Rudolf Bühler is the founder and chairman of the foundation. Rudolf Bühler has a degree in agricultural engineering and is an organic farmer at the Sonnenhof farm in Wolpertshausen, in the rural district of Schwäbisch Hall. After completing his apprenticeship and degree in agriculture he worked for many years as an agricultural expert in development aid in Asia and Africa.

In 1988 Rudolf Bühler and 8 other farmers founded the Bäuerliche Erzeugergemeinschaft Schwäbisch Hall (BESH) , a farmers’ self-help initiative, of which he is the chairman. Since it was founded, 1,450 family-operated farms from the Hohenlohe region have joined the BESH association of agricultural producers. The goal of the association is to turn the natural potentials of the region into real value and to enable the producers to benefit from this added value through projects for rural development in the Hohenlohe region.


BESH, as a mutually supportive association of farmers, is well-known for its projects far beyond the national boundaries as a best practise case for sustainable, integrated rural regional development. It maintains diverse partner projects throughout Europe and the rest of the world. As an agricultural engineer and project manager, Rudolf Bühler has decades of experience in development aid and in establishing sustainable value creation chains. 

For the past 23 years BESH has actively helped to establish similar producer associations abroad, and for the past 12 years it has been implementing very successful PPP projects, for example in India, Serbia, Romania, the Ukraine, Russia, Namibia and Zanzibar. The project SEEDS OF HOPE established trade relations with the producers from India, Zanzibar and Serbia and introduced pilot projects for organic agriculture in these regions.


The global development project SEEDS OF HOPE initiated by BESH and its sister organisation ECOLAND Herbs & Spices is based on a concept in which small-scale farmers in different regions of the Earth are enabled to achieve a sustainable income by working with their own hands, through the ecological use of the locally existing resources.

The partnerships with the producer associations of small-scale farmers in Kerala, India, in Vojvodina, Serbia and in Zanzibar, Tanzania produce herbs and spices on the basis of certified organic cultivation; the produce is then purchased from these small-scale cooperatives at fair prices by ECOLAND Herbs & Spices and used for their own purposes and also marketed.

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