The climate alliance demands that cafeterias and canteens increasingly rely on seasonal and regional products. Even the SVP is for it.
When the state begins to interfere in people’s private lives, bourgeois parties are skeptical. On Monday it was different in the Zurich cantonal council.
The Green Benjamin Walder (Wetzikon) demands in a postulate that canteens and cafeterias in canton and canton-related companies – especially schools and hospitals – should offer seasonal and regional products whenever possible. In addition, animal products should be bought sparingly and only with the highest animal welfare label. Walder will thus promote a healthy and balanced diet and reduce CO₂ emissions.
The SVP will do
Surprisingly, in addition to the climate alliance parties, the SVP was also enthusiastic about Walder’s idea. Elisabeth Pflugshaupt (Gossau) thought the advance was a good opportunity to implement the regionality that was repeatedly demanded. “Actions are better than words,” said farmer Pflugshaupt and spoke out on behalf of her group for a yes.
For this she was assured of the recognition of the left and the centre. The newly appointed Juso President Nicola Siegrist (SP, Zurich) assured that people did not want to dictate what they had to eat. However, politicians would have to set incentives so that they eat in a climate-friendly manner.
Farmer Konrad Langhart (centre, Stammheim) emphasized that consumer behavior is not controlled by will, but by supply. It is therefore better to rely on local products than on chives from Ethiopia or Mexican asparagus.
“Measured against wages, food costs are nowhere as low as in Switzerland.”
Konrad Langhart, Central Canton Council
Langhart also argues that regional products are too expensive and do not apply: “Measured against wages, the cost of food is nowhere as low as in Switzerland.”
Few no votes
The FDP was of a different opinion. Alexander Jäger (Zurich) thought it was a nice move, but it was unnecessary. If the students find it too expensive in the canteen, they simply eat elsewhere. “That’s why we are against such regulations.”
The independent Hans-Peter Amrein (Küsnacht) saw it that way. He spoke of a “pipe burst”. Above all, he was annoyed by the yes of the SVP, his former parliamentary group. It was incomprehensible to him that the SVP was making massively subsidized companies even more unprofitable with state intervention. “It shows me that I was right when I left the party.”
In the end, the Council approved the postulate by a vote of 130 to 29.
Sustainable university canteen
According to the website, the canteen at the University of Zurich, one of the largest meals in the canton of Zurich, is already “prepared with seasonal and regional ingredients”.
In addition, at least 50 percent of the daily offer is vegetarian or vegan, and salad buffets are even 100 percent. If there is meat at a salad buffet, it is leftovers from other meals, which are offered here to avoid food waste. As a result, only vegan broth is used in the kitchen.
Daniel Schneebeli is an editor in the Zurich department. He is a cantonal council reporter and writes mainly on political topics and people. He has worked in journalism since 1989, first for the “Zürcher Unterländer” and from 1996 for the “Tages-Anzeiger”.