Alte Böden, neue Standbeine, Old Terrain – New Pillars
Festival der Regionen 2019, Perg-Strudengau in Austria
June 2019

The ‘Alte Böden, neue Standbeine’ project, translated as “Old Terrain – New Pillars”, a project that looks at the transformations of family-run farms and was presented during Festival der Regionen 2019 within the theme Soziale Wärme “Social


Wapke Feenstra at Festival der Regionen 2019, with Leo Gmeiner, Ingrid and Franz Prinz, Renate and Andreas Schmiedberger, Josef Buchberger, Family Kamleitner, Family Fasching, Christine and Hans Georg Nenning, Family Holzweber, and Family Moser.
Festival der Regionen

With this Austrian Festival, we have highlighted the economic transformations of nine family businesses in Perg-Strudengau. Mixed farming and direct sales to local consumers and tourists have been common here since the late 1990s. Equipped with a specially designed coloring book in which the soil type, crops and company were presented, the festival guests (together with Wapke Feenstra) were able to visit the various farms. By meeting and walking the farmers, they gained insight into new pillars of local agriculture, with short chains and ecological land use. The coloring book - designed with Arienne Boelens Office - went home after the bus trip. www.fdr.at

Learning about building, adjusting and conquering from nine Austrian family farms by discovering their varied economic pillars we meet nine families that work the land in different ways, whether it is in the banks of the Danube and in the steep mountains or in the hilly erosion landscape. All offer a high diversity of products and services in the district offering short supply chains and sustainable agriculture. Many of them heritage a rich and long history of family farming through which they gathered for generations local knowledge on and about their land. These tales from old terrains are combined with new agricultural pillars and are nowadays a source of stories about cultivation, supply, land use, water management and marketing. This project visualizes how rural living is ahead in a constantly changing world where also food producers that stay for generations on their farmland are in constant flux of building, adjusting and conquering.

Together with the Festival director Airan Berg and host Therese Preisack, Wapke visited different family farms and learned about the new economic pillars on their lands. During the festival in the summer of 2019, the visitors had the opportunity to get to know more about one of the farms every day. A farm tour, a snack and a drink and coloring together while meeting the families. The agricultural color book ‘Alte Boden, Neue Standbeine’ remained as a memory of this time and remains a way to explore and learn from these farms at different times and places.

The nine farms depict the very diverse range of new pillars created on the old terrains of the farms. Learn about their innovations, local opportunities and how more pillars help them to set up a more stable economy.

The color book ‘Alte Böden, neue Standbeine’ is published by Wapke Feenstra and is written in German. Below an English summary of each farm’s story and some links:

Weinbau Gmeiner

Weinbau Gmeiner by Leo Gmeiner exists on a fertile loess soil not too far from the Donau river and used for viticulture already since 853. However in the 18th century viticulture disappeared, since 2005 the wine production has returned to the land and Leo is producing 5000 liter of white and red wine every year. Next to that, his 30 ha plot of soil hosts starch corn, soybeans and brewing barley, as well as brewing barley malt production, distillery, solar technology, bridal wear and seminar room rental.

https://www.weinbau-gmeiner.at/

Schönauer

Like Leo’s farm, the farm of Ingrid and Franz Prinz ‘Schönauer’ is affected by the Donau river but here it created a sandy clay soil with a flat floodplain landscape. The Prinz family is already the 25th generation on this land and now hosts sixty breeding pigs and 40 ha land hosts cereals, maize and sugar beets, and 3 ha of forest. From 2018 the family started to produce and experiment with growing buckwheat and Safran onions on the land as well.

https://familie-prinz.business.site

Biohof Hinterwinkler

Farmers look out for new ways of farming and relationships with their customers. At Biohof Hinterwinkler, owned by Renate und Andreas Schmiedberger, they started to sell their products since 2008 directly to the consumer through the farm, at the market in Perg and by delivery at appointment. The semi-eroded granite makes their soil humus rich and makes it possible to grow on the 17ha forest, 3ha fields, and 7 ha meadow a wide variety of organic certified vegetables and fruit, and small groups of cattle. As their farm is located on a well-known spot in the region next to the stone ‘Schwammerling’, many people know to find this farm where three current generations live and work together.

https://www.biohof-schmiedberger.at/

Biogasanlage Eizenau

Sometimes farming does not only produce food but can be used for other ways to sustain ourselves. Josef Buchberger is an explorative farmer who lives with his wife on 8 hectares of forest and 36 hectares of arable land that is mostly used to cultivate for biogas. Corn, triticale, rye, cover crops, and corn stalks create a resource for the biogas plant where, together with four other farmers, supply a village of 2,000 inhabitants with energy for one year. Josef’s farm not only produces for the biogas plant, but he also has fields where poppy seeds, caraway seeds and pumpkins grow. Still, with improved technology to cultivate organic residual and waste products, he creates a valuable contribution to the regional and continuous energy supply and on a broader level for climate protection.

