Spring 2023

FAIR: Reversing Monocultural Systems in Zurich UnterlandSofia Urzainqui de Miguel, Aikaterini Katsouli, Mateus Rosa da Silveira, and Nick Ulrich

The Swiss plateau is characterized by highly industrialized plantations and is conquered by monocultural practices. The landscape is populated by crops occasionally interrupted by fragments of forest, urban areas, and transport infrastructure. This is the result of a series of events that have occurred over time and are inextricably linked with the implementation of legislation, subsides, industrialization, and mechanization which have turned the agricultural landscape into a production machine, constantly fed with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides at the expense of all natural living systems (FSO, 2023). Furthermore, the dependence of the Swiss economy on international food cooperations and globalized agribusinesses reinforces the use of monocultural practices. It negatively influences those who live and survive through the heart of agriculture, while at the same time focusing on more efficient and prompt production, while marginalizing crops and varieties that are traditionally grown in Switzerland (Saatgut-Ausstellung, 2022).

Monocultures contribute to soil degradation, loss of ecological diversity, and reduced resilience in agricultural systems. This project aims to propose an alternative to how to change the connection and relationship between man and land, to reimagine the concept of place as a container of life and as a topos, while humans survive by coexisting with all lifeworlds in peace, without destroying the sources of life. For this reason, we will investigate how mixed culture can operate as catalysis to monocultural agribusinesses and how the relations between the leading agricultural players can be reshaped to achieve a fair system.