StoriesWith the “vegetable mule” on Cycle Route 888
Bern Green Belt
Bern is renowned for its old town. Visitors are less aware of the closeness to nature and the sustainable lifestyle in the city. “Vegetable mule” Thomas Wieland, represents both. He carries 200 kilograms of vegetables and fruit from his organic farm to the city every week on his e-bike and trailer.
With the “vegetable mule” on the Bern Green Belt (Video: Switzerland Tourism)
An idyllic commute
Before sunrise, Thomas Wieland loads up his trailer with fruit and vegetables in front of the organic farm in Thörishaus before setting off. His e-bike and trailer takes him to Bern quickly and in an environmentally friendly way. His work route couldn't be any more scenic. Avenues of trees, windy little streets, courtyards. Wieland's commute is part of the Bern Green Belt – Cycle Route 888.
The “Bern Green Belt” stretches 59 kilometres, connecting the communities around Bern and is part of the local recreation area of the federal city. Wieland, who calls himself the “vegetable mule”, feels most at home when he is out and about on his e-bike. Then he says he feels the weather, can enjoy the landscape, and it fits in with his world view of sustainability.
Sustainable all around
It is not only how the vegetable mule gets around that is sustainable, but also what is on the trailer. From farming to harvesting, Wieland produces food with the simplest possible tools and works primarily using muscle power. He sells his goods at the market in Bern, among other places. The market reflects what makes the city tick. People treat each other with respect, they take time for each other and show consideration for nature.
«The atmosphere in Bern is always pleasant. The city never feels too busy.»
Thomas Wieland, the “vegetable mule”
From the organic farm to the market or to the packaging-free shop. If you’re not yet completely convinced of the sustainable lifestyle of the people of Bern you should pay a visit to the packaging-free shop “Palette”. The old town shop buys Wieland's goods and thus completes the circle. What sprouts from a seed on the farm of the vegetable grower is sold here to the end customer with zero packaging and therefore zero waste. Oil, for example, is filled directly into the shopper's own glass bottle, while dried fruit is weighed into a cloth bag.
The vision of the “vegetable mule”
From seed to finished product, Thomas Wieland deliberately works on a small scale. For him, humans, machines, and the environment are directly related to each other. The vegetable mule is convinced that this kind of production of staple foods is a way for the future, and also already for the present.
Productive fitness centre
As much as Wieland likes Bern, in the late afternoon he always looks forward to his return journey on the “Bern Green Belt” back to the organic farm in Thörishaus. The family man and former engineer lives here simply and close to nature. He prepares his pears, beans, or even polenta using muscle power or solar-powered machines. Wieland likes to tinker and is constantly working on new projects. For example, he invented the productive fitness centre. Those who exercise here grind maize or press rapeseed oil at the same time. After the workout on the specially made machines, the goods can be taken home. It could hardly be any more sustainable!