Milestones in the history of Swissveg
On 8.8.1993 ambitious young people laid the foundation for the first independent vegetarian club in Switzerland.
In 1968 Fredy Forster founded the Swiss Reform Youth (srj). Young people got to know each other in the srj, where young vegetarians came together for trips, meetings and other activities. The purpose of the srj was to offer young vegetarians an environment where they could exchange ideas with like-minded people and have fun.
After the search for a neutral vegetarian club to support remained unsuccessful, some reform youth leaders decided to establish their own adult society with the aim to provide vegetarians with a platform, but also to make the vegetarian lifestyle public and better known.
08.08.1993: Start of the SVV!
On 8.8.1993 the Swiss association for vegetarianism was officially founded in Sennwald SG. Before this, Andreas Läuffer's parents' home (Andreas was the last president of the reform youth and the founding member of the SVV) was converted into the first Vegi office from where the activities under the leadership of Renato Pichler were taken.
The V-label project started in 1996: The SVV began to accompany Migros's new Cornatur line at the launch and to certify all products with the V-label. Later, all Migros restaurants (more than 200 branches) were certified with the V-Label for several years. In addition to the controls, the training of cooks and employees was an important aspect of the work.
Meanwhile the V-label has established itself nationally and internationally. The V-Label project is now coordinated worldwide by the Swissveg Secretariat. It enjoys the support of practically all European vegetarian associations.
From the outset, the SVV has created informative publications on all aspects of the vegetarian way of life. Today, many different flyers and several brochures, glues, cards, posters etc. are available at the Swissveg Secretariat. Hundreds of thousands of people were thus already directly informed.
April 1996: Vegi-Info
In the spring of 1996 the Vegi-Info was published for the first time. Until then different SVV articles were published in other magazines. Later in a joint issue with the association for animal rights (the association does not exist anymore) before the Vegi-Info appeared as a separate issue.
1996 www.vegetarismus.ch went online! At this time, the Internet was still scarce, and the SVV homepage was one of the first German-speaking sites to enlighten the vegetarian diet. In addition to (now) www.swissveg.ch, Swissveg is still serving other websites on special topics:
www.vegi-basics.org: Basic page for a quick overview.
1997: Vegi-Service AG
During the time in Sennwald also the idea arose to make the vegetarian diet tasty for everyone. Vegi-Service AG was established in 1997, which is now a leading producer of vegan meat and cheese alternatives not only in Switzerland, but also throughout Europe. The company is still managed today by the co-founders of the SVV and former members of the board, Katharina and Andreas Läuffer.
Juli 1998: französisches Végi-Info
In 1998 the Vegi-Info was also translated into French for our readers in western Switzerland for the first time. Until 2003, the book was still printed in black and white on pre-printed cover, with 24 pages.
2001: Moving to Neukirch
Over the years, the premises for the SVV and also the Vegi-Service AG in Sennwald have become too small, so we had to look for new possibilities. In 2001 Neukirch-Egnach TG found the suitable premises: large enough for office and production and central. For nine years, the SVV coordinated their work from Neukirch.
2001: «Vegetarian» by law
In 2001, the SVV concluded that the concepts of vegetarian and vegan are defined in the food law. This means that from this point onwards it is quite unlawful to declare a dish as a vegetarian which contains components of slaughtered animals.
In 2007, the SVVwas also a member of the Working Group of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, which was to draw up a report on the vegetarian diet. With a lot of persuasive work and long negotiations, the SIA has achieved that the official nutritional guidelines not only recognize the vegetarian diet as healthy, but even point out that vegetarians suffer less often from nutrition-related diseases than anything else.
2003: International work
In 2003 an employee was hired for the first time to help in the office. Seven Swissveg employees are now working to coordinate the projects in German and French Switzerland.
After the Secretariat of the European Vegetarian Union in the Swissveg office since 2005, the work has to be coordinated internationally as well. In this way, Swissveg can support vegetarians and vegans all over Europe. For example, the text from the popular "Ecological Effects of Meat Consumption" brochure was translated into five languages and spread throughout Europe, India and the USA. Our table "Climate kilometers and nutrition" has been translated into 7 languages.
April 2004: colored Vegi-Info
From 2004 onwards, the SVV was able to produce a color print for Vegi-Info for the first time. Meanwhile, the book has grown to 48 pages and is printed in an edition of 12,000 copies (plus French edition).
2. April 2008: Vegi-Imbiss GmbH
In order to cover all areas of vegetarian life, the Vegi snack bar was created in 2008 from the SVV. This makes it possible to introduce the good vegan food to open-air and other events and make them more known. The snack van was later integrated into the Veeconomy and renamed to UNMEAT.
1. November 2010: Let's go to Winterthur!
Since most of the SVV members are located in the Zurich area and their journey to Neukirch was relatively laborious, the SVV was looking for new premises near Zurich. In November 2010 it was so far and the big move to Winterthur happened, where Swissveg is now based.
2011: Veganmania, Vegi-Card and more
Due to its central location, the SVV was able to organize much more campaigns than before and even more interviews for media and students. In our garden a free barbecue with over 100 guests was carried out twice already.
In the spring of 2011, the Veganmania Switzerland started: Swissveg has organized the first and largest vegan street festival in Switzerland every year. In this way, we bring the vegan lifestyle closer to the public.
In autumn, Swissveg launched the Vegi-Card, with which members can already profit from great discounts from over 100 companies.
2014: «SVV» becomes «Swissveg»
In the spring of 2014, the Swiss Association for Vegetarianism changed its name to Swissveg. The new name meets the spirit of the times and speaks even more clearly of all vegetarian orientations, which are contained in the vegetarianism concept. The two websites www.vegetarismus.ch and www.vegetarisme.ch are redirected to www.swissveg.ch.
On the occasion of the World Vegan Month in November 2014, we launched the two "Go Vegan" brochures and prepared the corresponding website www.govegan.ch. The first edition covered 4,000 copies per brochure and the second one was printed with a circulation of 7'500 brochures. As the brochures are ordered at such a rate, the third edition has already been printed with a circulation of 10'000 copies each!
2015: Swissveg on Social Media
In 2015, Swissveg invested in meeting as many people as possible on the social media channels and informing them about these channels. Today social media presence is an absolute must and our accounts were successful -soon our main account on Facebook has cracked the 10'000-Like boundary! In addition, a Swissveg French Facebook account was set up for French-speaking Switzerland, and the Instagram account followed in March 2016.
2016: One, two, Gastro!
In 2016 the coachings for restaurateurs started with a new concept and in cooperation with vegan rocks. With this young project, we train restaurateurs and / or canteens and show them how to focus on sustainable (= plant-based) menus.
There is still much to do!
The work of Swissveg has played a major role in establishing the vegetarian diet in Switzerland. Still there is still a lot to do! Especially in restaurants the vegetarian offer is often to be perfected and some restaurateurs are deficiently informed. As a vegan it is also not yet possible to conclude the federal training as nutrition consultant, since it is obligatory to consume animal products. The meat-lobing fairy-tale still spreads over the production of meat and the attitude of the animals - here it is necessary to enlighten!
The vegan diet was focused more and more during the past few years.
You are Swissveg!
Swissveg wants to continue with its experience, its contacts and its possibilities to make life easier for all vegetarians and to present a counterpoint to the one-sided opinion of the powerful lobbyists. All of this is done by our small team in the office but is not possible without help. Every single vegetarian is necessary, so that we can reach these goals as a big community - because Swissveg is only what each individual contributes: You are Swissveg!
A sincere thanks to all those who have worked for Swissveg over the past 23 years!
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