After last year’s cancellation of the St. Gallen Olma due to the pandemic, Switzerland’s largest trade fair for agriculture and food opened its doors yesterday. “Olma is a valuable place for encounters,” enthused Federal President Guy Parmelin. “There are so many important issues. Talk to each other and listen to each other.”
On his traditional opening tour, the president also visited ETH Zurich's booth, which has the motto “Where the future begins – research for sustainable agriculture”. “The ETH Zurich exhibition is dedicated to the important topic of digitalisation. This digital transformation is changing the agricultural and food industry, and as a result our whole world,” commented Parmelin, adding that this makes it all the more important to seek dialogue and talk about opportunities, fears and concerns.
Fun insights into agricultural research
Parmelin was welcomed at the ETH Zurich booth by ETH President Joël Mesot, who emphasised the importance of social exchange for the university. “Olma offers us a welcome platform for dialogue between science, the public and practice,” he said.
Parmelin and Mesot illustrated how such a dialogue can be promoted in a game of “Agricultural Policy Jenga”. They worked together to try to balance the Jenga blocks representing different roles and interests to create a stable and sustainable food system. But the tricky game is more challenging than you would expect, and for this reason alone it provokes discussion.
Platform for the institute's anniversary
The Jenga approach is one of several interactive games developed by the Institute of Agricultural Sciences to mark its 150th anniversary. The institute has been celebrating its anniversary year with a series of events, which are now being rounded off by the appearance at Olma.
“At Olma, we have the opportunity to show what ETH Zurich is doing for sustainable agriculture. The university has been teaching and researching in the field of agricultural sciences since 1871. At the same time, it gives us the chance to learn what people think and what moves them,” said Mesot.
Games as a highlight of the ETH booth