Agriviva (the website is available only in Italian, French and German) offers a wide range of proposals, from farms in the plains to those in the mountains. Host families can be small or large and speak Italian, French or German.
In all regions of Switzerland there are farm families willing to host young people. The size and degree of mechanization of the farms can vary greatly. There are very modern farms and others that offer spartan conditions (no electricity or running water) and mostly manual labor, especially in the mountain pastures. The location of the farms also varies greatly: some are near urban centers, others are in remote valleys. The farms are often small and it may happen that a family member does auxiliary work that has nothing to do with agriculture.
To do this job, you need a lot of determination and desire to work. You get up early in the morning and spend most of the day working in the fields or taking care of the animals in the barn or pasture. Do not expect a high salary for your work, you will receive room and board and a very small wage (between twelve and twenty francs per working day, depending on your age).
- 12 francs per day for 14 and 15 year olds
- 16 francs per day for 16 and 17 year olds
- 20 francs per day for young people 18 and older
If you intend to carry out the grape harvest, be aware that this is hard work that requires a lot of physical endurance. Accordingly, the pay is higher: in addition to room and board, you will receive 50 francs per day. The work can last from five to ten days, depending on the size of the company. However, if you are interested in this work, you need to be very flexible, because the exact time when the harvest begins depends on the weather and can change every year.
Every year, about 3,000 young people from all over Europe have this experience: cleaning the barn, helping in the household, working in the garden or fields, taking care of the children, picking fruit, harvesting and it is also possible to sell agricultural products at the market. The farm families reflect the diversity of agriculture in Switzerland: there are farms in the mountains and in the valleys, from the east to the west of Switzerland.
If you are between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five, enjoy working outdoors, meeting new people, like nature, farms and new experiences, this could be an opportunity for you.
You can work from two to eight weeks. However, if you only have one week off, you can only work one week. The minimum duration in summer (July and August) is two weeks. The maximum duration, regardless of the number of services performed, is a total of two months per year. During the service, the young people are part of the family and usually spend the weekend with their host family.
Work depends a lot on the weather and weather conditions: When the weather is nice, there is a lot to do, while when it rains, things are quieter. The host family will also make sure that you do not work more than 40-48 hours per week, depending on your age.
- hours for 14 and 15 year olds
- 44 hours for 16 and 17 year olds
- 48 hours for young people 18 and over
Except in exceptional cases (urgent seasonal work), you do not work on Sundays and holidays. However, you are always entitled to one day off per week. Keep in mind, however, that a working day does not have fixed hours. You may have to rush back to the fields the night before in anticipation of a bad weather day to protect the crop. Therefore, daily work hours may vary.
Job search can be done independently by looking at the listings on the Agriviva website. It is necessary to register on the Internet and then apply for the current vacancies.
I would also like to point out WWOOF, (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). It is a worldwide movement that matches volunteers with organic farmers and growers. In exchange for your work (usually 4/5 hours per day), you receive room and board but no financial compensation. However, you will have the opportunity to learn the language of the country and learn new things in agriculture and other fields. You have to pay a registration fee for each country you want to join.