Biohof Hübeli & Sanctuary Seeland
Kallnach , Switzerland
Meet Leandra Brusa and Urs Marti!
Leandra Brusa's und Urs Marti's Biofarm Hübeli in Kallnach (Switzerland), is being Refarm'd to producing plant-based drinks and we are proudly opening the pre-orders for you to get fresh oat drink from this sanctuary!
We believe that by uniting together with farmers and providing them with the tools they need to move away from the animal trade, we are offering a viable new opportunity for their businesses to be part of the growing plant based movement.
We assist the ex-dairy/cattle farms to sustainably and locally source the ingredients to produce plant based drinks on their farms. The farmers’ land is converted into an animal sanctuary for their cattle that are no longer being used.
By signing up to this subscription service, you are helping the animal farming industry transition to a plant based livelihood that helps both the animals and our environment alike.
From the beginning, I was a rather atypical farmer’s son. I was more of a thinker than a practitioner, and I was much more interested in the animals, rather than the actual operation of the farm. The farm was built in 1763 by one of our ancestors with the surname Marti, and has been passed down from one Marti generation to the next ever since. When I became vegan in 2002, while in high School, it became clear that I would not carry on this family tradition, and never once did I imagine that I would be taking over the farm from my parents. In fact, I worked as a primary school teacher for several years after high school, and showed little interest in agriculture. So it was to my parents’ great surprise that in 2014, I announced that I wanted to take over the Hübeli family farm, right here in Kallnach.
What had led to this change of heart?
To this day, I have never owned a car, and this on principle. I had been dealing with issues such as animal rights, food production and (un-) equal distribution of resources for a long time and realized that agriculture is highly political. In other words: as a farmer you can deal first hand with all the issues mentioned above and really make a difference.
So in 2016, along with my wife Leandra, who is also vegan, I started to build up the Tierarche Seeland, an animal sanctuary for former farm animals, right here on my parents' farm. The aim of Tierarche Seeland was, and remains, to allow our animals, cows in particular, to live a long life without beeing exploited by humans. Since at that time my father was still running a dairy farm with his cows, and since the milk flow in dairy cows does not stop overnight, it was clear to all of us that the development of Tierarche Seeland would be an ongoing process. So we took in the first external cows, the so-called "pension cows", on the sanctuary, while gradually integrating our own former dairy cows, their calves and former fattening cattle into the Tierarche-herd. Since 2016 Leandra and I have been looking for godparents for our own former cattle, whose sponsorship payments allow the cattle to live a long and stress-free life.
On 31.12.2017 the last milking took place on the parental farm. Thus, on 01.01.2018, not only did the conversion phase to organic farming begin on the Hübeli, but a decade-long era of milk production also came to an end.
Thanks to the openness of my parents, Leandra and I were able to get involved early on in the farm, not only with regards to the development of Tierarche Seeland, but also in other ways. Since 2017, we have been cultivating lentils and polentamais in the fields of Hübelis and have been able to market them directly.
On 01.01.2019, the official farm handover took place. Because it was our aim to grow only arable crops for direct human consumption on the farm, the cultivation of feed barley and feed maize was stopped. For this purpose, oats for human consumption were newly integrated into the crop rotation. Although the demand for Swiss organic oat flakes is very high, the producer price is ridiculously low.
Now, the Refarm'd project not only offers us the opportunity to compensate for the loss of income we used to earn with cows milk, but also (through the production of vegetable oat milk) to achieve a higher added value with the otherwise great, frugal edible oat culture.
As of 01.01.2020, the Hübeli is now a full-bud organic farm. An existing contract already promised the 2020 edible oats harvest to a customer, who will use it to make organic oat flakes. We will therefore have to buy the organic oats for our first homemade oat milk. However, from the 2021 harvest onwards, we will be able to process our own oats into organic oat milk, and we are very much looking forward to doing this!