You have also taken a new approach with the “cheese share” as a financing model for the cheese dairy – and your crowdfunding has been a complete success. How did you come up with the idea of involving your customers directly?
The German neurobiologist Gerald Hüther once said that no human being can unfold his or her potential alone; you have to let others help you from time to time. After I had withdrawn for one and a half days with three of my friends and partners to talk about the topic, and also to gain some distance, we came up with the idea of getting help from others to finance the cheese dairy. From the start, going to the bank with the request was not really an option for me. We wanted to do it differently, but still of course securely and above board. That’s how we came up with the vouchers.
The incredibly positive reactions of our customers and supporters surprised me, and above all made me very happy. It can be tough and stressful in any business, you start having doubts about what you are doing. And to realize that there are people who like your ideas and support you, that’s just a great feeling. In the end, this trust and this positive energy were even more important to me than the financial means. Of course, every now and then the question came up how secure the investment is. I can only say that I am determined to continue our business, which looks back on a family history of over 300 years. Over the last 10 years I have shown that organic farming works – and I want to continue to do so. That is the assurance I can give.
When you look back on all the places you have lived, which one has shaped you the most? And what have you learned that may also have surprised you?
As I did not do military service in Italy at that time, I was not allowed to finish my studies in the USA. I was refused re-entry. That was an unbelievably tragic moment for me at that time, but in retrospect it had a significant impact on me. From then on my life went in another, new direction. I got to know many new people and through these impulses I was able to become who and what I am today.
In all this time I have always noticed that natural cycles constantly adapt to changing conditions and always stabilize. This still surprises me today. My cows, for example, not only adapt to new events, they even become more robust. Plants also change and benefit greatly from growing on good soil, for example.