Schacherhof

Living in a rural area gives place for exploration and innovation, the Kamleitner family who live at Schacherhof understands that their farm can be such a place. Since 1804 the family has owned the farm, a 12th century old square courtyard that has become a home for many. While their 43 ha land is partly built with a variety of trees, they have a sawmill and do foresty. They have arable land of sunflowers and cereals, cattle, also three holiday houses can be found on this sandstone hill covered with humus and clay. The family thinks to share the yard more with other people and make it a place where other forms of living together can be part of everyday life, including an open artist's workshop as well as opening for WWOOFing.

https://www.schacherhof-ferien.at/

Kleinleitner

Also the Jausenstation Kleinleitner from Josefa Fasching and family is a farm where many visitors pass by to taste their good food and drinks. Their farm with three springs of 7 meters deep consists of 15 hectares of forest and 15 hectares of meadows for dairy farming, a vegetable garden, and is a well-known resting and eating point for hikers on the Donausteig. Fresh bread with Dinkel is baked in their 1453 wooden oven in the courtyard and follows the secret of the old farmer, which is “experience".

https://www.donauregion.at/oesterreich-gastronomie/detail/103197/jausenstation-kleinleitner.html

Ranftl

Experience cannot be thought or bought and often comes with generations. Christine and Hans’ pig breeding farm Ranftl is owned by the family for centuries and right now three generations live in the farmhouse. Also up to 400 pigs live on this farm in 10 age-groups. The pig feed is offered in small silos that contain barley, wheat, triticale, oats, peas, soybeans and field beans, all grown on their own fields. Their fields have not been ploughed for over 20 years, which makes the clayey soil much more alive due to better filtration of water and air, more soil insects and worms to a depth of 15 cm. Because of their rich and diverse soil where their pig feed grows on, they received an exclusive contract to a Gruber butcher in South Tyrol (http://www.speckshop.it/) that made it possible for Hans Georg to be a full-time farmer since 2013.

Biohof Mascherbauer

While Christine and Hans’ farm mostly focus on one product, other farmers have a diversity of their products as a motto. Biohof Mascherbauer by Family Holzweber hosts a large variety of organic livestock, including poultry, cattle, pigs and a small petting zoo. A variety of fodder – including wheat, rye, soy, broad beans, millet, peas and oats - for the animals can be grown on their varied soil that exists of loamy sand, sandy loam, loess and kaolin. Next to that, pear and apple juice is made from the fruit from the trees in the orchards. The family also owns an organic certified kitchen, where own and local products are used for breakfast and lunch, and a farm shop with 800 organic products, including 770 from the Mühlviertel itself. The typical Mühlviertler Vierseithof built in 1835, is a clear example of how short transport chains from ground to customer look like.

https://www.biohof-mascherbauer.at/

Radlerbauernhof Moser

Farmers are in a flux of adaptation to their environmental and social environment. The Moser family is already the 9th generation since 1772 which hosts their current Radler Bauernhof. As their land is only three hundred meters from the Donau river and floods such as in 1954, 1991, and 2002 made their land only of sustainable use when hosting fruit trees and cattle. After 2002 a dam-system was built to protect them for the more frequently floods due to climate change. Nevertheless, the Moser family owns a lively farm where their two hectares orchard gives up to seven thousand litres of juice per year, two thousand litres of wine and one thousand litres of grape juice. The family directly sells to consumers and is a place for guests with twelve guest rooms, bicycle parking, farm shop and dining room. Year-round the family is experimenting with ways to extend the range of processing and harvest, which recently resulted in ​​producing vinegar and schnapps distilled from their apple-quince and pear-quince.

http://www.radlerbauernhof-moser.at/