A Unique Food Forest in the Mountains
Since the early 1960’s Seth and Veronica Holtar have been creating a fertile landscape of ponds and terraces in the mountains of their sustainable food forest in the area of Krematahoff, Austria. The method/philosophy they use for this sustainable farming technique is called permaculture. Permaculture’s philosophy stems from the observation of how all living things in an ecosystem, plants, animals, and humans, interact with one another and devising systems and self sustaining partnerships where all members benefit in the system and no member is compromised. All life is sustained by a delicate balance of ecological systems. If this balance is interrupted, then all the members of the system feel the effects.
Unlike traditional agriculture (monoculture), where soil is robbed of its vital nutrients and treated with chemicals after a single harvest, permaculture practices take account of all pieces of the system including the soil. In a permaculture system, plants tend to be of the perennial variety meaning that the plants sustains their roots and blooms every year. Therefore, there is no digging necessary. However annual plant are still used can be an extremely beneficial plant in a permaculture ecosystem.
So far in permaculture, the practice has depended less significantly on the use of enormous field harvesting machines run by fossil fuels and has depended more on support from communities that are focused on keeping food production local and organic. This local food distribution cuts our reliance on trucks to drive across country for your favorite Macintosh apple. I find myself needing to write a separate article on how permaculture and new ways of constructing community is one of our best options for combating and preventing further climate change. Stay tuned :)
For the past 50+ years, Seth has created his food forest using no help from outside knowledge (mainly because there was no available information on this topic until years later). He says he has gained all of his sustainable farming knowledge from quiet and patient observation of nature and through daily experience of trial and error. Today, his farm is a highly visited destination for people all over the world, looking to construct similar systems on their own. It is an incredible thought that 1500 meters high in the mountains, they have been able to create a sustainable ecological food forest produce and live off their farm 100%.
The video below dives deep into the life and knowledge of Seth & Victoria, the farmer in Austria.