Thursday, October 30, 2008

Swiss Inspiration

My recent trip to Switzerland was inspiring and I'm not just talking about the majestic mountains and historical sites.

Some of the highlights:

Our taxi from the Zurich airport ran on natural gas and Toyota Prius taxis were common. However, taxis are a bit of a luxury given that the public transportation is easily accessible, incredibly punctual and clean. What's more, lots of residents ride their bicycles to get around the city.

While on a train ride to Lucerene we passed clusters of small gardens and micro-farms, even in urban areas. The tiny rectangular plots, each with a small shed on them, were neatly grouped together. Every inch of the individual plots appeared to be growing something. If it wasn't vegetables, it was flowers, etc. It was an amazing sight and got me thinking about how you can grow something even in the tiniest of spaces. I promise to post a photo soon.

While on the train we also passed a Rudolf Steiner school. I'm sure many of you know who he is, but if not, among many things, he founded the agricultural system now known as biodynamic farming which was one of the initial forms of and contributed significantly to the development of modern organic farming.

Zurich has to be one of the cleanest cities I have ever been in. In addition to public garbage cans there are public recycling bins. I have also heard they have public compost bins. As one newspaper writer put it: "The most notable thing about garbage in this picture-perfect medieval city is that it's nearly impossible to find any." The Swiss have an amazing and very strict system. It's worth learning about. Check out an article from 2005 in the International Herald Tribune.

I think my few days in Switzerland have reinvigorated my desire to attempt a garden of my own next year and to be more vigilant in my reduce, reuse, recycle efforts. I love it when I take home inspiration and ideas from my travels.
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