by Sonja Muriel Plüss
Did you know that 2021 is the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables? To celebrate this, I have researched how a greens-lover can best get to their staples in Geneva – and that as fresh, seasonal and direct from the farmer as possible.
Union Maraîchère de Genève
Hidden in a warehouse in La Praille, Carouge lies a veggie treasure. It’s the Union Maraîchère, a cooperative which sells a large range of produce from regional farmers. This is definitely one of the best deals price-wise, cheaper than the conventional supermarkets.
Fun fact: The farmers of the cooperative produce collectively 80% of Genevan vegetables and the most tomatoes in all of Switzerland.
Spread across the city of Geneva and the days of the week there are a number of smaller and bigger markets. The prizes and types of the products vary – so there is much to explore there:) However, some market stands are led by retailers and might not necessarily offer the seasonal, regional, organic products you might expect. Even then, compared to the supermarket you can get your produce plastic free and are less likely to feed into the pocket of big investors!
Weekly Vegetable Baskets
A cornerstone of community supported agriculture (CSA) are regular pre-assorted vegetable baskets. These allow farmers to get their products directly to the consumer, circumventing traders and supermarkets who crunch the farmer’s margins. As a consumer, on the other hand, you always have seasonal, fresh, organic food at home. You get to discover local varieties of vegetables you would have never found or never thought of buying in the supermarket!
The cons of such weekly vegetable baskets (paniers in French) are that they are rather costly and require a degree of commitment. In and around Geneva there are a range of different offers and schemes. Some require you to collect the baskets from pick-up points, others deliver them. Some have different sizes in offer. For certain paniers, you have to become a member of the cooperative and are asked to help a few days a year on the farm. A general prize for the baskets in and around Geneva for a smaller basket seems to be ~25 CHF.
Some sources to explore:
FRACP: Association for CSA (ACP in French) for the Suisse Romande
- They have a map of all the points in the city where you can get the paniers
- A farm not far from Maison de la Paix! They have halted their paniers for now, but it will be worth to keep an eye on them.
- In Meyrin, small basket for 14 CHF, contracts for a semester
- Many pick up points all over the city!
- This one has a pick up point right across Picciotto and is engaged in agroecology! However it costs around 1000 CHF for a year.
- This one has a small package for 600 CHF/year (+75 to get it to a pick up point in Geneva)
There are also paniers in canton Vaud.
Gotten used to getting your food delivered? That’s not only possible for pizza and supermarket food but also assorted vegetable baskets, cheeses, fresh bread and even tofu from the region of Geneva. With farmy.ch, delivery in and around the city is free!
Also our in-house food cooperative offers organic, local fruits – though dried ones. SCOOP also offers various seeds, legumes and nuts. You are invited to learn more about how Scoop works and to check out the list of products by clicking on the order form linked in the project description!
For the adventurous ones among us, there’s also the option of saving food to get to your fruits and veggies. Also here there are several options. Migros, for instance, offers vegetable and fruit baskets for a small price via the app Too Good To Go. The association La Farce collects left-over food from across the city and prepares weekly food bags for students as a response to food waste and student poverty. All it takes to be part is a 20.- yearly membership fee. Even though on the website it says only students from UNIGE and HES-SO can participate, IHEID peeps are welcome too!
And for the courageous ones, I’ve heard the containers at Manor in Vésenaz are not locked and can be treasures…
Curious for more? Like whole crates of oranges, avocados and whatever is in season? Crowdfarming connects farmers mainly in Europe with consumers and allows them to sell large quantities of their products after an overharvest. The idea of 20kg of grapefruits is overwhelming, but what about sharing with friends or organising a jam-making session?
What are your food hacks in Geneva? Do you have any addition for this list? We would love to hear from your experience and your opinion, so drop us a message!
Wishing you a happy food day filled with vitamins:)