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The Holzer Permaculture is a branch of permaculture developed independently from the mainstream permaculture in Austria by Sepp Holzer. It is particularly noteworthy because it grew out of practical application and was relatively detached from the scientific community.
Sepp Holzer started reorganising his father's property according to ecological patterns in the early 1960s after he took over the farm. As an adolescent he conducted layman experiments with plants native to the area and learned from his own observations.
It is difficult to make out differences between the methods and practices of Sepp Holzer in contrast to the more scientific and theoretical permacultural mainstream. One aspect is the abandonment of horticultural principles such as intercropping plants with very high and very low pH requirements (for example, Rhododendron with roses). Instead, Holzer mixes thirty or more different types of seeds in a bucket and tosses the mix richly onto a larger area.
His designs are mostly aiming at raising temperatures and creating micro-climates with rocks, ponds and living wind barriers, in an area with 4°C on the average and -20°C in the winter. Another aspect was the necessity of creating terraces on his farm's hillsides leading him to the use of heavy machinery.
He also uses animal labor alongside human labor, working his farm with only two people. He optimizes the natural patterns of animal behavior to reduce human or machine-driven labor. As an example: he uses swine to plow his fields for sowing.
The exceptionally harsh climatic conditions in the area are generally considered inappropriate for farming. Nevertheless, he has managed to cultivate a variety of crops and even exotic plants like Kiwis and Sweet Chestnut.
The Krameterhof is less an operational enterprise, in terms of crop-yield (although it does provide numerous sorts of produce for the community), and more a fully functional showcase or research station for permaculture.
Endangered livestock species and rare alpine- and cultural plant species are integrated into the farm.
Publications translated into English
Most of Holzer's books are published in German through Leopold Stocker Verlag, an Austrian publisher based in Graz. Leopold Stocker Verlag is known for its notoriety in publishing antisemetic and right wing-extremist material.
- "The Rebell Farmer"
- "Sepp Holzer`s Permakultur"