Sepp Holzer

Discussion in 'General chat' started by taththi, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. taththi

    taththi Junior Member

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    I was just recently reading about Sepp Holzer. I loved the fact that he, like Manutoba Fukuoka came to the same sorts of conclusions as Bill independently from their own efforts. Does anyone know what has happened recently with Sepp's troubles with the EU authorities and their mad rules about who can grow what where? :? The last update on his website (https://www.krameterhof.at/Englisch/anzeige.htm) isn't that recent.
     
  2. bazman

    bazman Junior Member

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    Re: Sepp Holzer

    Looks like an interesting guy, have you read any of his work, The rebel farmer looks interesting, I liked all the land scape work, but didn't see much in the way of mulch used.
     
  3. foggyforge

    foggyforge Junior Member

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    Re: Sepp Holzer

    Been waching the videos of his place .He does a lot of things like Fukuoka used to .
    Uses some machinery at he start to do teraces etc.The videos were included in that intro to permaculture download
     
  4. Manfred

    Manfred Junior Member

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    The search function showed found several threads on Sepp Holzer. It was just by chance I picked this one.

    You might now that the Krameterhof is headed by Sepp´s son Josef since a couple of years.

    Website: https://www.krameterhof.at/cms60/index.php
    Location on Google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/qxKSI
    Video of a farm tour with Josef: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P81ZLODRQo

    Sepp and his wife moved to the warmer Burgenland region in the south of Austria.
    The new Holzerhof is the former Jena-Hof https://www.jena-hof.at/ (you might have heard about all the trouble regarding this project).
    Sepp already owned neighboring land (The Jena-Hof was planned as a cooperation project) and acquired the Jena-Hof some years ago.

    Their new Website: https://www.seppholzer.at/cms/index.php
    Location on Google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/1Xn5X
    A Video about building some ponds on the new Holzerhof: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIJwrHIuE9w
     
  5. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    i've enjoyed his works in English translation and wished i could understand German well enough to read them in the original... like Fukuoka, he says much and at times i'm sure i'm missing nuances because of the language/translation barriers. still very interesting, thanks for the update of what he is up to.

    i'm not aware of the troubles, i think i tried to get into more of his sites/projects but so much is in German that i cannot understand it.
     
  6. Manfred

    Manfred Junior Member

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    I do not know Sepp personally. So it is difficult to make up a well-founded opinion on him.

    He sure is not the demigod some people believe him to be. He seems to be a bit difficult in personal contact. Quick in getting aggressive if you question him.
    In more than one project his clients had to suffer from his hands on approach ignoring government regulations and the necessary paperwork, leading to punishment and court trials.

    He also tended to take exorbitant prices for the plants etc. he delivered to the projects.

    Of course each of these conflicts has two sides and the customers are often to blame for their naivety.
    If you sign a contract declaring Sepp only an adviser and making you the instructing party for all the earthwork, spring tapping etc. that he thinks has to be done on your ground, than you are responsible for all the paperwork. And if you buy from him at his prices and do not compare with other nurseries, this is your decision.

    There have been several trials from customers against him and as far as I know, he won most of them. But I have seen some court protocols and they at least leave an after taste.

    If you read the Rebel Farmer you might understand how he got the person he is. And if he would not be the person he this, he would never ever have been able to build the Krameterhof the way it is under Austrian legislation.

    He sure is a great observer of nature and a very hard working man. And he is far, far ahead of almost all of us in bringing his ideas from fantasy into real existence.

    So he might have his dark sides, but below the line he is one of the great ancestors of permaculture and I am really thankful he is sharing so much knowledge and ideas with us.

    And by all the court trails he fought against Austrian authorities to clear the pathway for his Krameterhof he has made it much easier for our generation actualizing our projects.
     
  7. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Wrong URL (Universal Relay Link)


    The above link is a 404 Error, go to main page, click UK Flag symbol and you get:

    https://www.krameterhof.at/cms60/index.php?id=151


    There ya go.

