Together with my wife Katja, I run a family farm with suckler cow husbandry in Romoos, near Lucerne. In addition to farming, agrotourism is a major source of income for us. School classes often stay overnight in our dormitory and Kovive runs a camp with us every year. For these children and young people, we offer ‘School on the farm‘ and have now been asked to contribute our experience to ‘School with a Difference‘ at the beef.ch.
‘School on the Farm‘ is an invitation for school classes to get out of the classroom and actively experience the farm with its plants and animals, while learning a lot in the process.
Daniel and Katja Lustenberger offer hands-on farming. Son Dario shows that there’s no need to be afraid of chickens.
I want to show the children that we produce food and that a lot of work goes in every bite of food. On our organic farm in the Entlebuch biosphere reserve, this means the best meat from species-appropriate suckler cow husbandry, meat from soy-free grass, without antibiotics. On other farms, this can be milk or in other regions cereals or vegetables. Swiss farming is practised with a great deal of passion and in a highly sustainable manner, producing valuable foodstuffs.
The suckler cows and Natura-Veal forage for their own fodder. They are outside day and night, weather permitting. No additional feed is brought in.
They all want to know which cow is our oldest. Until this winter it was Xena. But she had trouble with her joints and was no longer able to go out on the steep pastures. Xena was an extremely gentle, dear cow. The children could stroke her at will and last summer they could even feel the calf in her belly. I always asked the children how old they thought Xena was and how many calves she had had. I am very proud of the 15 healthy calves over 17.5 years. Now Gina is the oldest cow, this summer she will turn 15.
I’d like to show how great my profession is. It’s often maligned: you get dirty, it stinks, and you have to get up early. But I like to show the upside: we can produce independently and sustainably in a place with a wonderful view. We can work with nature and animals. We are at home, where the family is. For example, we can have lunch together.
Suckler cow husbandry with a wonderful view in the biosphere reserve. Producing valuable foodstuffs where others spend their vacation.
That will be a challenge, because the school classes will be coming to the city centre during LUGA, not to my home. But I really hope that we will manage to bring a bit of that farm feeling to the city, so the children can enjoy it and take away good impressions.
We would like to make suckler cow husbandry come alive for school classes. There should be suckler cows and calves of different breeds onsite. A bull would also be nice, as bulls act differently from cows and are impressive. One important message will surely be that you shouldn’t enter pastures with animals if the farmer isn’t there. I also teach this at home: you can come with me to see the animals in the cowshed and pet them. But you are not allowed to this everywhere, and never without the permission of the livestock owner!
Then there will surely be a block about littering, where we want to teach the children that it harms the animals when they ingest litter together with the grass in the pasture. Perhaps we could display a cage magnet. This is a magnet that we insert in the cow’s stomach so that metallic waste sticks to it and doesn’t damage the stomach wall.
Katja and Daniel Lustenberger- Imboden live with their four children Melina (15), Robin (14), Lenja (11) and Dario (8) on the organic generational farm of Daniel‘s family in Romoos on a range of hills in the Napf area at an altitude of 940 metres above sea level. They farm 13.5 hectares of meadows and pastures as a source of fodder for the herd of some 18 suckler cows with Natura-Veal calves and the bull. In the summer part of the animals are in the Valais, at Katja’s place of origin. The animals that stay at home in Romoos are out on the pasture day and night.
Donkeys, chickens, ponies and goats also live on the farm, along with several cats and dogs. In the winter, Daniel works in the forest and does winter maintenance. Katja handles the agrotourism side, particularly in the summer months, with sleeping facilities in the straw or the dormitory, the Nomady camping sites and the ‘Tiny House‘, which is rented out as a holiday cottage.
More information at www.baerueti.ch