[Fwd: Permaculture in Europe]

Keith Johnson keithdj at mindspring.com
Wed Sep 5 12:58:49 EDT 2001

I did a quick search on googol (my favorite, fastest search engine) and found
the following website for the Austrian Permie Sepp Holzer, at:
<http://www.crystal-lake-video.de/permaculture.html> 73 other sites also came
up, most of them in German. However, Googol also can translate those pages into
English (more or less), a very nice feature. So, more details are available. It
sounds like the kind of demonstration we need to explore and report on in the

John Cruickshank wrote:

> Keith,
> Thanks for that tale of a man outstanding in his field.  Now, the question
> is how did he do it!  Have you been able to manage any kind of connection to
> that kind of info?  I would be real useful for me and others who do not live
> by inspiration alone....
> It's Plain to Sea - Love Prevails.......JC
>               John Cruickshank
>           Going Concerns Unlimited
>               <<<Hobbit House>>
>                  Loveland CO
>                     _/V\_
>                     (o~o)
> ,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸oOOo~(_)~oOOo ,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸
> Check out the "Sunny John" - a Solar Powered
>           Moldering Toilet solution
>                (and much more!)
>           http://www.sunnyjohn.com
> -----Original Message-----
> From: keithdj at mindspring.com [mailto:keithdj at mindspring.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2001 7:03 PM
> To: Keith Johnson
> Subject: [Fwd: Permaculture in Europe]
> Here's one of those stories that I send to everyone in my e-address book
> (it's also a good way to find the lapsed addresses in the database). It's
> from one of the permaculture listservs. Please excuse cross-posting if you
> are already on the list. Enjoy and pass along.
> Keith
> Here's an inspirational tale.  -  Jeffrey
> August 24, 2001 By Reuters
> RAMINGSTEIN, Austria -- In the coldest part of Austria, a farmer is
> turning conventional wisdom on its head by growing a veritable Garden of
> Eden full of tropical plants in the open on his steep Alpine pastures.
> Amid average annual temperatures of a mere 39.5 Fahrenheit, Sepp Holzer
> grows everything from apricots to eucalyptus, figs to kiwi fruit,
> peaches to wheat at an altitude of between 3,300 and 4,900 feet. Once
> branded a fool, fined and threatened with imprisonment for defying
> Austrian regulations that dictate what is planted where, he is now feted
> worldwide for creating the only functioning "permaculture" farm in
> Europe. Permaculture, an abbreviation of permanent culture, is the
> development of agricultural ecosystems which are complete and
> self-sustaining.
> "Once planted, I do absolutely nothing," Holzer told Reuters. "It really
> is just nature working for itself -- no weeding, no pruning, no
> watering, no fertilizer, no pesticides."
> His 110 acres of land in the mountainous Lungau region in the province
> of Salzburg are classed by European Union directives as unfit for
> agricultural cultivation due to the steep gradient and poor soil. When
> Holzer inherited the farm -  then 44.5 acres -  39 years ago, it was
> only used for the grazing of the family's cows and sheep. He carved
> terraces out of the steep inclines - like the ancient Incas and Maya of
> South and Central America - to stop erosion and trap rainfall. He
> rejected the use of pesticides and fertilizers, which he considered
> poisonous, and the concept of monoculture - the cultivation of just one
> plant type over an expanse of land - because he believed it sapped the
> soil of all nutrients. Instead he began growing a host of timber and
> fruit trees, shrubs and grasses all mixed up together.
> "Everyone said I was mad and I had to pay numerous fines because the
> authorities said that it was illegal to plant such a combination,"
> Holzer said. "When I bought this patch of land off a farmer, it was not
> fit for the cows and sheep grazing on it. People scoffed that I was
> neglecting my land -- but now they come to harvest cherries from June to
> October." "This is the worst type of soil, which just goes to prove that
> there is no bad soil, just bad farmers," he added.
> Most of the plants Holzer and his wife Vroni grow at his "Krameterhof"
> holding are not meant to flourish in Alpine conditions, according to
> experts. In winter, the temperature can fall to below minus 22 degrees
> Fahrenheit and a blanket of snow lingers into May. Snow can even fall in
> the height of summer. Holzer said he found agricultural textbooks and
> his own years at agricultural college virtually useless. "I followed
> their advice initially, but my trees started dying off. I then realized
> that I had to eradicate from my memory all that I'd learned at college,"
> he said.
> Enlightenment came one winter during one of Holzer's routine moonlight
> strolls, when he noticed that the only apricot tree faring well in the
> harsh winter conditions was one he had forgotten to cut back according
> to ministerial regulations. Unlike the pruned trees whose main lower
> branches snapped off under the weight of snow, the "neglected" tree's
> branches were intact. Their unrestricted length had allowed them to
> droop with the tips touching the ground for support while the snow slid
> off, Holzer found. Allowing natural vegetation to grow around the trunk
> provided further support and nourishment for the tree. "If people would
> only realize that if one leads a life in cooperation with nature and not
> against it, then nobody in the world need die of starvation," he said.
> Holzer's philosophy is that nature knows best and needs negligible
> interference from Man. "We're born into paradise, but are destroying its
> foundation, the soil. The soil can look after itself, there's no need
> for Man to tamper with it." Giant stone slabs pepper the landscape and
> serve as incubators by absorbing the sunlight and giving off warmth. The
> trees do their part as well in keeping the ground warm. Fallen foliage
> helps keep frost from reaching the roots. Tree stumps dot the
> plantations to regulate irrigation. Like a sponge they soak up water and
> later distribute it. Animals too have a role in the Holzer ecosystem.
> Scavenging pigs till the soil in place of a tractor, while grass snakes
> were reintroduced to keep voracious slugs and mice in check. Holzer is
> modest about his achievement which has led to projects in more than 40
> countries and lectures on "the elimination of poverty in agriculture."
> He has rejected suggestions that he should have his method of
> permaculture patented. "I would consider that as theft from nature. It's
> not my possession, I got it from nature and have an obligation to pass
> this knowledge on," the bearded 59-year- old said.
> Holzer says his method of organic farming produces a much higher quality
> of crops than conventional farming, and at a fraction of the cost and
> effort. He says his rare strain of grain contains 12 times the goodness
> of conventionally grown grain and as a result fetches a price 100 times
> higher. His success means that he no longer lives directly off the crops
> in his sprawling garden, or the rare fish in his Alpine ponds and lakes.
> People pay to pick their own fruit from his land, experts visit to study
> "Holzer Permaculture," and the man himself regularly holds seminars when
> not in a far-off country such as Colombia solving chronic problems of
> the soil. And only one thing has so far stumped the man with green
> fingers. "Bananas," he said with a shrug of his burly frame. "They
> froze. It's no surprise as they need an average temperature of 30
> degrees. But I'm still working on it."
> Copyright 2001, Reuters
>                        *******************************
> Jeffrey Newman
> JN Web Design
> http://www.jnweb.com/
> Phone: 1 250 791-9206
> Fax:   1 250 791-9207
> E-Mail: jn at jnweb.com
> ICQ: 9879310

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