Swiss Producer Cooperative has dropped mega-project

No giant greenhouse in Seeland

Cooperative Vegetable Producers Seeland (GES) has stopped the project. The resistance to the largest greenhouse in Switzerland was too great. In 2017, GES announced plans to build a greenhouse covering 80 hectares (equivalent to 110 football fields). Two locations were suggested: one at Ins BE, the other at Kerzers FR.

The cooperative promised a more sustainable and greener vegetable production: Instead of importing cucumbers, tomatoes and hot peppers in a big way, they should be grown in Seeland. Open field cultivation in many cases does not pay or would work out badly for climatic reasons.

The huge greenhouse should make it possible to produce vegetables using significantly less energy and water. But after several consultations last year, strong opposition from different sides were encountered, as CEO Sam Zurbrügg reported. He states that the project is now dropped.

Reservations from all sides
Although more than 100 jobs would have been created, the communities around the sites had signaled that they are not interested in this type of jobs.

The Canton of Berne also had reservations, with only a small reserve of crop rotation areas. The question is whether they want to use this for greenhouses, said critics. The floor of a greenhouse is not considered a crop rotation area, even though critics think this absurd, since greenhouses contribute to food security.

Resistance also came from landscape conservationists, who feared a large-scale "glazing" of Seeland.

New project in mind
Although the plans for a mega-greenhouse are now off the table, the cooperative is still convinced of the usefulness of the project. It now envisages building several smaller greenhouses. Each of these would be about ten hectares in size.


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