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The Krameterhof farm

Numerous generations of Alpine farmers have exercised their profession at Krameterhof. Situated on the southern slope of the Schwarzenberg mountain in Salzburg’s Lungau region, it covers approximately 45 ha, rising from an altitude of 1,100 m above sea level to 1,500 m. Due to the long and severe winter seasons and a low average annual temperature, Lungau has been nicknamed Austria’s mini Siberia. At the same time, it is also renowned for its many hours of sun and the annual rainfall is quite low.

average annual temperature: 5 °C
days with frost: 166 of which 44 are sub-zero days
average annual precipitation: 751 mm

Krameterhof farmers in 1910: Susanne and Andreas Holzer with their children Susanne, Monika, Maria, Andreas, Theresa and Martin.

Self-sufficiency in Lungau

from the Franciscan Land Registry (1810 to approx. 1870)

Maria and Martin Holzer, Sepp’s parents, on their wedding day in 1938

Even though the natural conditions are challenging, this wonderful spot in Lungau has been cultivated by many generations of Alpine farmers.

Over the course of time, many big challenges have had to be faced including, for example, the catastrophic fire that nearly completely destroyed the entire village of Ramingstein in 1841. It was around half a century before the region finally recovered from this devastating event.

In 1890, Susanne and Andreas Holzer moved from nearby Ganslberg to the Krameterhof estate with the intention of taking over the farm, at the time abandoned and in ruins, and build it up again. The Holzer family has lived and worked there ever since.

Just like all mountain farms, Krameterhof was run on a subsistence basis, meaning it was an exploitation with self-sufficient production. Hardly any surpluses were produced, just what was necessary for the daily life of what tended to be a large family.

from the Franciscan Land Registry (1810 to approx. 1870)

Maria and Martin Holzer, Sepp’s parents, on their wedding day in 1938

Alternativen abseits des Mainstreams

Sepp Holzer, ten years old, in 1952

Quite often we get asked how it is possible to successfully grow cereals, pulses, fruit and vegetables up here given the typically harsh climate of the region. The fact that farms have existed in this region over many generations is proof in itself that even under such circumstances it is definitely possible to produce all that is needed for life. If this had not been the case, Susanne and Andreas Holzer would not have settled here 130 years ago.

The farming history of Krameterhof is a permanent source of inspiration for new project ideas. Ideas that serve to demonstrate that there are always many possibilities and solutions and that the mainstream method of agriculture today is just one of many.

Sepp Holzer, ten years old, in 1952

Krameterhof_1954_1-vn2 Krameterhof_1954_1-vn

„ In 1962 I took over the parental farm when I was just 19 years old. I constructed and developed ponds, terraces and seedling nurseries, I practiced fish farming and wild cattle breeding as well as mushroom growing, I established an alternative tree nursery and much more. For me, it was always important not to focus exclusively on one source of income. I always wanted to continue to diversify in order to be able to react to changing conditions. This has proven to be a good strategy over the years. I have had enough time to continuously improve and develop my farming methods so that the workload becomes less and the yield higher. It has always been clear to me that, for this purpose, it is vital to model my work on natural cycles. In 1995, I heard for the first time that there was a description and a name that corresponded perfectly to the way I was managing the farm: permaculture.“

Sepp Holzer

We believe in diversity and flexibility

For more than 50 years we have undertaken different experiments in relation to alternative ways of cultivating land at Krameterhof. We have tried numerous farming lines of business and are continually on the search for new possibilities to use our resources in a durable way. As a logical consequence, the farm finds itself under a state of permanent change. We keep those lines of business that prove to be successful and profitable and drop those that do not. As it stands today, the Krameterhof farm is the intermediate result of an ongoing process that has been evolving for many decades already.

Showcase project and open-air laboratory

The Krameterhof farm has achieved international recognition through various book releases, media reports and documentary films. It is seen as a showcase permaculture project characterized by its diversity, complexity and size. For years now, the Krameterhof farm has been an attraction and a destination for farming specialists and experts and nature lovers alike.

Experiments and combinations

We do indeed see our farm as an open-air laboratory in which research is conducted into the rationality and feasibility of different cultivation concepts and techniques. We experiment with and try out new concepts and ideas, while at the same time also following and adapting traditional and tried and tested agricultural methods to the actual conditions of our farm. Our aim is to combine our pleasure in experimenting and our openness to unconventional methods with a responsible attitude towards nature and the environment.

Our lines of business include arable farming, animal breeding, fruit growing, beekeeping, aquaculture, agroforestry, mushroom growing and the cultivation of culinary and medicinal herbs. Since 2009 we have been teaching trainees who are interested in our way of farming and wish to gain practical experience at Krameterhof farm. From real life experience for real life usage.

Relief map of Krameterhof farm

Krameterhof Newsletter

Abonniere den Krameterhof-Newsletter zum Thema Permakultur. Erhalte immer das aktuelle Kursprogramm. Nicht mehr als eine E-Mail pro Monat.

Krameterhof Newsletter

Abonniere den Krameterhof-Newsletter zum Thema Permakultur. Erhalte immer das aktuelle Kursprogramm. Nicht mehr als eine E-Mail pro Monat.

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