Varietas‘ breeding program is structured according to organic breeding principles, as this has multiple benefits, eg., the beneficial insects used for pollination do not get harmed. However, one question arises on a regular basis; Why are you not certified organic?
This decision is based on two reasons:
First of all, organic does not always mean sustainable. The founder of Varietas comes from a permaculture background, the most influential experiences being his time in New Zealand in 1996. The OpenSource/OpenKnowledge background is also visible in our courses offered. Having studied environmental sciences (MSc ETH), he is no stranger to terms such as ecological footprint, and in our mind being sustainable is of greater importance than being certified. When compost is needed, a uncertified product is sourced just two kilometres away, versus a certified organic product sourced from 150 kilometres away. Being certified is important and a valid argument, but not the exclusion criterion. This is also shown in the free Open Access permaculture label he initiated. Everybody has the right to use it, as long as their data is made accessible to the public. This way everybody can evaluate the data and therefor verify the label.
The background of the labels and quality seals we support are important to us!
Thus, we are acquitted with the ProSpecieRara quality seal:
We also actively support OpenSourceSeed:
Our variety Freeka was specially made to this end and can also be found in our web shop!
Second of all, no certified organic farmer can be found around Weiach, where the companies office as well as greenhouses are located. As potatoes require a four year crop rotation, a farmer is needed to complete the four year cycle. Furthermore, this farmland is needed to conduct yield tests in a field setting. On average two days a week are spent on the field collecting data or samples, and in order to keep the companies ecological footprint small, it is easier to have fields in the close vicinity of the office and greenhouses. This also saves time and allows us to walk or bike to our field locations. So here again we have the question of sustainability versus certification.