    No wonder he who shall not be named loves him and thinks he can't do any wrong; I'm kidding, and not with a baby goat. Sepp doesn't deliver a "tree" He delivers a tree with all the beneficial inter-cropping under the tree as well. Wish more nurseries did it. He also has incredibly rare varieties, even for his region. Nothing normal at the Kramterhoff!

    As for the lawsuits, not all that shocked.

    As for the Austrian Goverment vs. Sepp Holzer... the Austrian Government should of been sued by Sepp for stupidity already.
     
  8. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Manfred's comment about Sepp maybe having a dark side grabbed my attention and I kept thinking about this.

    In light of what is happening with the codex alimentarius and the attempts being made to regulate what we can grow,how and who we give/sell it to, made me wonder if there is a black propaganda starting up to vilify those who are advocating Heirloom plants and organic methods.
    Sepp is after all, as far as I know, a known, loud combatant for the organic movement and would be an ideal target for this.
     
  9. Manfred

    Manfred Junior Member

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    @mischief:

    You are gunning the wrong person. I am doing what I can to fight for Heirloom varieties myself. We had a large campaign here in Europe during the last year as the European authorities are working on reforming the seeds and plant variety regulations. All the Heirloom variety organizations here stood side by side and we supported them as good as we could.

    The German homesteading forum I am running with some friends is very comparable to Paul`s permies.com forums. https://www.selbstvers.org/forum/
    (Perhaps you can try the Google translator or ask some German speaking fried to confirm what is happening there.)

    And as I say: I really appreciate what Sepp has done and is doing for the permaculture movement. But the intangible, godlike status he is given by some people around the world has been dumped here in Germany and Austria long ago.

    Here a critical website on him (in German) publishing some justice documents on him.
    https://www.agrarrebell-info.com/

    Of course the man publishing this website has a personal dispute with Sepp. But he has proven Sepp lying or at least exaggerating and concealing in several cases.

    E.g. on the number of degree dissertations done about his farm (only one, not 11 or even 44 as Sepp claimed in different occasions).

    Or about the effluent sludge Sepp used on his farm in the 1980s and 1990s.
    He even published a document by the forwarding contractor showing every single delivery of sludge to the farm from 1991 to 1994:
    https://www.agrarrebell-info.com/upload/4796888-Klrschlammlieferung-an-Holzer.pdf

    And you can be sure that Sepp´s advocate checked every single word on that website.

    But all this is secondary stuff. I only want to make clear that not everyone of his critics is a liar, trying to destroy Sepps good name.

    He has made his mistakes as I have made mistakes and as most of us have.
    But he has also produced a lot of good stuff and that is what I value him for.
     
  10. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    me too, i read him only in translation, but i've read whatever i can get my hands on and it is at least an interesting read.

    my particular problems with his writings is that at times they go off into what i would call mysticism. that is, things that will never be verfiable, testable or even likely repeatable.

    however, like Fukuoka, i value his respect towards nature and how to do natural fruit trees. i wish him well.

    as for personality,, i've never met the guy, but after so many years of dealing with governmental regulations and many thousands of people who do not spend much if any time in nature, well i'd probably be a bit cranky at times too. he's done a good work, i hope his son will carry on and also do well.
     
  11. Manfred

    Manfred Junior Member

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    Yes. That is, what I mean. I guess it is somehow like what happens to a lot of war veterans. If you have to go through a certain level of fighting and mental trauma, it leaves scars on your personality. Only a Buddha like person would be able to stay above such experiences.

    What you call mysticism is something you often read from autodidactic writers. They somehow develop their own models of describing the things they experienced. Often they mix in scientific nomenclature but use them in a different way and meaning than science does.
    Viktor Schauberger is another good example for such writing.
    For people with a formal education in the same field of science this often makes it difficult to find access to these texts and communicate with the autodidact. You usually have to go deep into details to make sure you understand what the other person really wants to express.
    Talking to people with the same understanding of a certain nomenclature is much easier.
    Reading Fukuoka as a westerner withno background in Japanese philosophy might be kind of the same problem.
     
