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FAQ

  • What is regenerative agriculture?
    Regenerative agriculture has set itself the goal of working with nature and using the potential of cycles. Pesticides and artificial fertilizers are rejected, the focus is on the regeneration of the topsoil, biodiversity and the preservation of the water cycle. It is important to correspond to nature as much as possible. Basically, the following five principles apply: Few disturbances thanks to superficial tillage Durable ground cover if possible always living roots in the ground Maximize biodiversity on farm integrated animal husbandry (pasture or free range) Unlike regenerative agriculture, mosaic regenerative agriculture does not require integrated animal husbandry. You can find out more about regenerative agriculture here.
  • What is Regenerative Mosaic Farming?
    Since 2015, SlowGrow has been developing the regenerative mosaic agriculture (RMLW) approach as a productive pilot farm. The RMLW brings the best of various farming methods together: a new farming system is being created with a mix of permaculture, organic and regenerative agriculture, but also completely new approaches. One that works with a variety of mulch applications, shallow soil cultivation, deep loosening, up to no-till vegetable cultivation and mixed bed cultures. A system that gets almost entirely without irrigation and without easily soluble fertilizers or pesticides. The use of modern technology is also a matter of course, for example the fields are mapped using CTF (control traffic farming). Mosaic cultures of vegetables, cereals, green manure, flower strips or perennial cultures are laid out on different beds. This favors the interaction between neighboring cultures, their messenger substances, microorganisms, fungal networks and insect populations. Ecological areas are not separated from arable land, but combined with it - biodiversity becomes a decisive production factor. Innovations from different areas (machines, management system, soil treatment) make this radically natural and at the same time economical production on the farm possible. All this enables a system in which biodiversity and production are established on the same area. The combination of practical knowledge, intuition, creativity and innovation is forward-looking and shows: The agro-ecological principles can also be implemented in Switzerland and thus also enable "species-appropriate plant husbandry". The entire knowledge is bundled, processed and passed on in the HofLabor.
  • What are the key principles of regenerative mosaic agriculture?
    Functioning natural processes are the most important factors of production in RMLW: Floor The soil life takes over the optimal care of the plants. The floor is a key factor. He must not only be healthy, but also live. In this way, active soil life can ensure that the plants are optimally supplied. With fixed lanes and GPS, compaction is avoided. Mulch material and green manure feed soil life and protect against rain and sun. The renunciation of pesticides and quickly soluble fertilizers allows the development of natural symbioses of plants with bacteria and fungi. This allows the plants to be supplied with nutrients and water. Carbon-rich material in the topsoil acts as an additional driver for soil life. Fruit rotation Site-specific crop rotation with knowledge of the conditions and history of each bed. EcosystemIn the farm-scale ecosystem, beneficial insects and pests are balanced: the diverse cultivation in tractor-wide strips allows for a high level of biological diversity. Additional structures give space for the development stages of all possible creatures - the basis for a balanced ecosystem. Management Machines and clever management allow efficiency and scalability: site-specific crop rotation with knowledge of the conditions and history of each bed.
  • Which methods are combined in the approach of regenerative mosaic agriculture?
    Regenerative Agriculture Permaculture Organic Farming Mulching No-till approach Mixed bed cultures ... and many more. This is what characterizes the approach of regenerative mosaic agriculture: It uses all approaches that have proven useful in practice to regenerate the soil and achieve the highest possible soil quality and biodiversity.
  • What is the difference between permaculture and regenerative agriculture?
    Regenerative agriculture is closely related to permaculture. Both concepts are based on the idea of creating healthy, fertile soil so that agriculture remains sustainable and profitable in the long term. In permaculture, perennial plants are usually planted in a small space and combined with each other so that a self-sustaining system can be built up. Natural ecosystems and cycles in nature are imitated. Regenerative agriculture, on the other hand, is more geared towards annual crops. Animals also play an important role.
  • Is regenerative mosaic farming as a cultivation method a panacea for all problems?
    No. From the outside, one quickly gets the impression that we at HofLabor already have the patent solution for all problems. That's not the case - of course we've learned a lot in recent years, but many new questions have also arisen. In the farm laboratory, we are now developing solutions that should be robust enough so that we can pass them on to other farmers and they can benefit from our experience. We believe that every new system has only one chance and that we need a robust system before we can pass this knowledge on to more farmers. For farmers, experimentation comes with high risk – financially and with personal reputation in a traditional environment.
  • For whom is the HofLabor approach suitable?
    Our approach is suitable for every farmer and every landowner who is looking for a sustainable, regenerative and natural cultivation method.
  • What is the aim of HofLabor?
    Our goal: to make the regenerative system of mosaic agriculture technically and economically scalable and easily accessible for farmers over the next three years - thanks to new technology and innovation.
  • Which products are developed at HofLabor?
    We are working on being able to support farmers in a concrete and needs-oriented manner in the conversion and implementation of near-natural agriculture that is sustainable in all dimensions. Over the next three years, the HofLabor wants to further develop regenerative mosaic agriculture in such a way that it becomes scalable and feasible for farmers - to do this, we are bundling the knowledge of pioneer farms, developing multifunctional methods, machines and digital management tools.
  • When can I start benefiting from the HofLabor solutions?
    We are currently still developing our methods, tools and solutions. A finished product will therefore only be available in about three years. If you are interested in how we work, please send us an email and we will get back to you.
  • Where are you in development right now?
    We are currently testing more than 800 strips on three pioneer farms - which means that various experiments are currently taking place on these farms, which will help us to further develop regenerative mosaic agriculture. These findings flow into the development of the products. In addition, eight key machines are in development. Thanks to iterations, we equip the machines ideally to work productively, efficiently and still close to nature.
  • What is the relationship between HofLabor and SlowGrow?
    SlowGrow has existed since 2015 and was founded by Matthias Hollenstein and Samuel Bähler. As the first pioneer farm of the HofLabor, SlowGrow cultivates vegetables and crops in the surrounding of Zurich and cultivates various special crops. SlowGrow creates creative and intuitive knowledge for a sustainable, regenerative use of the world's most important resource, the humus layer. The HofLabor arose from SlowGrow's many years of experimentation, development and testing activities. Since 2021, not only vegetables, but also knowledge will be harvested. What led us to give this knowledge a home: the HofLabor.
  • I am writing a thesis in a university environment - who can I contact?
    Currently, both the HofLabor and SlowGrow are receiving a lot of attention, which of course makes us very happy. At the same time, unfortunately, we cannot accommodate all requests because our team is small and time is short. Feel free to contact us by e-mail or via the contact form and we will check your request.
  • I am a media worker - who can I contact?
    We are very happy to receive media inquiries and reports. We are currently working on a media kit. Until then, you can contact us by email or via the contact form. Please understand that we cannot answer immediately because our team is small and we are out in the field a lot.

Below we have compiled the questions we are asked the most. The list is continuously updated.

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