Baar, 06.07.2020

Animals, tea and serenity – two sisters provide a glimpse into farm life

Groups can get to know life on a farm on the Neuguet in Baar. Two sisters there want to sensitise visitors to nature, mutual respect and appreciation through a project that is close to their hearts.

A view of Lake Zug, lush green meadows around and a small wood nearby: the Hof Neuguet in Baar is idyllically located, on the hillside above the village. There is also the construction site for the Zug-Baar Tangente in the immediate vicinity, which does not deprive the farm of its charm. Karin and Manuela Fankhauser started their 'heart project' here. School classes, office groups and all those who are looking for a break in nature can experience the farm life up close with the sisters for a few hours.

Working with animals is thereby just as much a part of the programme as, for example, making the farm tea or the compulsory snack break. "Our parents had already started to open up our farm," says Karin Fankhauser (33). The two businesswomen have now implemented this part-time, and invest all their free time in the farm and the project. "We are really there, with all our hearts," says Manuela Fankhauser (28) and smiles. And that pays off: they obtain numerous requests from mouth to mouth advertising.

Troubled past
The launch of the project also has a great deal to do with the past of the Hof Neuguet. Because although it is currently an idyll, it has long been the subject of various discussions. Karin and Manuela Fankhauser, who are sitting in the Zukunftswagen (Future wagon), which is a small retreat for them, point to the electricity masts. "More electricity suddenly started flowing through them," explains Karin Fankhauser. "And the whole family suffered damage to their health from this." They received little support from the municipality and the canton, rather a headwind, as they describe, which is why the farm also ran into financial difficulties some years ago.

Karin (left) and Manuela Fankhauser at their Neuguet farm.

"We had quite a fight and we had already experienced a lot," they say. They ended up in an real distress at times, and had to endure several years living in the stables in order to escape the electro-smog. But even while they are continuing to come to terms with their past, they have not become bitter or want to be pitied. Instead, they are looking confidently to the future. Manuel Fankhauser explains:

"It’s precisely because of these experiences that we want to make contact with people, to exchange ideas."

They have become more relaxed through their experiences, but not indifferent, and want to stand up for what is close to their hearts: nature, mutual respect, empathy and appreciation. "Everyone has their strengths, and we should combine them, whatever we experience again and again in our work with our customers," explains Karin Fankhauser. They have succeed in this with their heart project. "During a walk through the forest, and especially when dealing with animals, people and children create a new connection to nature." Children, for example, become more mutually aware that they should be more caring. And that is touching.

As the visitors often come in groups, the human side is also promoted. "This can be seen in the children when sharing their snacks," says Manuela Fankhauser. "The positive feedback or the noticeable change in behaviour is our driving force," adds Karin.

"And many people are seeking their roots again in nature," adds her sister, How a visit to the farm actually takes place can look very different. This depends on the target group that is being addressed, or which topic is currently of interest. The topic of littering, for example, or the careful handling of drinking water can also be discussed.

"It's amazing how the children respond to this. Karin Fankhauser is convinced that this will enable us to make a lasting difference. And that is what they are all about: raising awareness and promoting their own strengths, which, as the sisters find, can often be discovered better in nature.

The project is currently running on a part-time basis, but the two sisters would like to be able to expand it with the help of other people.