  12. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    i don't have any of the texts here to quote to illustrate what i would consider a mystical statement (by either author : ) as both do it ).

    i have done a fair bit of reading and understanding of eastern mysticism and expressions, so Fukuoka is much more reliable reading to me (that is, i am not as worried about misunderstanding his intent even if it has been translated into English, mostly because the various versions of his writings that i have read have all been fairly consistent between each other).

    with Sepp, there isn't as much overlap between his writings so i don't have the benefit of several translations or versions to work from. so in those areas where i call it mystical, i just withhold judgement and hope that eventual further details will come along.
     
  13. Manfred

    Manfred Junior Member

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    Fukuoka is difficult to read for me. The German translations of his books have been translated from English. But I have read some in English do. Does not help much in improving my understanding.

    We had several discussions about him at selbstvers.org
    In my impression most people here understand him like: Buy some acres of land, throw some seedballs in and from then on you live in the land of milk and honey and do not need to work ever again (do nothing philosophy) except of letting the sun shine in your face and picking some fruits.

    When I read him, I see myself observing nature work on my ground whole day long and use what I think to understand to constantly change my system to mimic nature´s reactions. Cut something down with my sickle here, drop some seeds of a certain plant there, plant a tree, cut down another tree, harvest a hand full of seeds etc. Many hours of work spent on endless learning and improving details until in a far future perfection is reached.

    How do you understand him?
     
  14. Rick Larson

    Rick Larson Junior Member

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    I think Sepp is a marketing genius. However, all transactions are mostly to his benefit.
     
  15. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    i've read all of his works available in English. the idealised approach is as you say, "do nothing", but clearly he was a busy guy, like you describe, always observing, always trying things out, and yes, using that sickle to cut back one type of plant to give another more light. replacing trees, harvesting and spreading seeds he wanted to encourage in new places, etc.

    his lands below, the barley and rice field, which he flooded once in a while, but not nearly as often as his neighbors fields were being flooded. he had to plant and harvest, that is not "do nothing", there is work involved... some of his students said they could not keep up with him easily at all even up until he was in his 90s. of course, when he became ill then that changed, but he still lived to around 95 and seemed happy with his chosen path.

    that all said, i think his approach is valid and very much in line with permaculture ideas, using the whole system in as many layers as possible to provide good foods and good homes not destroying the air, land or water. being observant, working with nature, from the pictures of his lands as compared to many other orchards or fields i know who i'd want for an upwind and upstream neighbor. that is as high an accolade you can give is it not? : )

    i think his idea of perfection was different tho... i'll do that in another post.
     
  16. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    ok, to get with the perfection idea a bit more, from what i recall, Fukuoka was convinced that nature was perfect as it was/is, in each place, even after destroyed or changed, it was what it was/is. and i think this is quite a normal aspect of zen or eastern ideas of yin and yang and/or the creative destruction, it is all a cycle, each containing within the seeds of the next, whatever that next is, as it started out perfect and continues in perfection. so the idea that we need to do anything to it to make it more perfect is like being asked to polish an already well cut diamond... and thus i think his "do nothing" response is quite suitable for the wider philosophical stance. : )

    for him, i think life, even if it was work, was also play, i.e. discovery and learning. he was also content too at plenty of times, to sit with his students and talk and eat, that if he stopped and rested in between tasks he wasn't lamenting the fact that there was a weed growing here or there, he knew that no matter what happened next, if he did nothing at all that nature was going to be fine left alone. that is kind of the wrong idea of nature too, that it is some force outside exerting to control. it is inside and working as each small element does it's thing. so there is no actual outside force needed.

    i'm pretty much in the same camp as him. i do things even more simple. i like how it is going so far too. much more happy with the results.
     
  17. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    OOOPS! Sorry Manfred, I didnt actually mean you were doing it...but perhaps bringing it to our attention. Sorry for not making that obvious from the start.
     

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