Greed Reduction

This would be my last blog on Sepp Holzer’s experimental farm in Austrian Alps. I would like to talk about his greed reduction policies. As I have written in my first blog about Holzer – I believe his philosophy could be shortly described by three sentences: Back to nature. Do not be too greedy. And: Turn disadvantages of your situation into advantages. In the first blog I wrote about advantages, in the second about the nature, so let me say a few words about greed here.

It is one thing to say to people: “You are too greedy,” and a completely different thing to be able to show examples of greed reduction in practice. Those who have read my previous blogs must remember Vogelkirschen »bird cherry trees«. Holzer could have planted the usual cherry trees that give larger crops. But then he would not have so many birds on the farm that can only eat the small cherries called Vogelkirschen. And he needs the birds to keep the number of snails under a reasonable limit. He is ready to give, thus he can receive. He gives cherries and receives “snail-control”, for as you know birds like to eat snails too.

Let me give you another example. Holzer uses pigs instead of tractors in order to be environment friendly. On some fields he lets pigs eat all the crops. That way the pigs automatically do the “plowing”, for that is their way of feeding in nature. On other fields Holzer and his employees pick the crops, spread some corn seeds on the ground and let the pigs in (each field has a fence). The pigs then do the “plowing”, while searching for the seeds. Holzer likes to joke that “pigs are his employees too, for they plow and fertilize the soil”.

Another interesting point to mention would be that the cereals on Holzer’s farm are cut by hand. The long unbroken straw is then sold to homeopaths, for which the machine-harvested straw would be useless.

Give and you shall receive.

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