Permakultur - Landwirtschaft im Einklang mit der Natur

Director(s): Heidi Snel
36 min




The Siberia of Austria, Lungau.

A hundred kilometres south of Salzburg

and the country coldest region.

Winter here in the valley

is harsh and begins early.

The unusual ground profile

suggests a very different

approach to farming

here on the Krameterhof.

At fifteen hundred metres above sea level

mountain farmers Sepp

and Veronica Holzer

have created a garden of Eden.

On this farm everything is little

different from neighbouring farms.

Their Turopolje pigs for example are

rare and resilient breed from Croatia.

Here they are happy living

outdoors all year round.

Sepp Holzer remarkable

success is a result of the

constant nurturing of his

forty five hectares farm.

The story of that success was

featured at expo 2000 in Hanover.

The expo exhibit

demonstrated the concept of

sustainability for

agriculture in mountain regions.

Over the past thirty

years the Krameterhof has

become a symbol of what

permaculture can achieve.

It demonstrates well how the community

can be fed without degrading the land

while the farmer makes a decent living.

Since he started Sepp

Holzer has overturned

every rule of conventional agriculture.

Here he sets an example

for farmers the world over.

Judging by the number of

visitors who flocked to his farm

his unorthodox methods

generate huge interest.

Cherries, there are still cherries

growing, all different types.

At between eleven and fifty

hundred metres altitude

his cherry trees almost reached

the tree line, unheard-of.

The fifteen types of

cherries planted at different

altitudes ripen at

different times of the year.

For the farmer this means

a more leisurely five

month harvesting season

from June to September.

A fruit garden at fifteen hundred

metres and such surprising variety.

The chinese kiwi plant,

it normally needs a lot of warmth.

The (marrony??) tree too,

normally grows on warmer climates.

Lemons, yes, here at

alpine altitude you will

find remarkable abundance

of Mediterranean produce.

How could this be?

What is Holzer's secret?

All life is sustained by a delicate

balance between ecological systems.

If that balance breaks down so this

nature's ability to provide for our needs.

Plants and insects cooperate naturally.

Observing their interdependence

teaches the farmer

how to be more efficient

without degrading the soil.

Understand this process

and you understand

the underline philosophy

of permaculture.

The farmer applies this

learning by creating


ecological partnerships.

The needs of all the

the animals,

the plants and the farmer

can all be satisfied.

So permaculture's diversity

brings a rewarding harvest

without degrading the

resources of future generations.

Unlike today's industrialized agriculture

the soil becomes richer each year,

its fertility and integrity

constantly improving.

In conventional agriculture the soil is

frequently ploughed and

treated with chemicals.

Compacted by heavy machinery it can't

breathe and becomes poorer every year.

Monoculture or single

crop planting demands

high doses of fertilizers

and pesticides.

It's a constant fight against nature.

The effects:
many plant

and animal species die away,

the ground water is

poisoned, the taste and

nutritional value of

the produce is lost.

In the long term the

communities diet suffers.

Ironically intensive

farming is inefficient. It

uses more energy and

resources than it produces.

The high cost of production, storage,

transportation and

marketing rise every year.

The energy input is much higher than

the calorific value of the harvest.

Today's monoculture comes

with the price stake.

It can only exist with the

help of enormous subsidies.

Every year nearly fifty per

cent of the U.E. budget is

pumped into keeping inefficient

modern agriculture afloat.

And nature too pays a high price.

Local ecosystems are destroyed, soil is

lost through erosion and lack of nutrients.

The landscape becomes evermore bear on.

Monoculture culprit Sepp Holzer home

valley. An endless forest of fir trees.

For Holzer the problem is

that fir trees have flat roots.

They can't stabilize the

steep hills of the Lungal.

The effect of this fir desert as he calls

soil erosion and floods in the valleys.

Dams are needed to prevent

the inevitable disasters.

As far back as the sixties Sepp Holzer

has decided to switch to permaculture.

For nearly forty years he has fashioned

a fertile landscape of ponds and terraces.

The terraces were inspired

by the rice paddies of Asia

where they prevent rain water run off

and the loss of important soil nutrients.

Springtime in Langau.

Sepp is taken the lease

on a new piece of land.

Five hectares of sloping green meadow.

First he makes terraces,

one of the rare

occasions when he uses

his heavy equipment.

The digger terraces the

hill so that the soil

erosion is stopped and the

soil and humus stabilized.

When I get a new piece of land just

like this one here it has to be terraced.

It costs of course, but it's very economic

because I don't have to irrigate or fertilize

and I don't need expensive equipment.

Once this job is done it's

stays done for generations.

Even while the digger is still

making terraces the planting begins.

More than fifteen hundred fruit

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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