The founder of Varietas has been a avid „permaculturist“ vor over 30 years, since he first read books from Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. In 1996 he visited New Zealand, where he was able to visit various permaculture projects, which he has ever since tried to transpose into his line of work back in Switzerland.
First „no-dig“ experiments started approximately 15 years ago, out of the mulch tradition as well as the problem of not having enough time for weeding. He had success growing annuals as well s implementing market gardening strategies, but perennials such as asparagus still prove to be a challenge.
At about the same time he started his forest garden experiment, and his show garden is always open for viewing (as long as no vegetables are stolen, as he says).
He is also one of the few permaculture plant breeders, as he also occupies himself with forest gardens and species such as apricots, peaches as well as sejuan pepper and marginalised crops such as the parsnip chervil, a root crop. He specially focuses on the so called „crop wild relatives“ and breeding for resilience when it comes to climate change, as well as multifunctional crops such as edible dahlias. These produce edible tubers that can be eaten like Yacon or sun chokes, but also have an ornamental purpose and provide food for bees and other beneficials. Some of his dahlia varieties can be found in his online shop.
Video on crop wild relatives(CWR) from the KEW-Garden.