Fresh ideas | Free thinking #6

Thomas Rippel is a biodynamic farmer and self-professed practical idealist, whose goal is get city folk interested in farming again. He promotes "living organism soil" and "nose to tail" eating, while being an active community member and an avid blogger. He shares with us the sources of his inspiration; from the Bernese Alps to TED Radio Hour.
Published —
11.25.16
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Who are you?

I am a bio-dynamic farmer in the Bernese Alps, on the beautiful Hof Maiezyt, working as part of a community of practical idealists. Before doing a four-year, full time vocational training to become a farmer, I spent many years exploring the world. After growing up in Austria, I studied and worked in Hungary, Canada, Australia and China.

I am also a very enthusiastic member of the Slow Food Youth community in Switzerland.

Thomas at Slow Youth Food Switzerland

Thomas at Slow Youth Food Switzerland

What do you do?

I have made it my mission to re-connect city-people to farming again. I hope to create awareness for the “living organism soil” and for “nose to tail” eating again.

I really love the diversity and challenges that farm life in the mountains presents. The farm itself is also very diversified. On top of our farming operation, which encompasses 12 hectares of grassland for our 10 cows, we make our own cheese and ice cream, have guest accommodations and a little restaurant. Mostly I work on the farm, but I am also no stranger to the kitchen and love to make ice cream and love to engage with our lovely guests. Just recently, I launched a little website to sell our products from the farm directly to consumers and hope to build direct relationships with our customers in the coming years.

When I find the time I also like to write on my blog.

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Where do you do it?

I mostly live and work on the beautiful farm Hof Maiezyt, but occasionally I get to go give lectures at conferences, workshops or educational institutions all over Europe and sometimes beyond.

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Who do you do it for?

I hope to contribute to the development of mankind and this wonderful planet.

What has been your favourite project of the past year that you’ve been involved in?

Becoming a part of this wonderful community on the farm. It is all new. I joined in June of this year and the farm was only taken over by the community in May. There are so many challenges ahead, but we have also mastered so many already – it has been an amazing journey.

What is the most innovative ethically minded business that you’d love to collaborate with?

The one I am involved in – Hof Maiezyt. All the people who are part of the community here put their whole heart into it, and work with so much love and passion and selflessness. I am humbled to live and work amongst these people, and very happy to be in the midst of this positive energy every day.

What ethical business leaders inspire you?

I feel blessed to know some amazing, authentic people who have started businesses that I believe can really have an impact to shape our world for the better. Niels Roth and Christoph Birkholz, co-founders of the Impact HUB Zürich; Manuel Klarmann, co-founder of Eaternity; Freddy Christandl of Restaurant JAKOB and Bergkartoffel.ch, and Rasmus Nutzhorn of Kessel Solar

What are some interesting things that you have come across or read recently?

1. ‘Broken Promises of Genetically Modified Crops’ by Karl Russel and Danny Hakim

2. ‘China’s plan to cut meat consumption by 50%‘ by Oliver Milman and Stuart Leavenworth

3. ‘It’s a Gut Feeling: What is our Gut Bacteria telling our Brain?‘ by Hans Rippel

4. How to Know Higher Worlds by Rudolf Steiner

5. Marl Spivak’s TED Talks: Why Bees are Disappearing

6. TED Radio Hour on NPR

What’s the book, books or author that most shaped your thinking for the work that you do?

1. How To Know Higher Worlds by Rudolf Steiner

2. Florianne Köchlin

3. Meat, A Benign Extravagance by Simon Fairlie

4. Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

5. Uwe Burka

6. Martin Ott