Newman
Switzerland lays great stress on environmentally friendly farming, although it involves greater costs.
The Swiss journal "Kultur und Politik" reported on organic farming starting in 1946. Organic food was sold directly to customers by post, to the cooperative Migros and to food-enterprises belonging to the Reform movement. During the 1960s organic-biological farming concepts spread from Switzerland to Austria and Germany.
Professional organizations concerned with extension, certification and marketing were established during the 1980's. There was an upsurge in the number of farms producing organic food in the 1990s. By 2009 some 11.1% of all farms had been awarded the organic symbol: a white bud in a green circle.
Organic farming is particularly popular in mountain areas. Figures issued by the Federal Statistical Office showed that in 2009 20% of mountain farms were organic. That year the Swiss spent 170 francs per head on organic produce, in particular vegetables, fruit and eggs.
Of all European countries Switzerland, along with Austria, has the highest proportion of usable land given over to organic farming.
In 1992 Switzerland announced that battery chicken farming was to be phased out - another world first. The addition of antibiotics to animal feed has been forbidden since 1998. Hormones are also banned. But such strict regulations put farmers under pressure when it comes to producing food at prices consumers are willing to pay.
You will find organic and natural foods products in every Swiss town. They are sold in most supermarkets and in some pharmacies. Some towns will have a natural foods store. Organic products are called "bio". The Coop stores have a selection of organic or "bio" products (called "Natura Plan"). Migros also offers bio products. You will find the bio products grouped together in each section.
Look for a "Reform Haus" sign; this means natural foods. If a pharmacy has a sign saying "Reform Haus" or "Reform", they will have a small natural foods section.
For more detailed information go directly to the Swiss bio link here: http://www.bio-suisse.ch
The most enjoyable way to shop for healthy food, however, is to visit your local fresh food market. Most towns and villages have a weekly market selling local, seasonal farm produce, fresh fruit and vegetables and organic foods, as well as flowers. The Lugano market offers the typical food products of small farmers that sell their goods directly. It takes place every Tuesday and Friday from 8am to 12am in Piazza Riforma.
From March through June, there is a second market "contadino" at the Quartiere Maghetti of Lugano on Thursdays from 9am to 1pm selling fruit, vegetables, bread, cheese and meats from Ticino and the Grison. Check it out: www.quartieremaghetti.ch.
Following are 3 addresses of the best known Bio stores in Lugano:
salita M. e A. Chiattone 18 (behind downtown Manor)
Phone: 091 / 922 04 64
Müller Reformhaus Vital Shop AG
Quartiere Maghetti 10
Phone: 091 / 922 96 87
Bio Casa 5 Stelle SA
via Lugano 21
Phone: 091 / 604 56 19