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My Krameterhoff visit, plus free tickets! (expires July 2022)

 
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***
If you’d like tickets to Krameterhof (expires mid July, 2022) I would be absolutely thrilled to give you our one voucher (which is good for 2 tickets for a day tour, or 1 ticket for a four day course).  This is free to a good home, or best offer if there are multiple people interested.  These expire in mid-July 2022.  It says they are transferable, but not redeemable for cash.  I think the value of this voucher may save you around €230 - €590

Krameterhof’s website is: https://krameterhof.at/
If you do not speak German, you can always use a Chrome browser with Google translate to understand the English course offerings. Viel Glück!

***
I went to Krameterhof once.  I'll post a couple photos here later.   If you have recent pictures or a recent experience with Krameterhof that you’d like to share, please feel free to add them.  Here is my experience visiting the farm...

After going through their online reservation process, they told us weeks prior to the tour via email that we were confirmed for a day tour for two, and that they looked forward to seeing us.  Their online documents make it clear it is a "rain or shine" kind of event.  I was super excited!

We re-contacted Krameterhof in the morning, letting them know that were going to be a little late due to a dreadful Stau (traffic jam).   We would have called, but their website doesn’t list a phone number.  I was so anxious about being late for the tour!  Hopefully they wouldn’t start without us, and hopefully we wouldn’t miss that 3 course lunch!  Unfortunately, Krameterhof ended up being a 3 hour drive from the airport which is ~128km (about 80 miles) away.  Bad traffic.

We showed up at the gate, awkwardly looking around for any office, store, or farm workers, thinking the tour must had already left.  Several other vehicles were there, and a couple people getting out of them, so maybe we weren't the only ones stuck in traffic?  Imagine our total dismay when a worker told us that the tour had been canceled!  At first we were told by the worker that he believed it was canceled because not enough people signed up.  He called the manager down.  We never received any cancel notification.  We also learned that apparently someone else earlier that day had also not gotten word of its cancellation.  

But later we talked with the manager who drove down to meet us.  We were told that the reason the tour was canceled was that their English translator was in quarantine.  That's totally understandable, but why didn't they tell us?  She told us to leave, to please go away.  Having just rented a foreign car and driven 3 hours in a different country in heavy traffic just to see this place, I needed a little more information before just walking away.

She explained that she sent an email the week prior.  We explained that we never received any cancellation email, and we asked her to double check and forward it again, as the last information we had was that our tour was confirmed and we were good to arrive.  We gave her our names.  If there was a problem with their sign-up or email system, it was extremely important for me to know, if for no other reason than peace of mind that we did everything we could and simply missed an email due to some tech hiccups.

She implied that she couldn’t help us right now because she needed to take care of her child, who was still in the car.  Kind of outta' the blue there, but totally understandable.  I said:

“Please go take care of your child.  Kids are super important.”

 
We could wait.  After all, it took us 3 hours to get here, and this farm was the primary motivation for my travel, and there was nowhere else for us to go in such a small town on short notice.  All we had was time.  "Please take care of your kid."

But she kept talking and telling us to leave.  I double checked my emotions, my body language, my tone, my motivations.  We told her we really just wanted to see the cancellation email.  Something was obviously wrong, but we could wait, and perhaps come up with a solution.  If their system was perhaps broken, perhaps we could at least help figure out where, and help others avoid future communication problems.  But rather than going to take care of her kid, she kept talking.  So I asked if we could walk up the hill to the rest of the farm and tour on our own and leave.  

“It is impossible”



By impossible, what I think she really meant, is that visiting Krameterhof on our own, even though we had a confirmation for a tour, is too inconvenient for them financially, and it would be against their policy due to liability and privacy.  Krameterhof apparently gets lots of “fence jumpers” and trespassers, too.  Okay.  I explained that I’d happily sign any legal liability waiver, pay a fair cash price to tour on our own, avoid any homes, stay on the path, etc.  

“It is impossible”



I really hated hearing that again for two reasons.  One, “impossible” seems like the wrong word. Polyface for instance has an open door, 24/6 policy.  Respect the farmer’s home, but feel free to take a walk around the farm wherever and whenever you’d like to see how things are done.  So Polyface apparently does what is impossible for Krameterhof in offering their free self-guided tours.  Second, I always imagined Sepp Holzer's permaculture style to be that of a rebel farmer, where anything is possible.  You know, find a way to actually do it.  Make things happen.  Earth care; people care.  We're people, right?  Fight through the legal burden and cut through the red tape.  Do it for the world and for mankind, and for your own sense of personal honor!

Eventually she restated that it would take a while to go to the farm office to check email and resend.  How long?  We told her we would wait.  She left back up the hill.  We waited.  Unfortunately, Krameterhof doesn’t seem to have a farm store.  You can’t just show up during working hours and buy produce or food for a quick meal.  There was a German-speaking permaculture course going on, and some workers were preparing some tasty lunch for it, and even writing up the menu on a chaulk board...but nothing we were allowed to partake in.  I was really hoping someone would come by and make the offer, but didn't want to be a burden.  So we sat.

After about an hour, we talked with a different worker asking for some help and advice, and he was extremely kind for patiently listening to me while I struggled to hold my tears back.  He was very understanding, and re-iterated the trouble they've had with trespassers.  He also tried to get in touch with the manager’s phone to see if and when she was coming back.  No answer.  We kept waiting.  An hour had passed, and she eventually drove back, looked at us briefly, and drove on by without stopping to talk.  But I think she stopped and talked with that helpful worker at least.  The silent message was received.  Time to leave.  I wrote a note and left it on the picnic table.  We left beyond disappointed.  Took a couple photos and left.  What a let down.

I was really looking forward to just walking up and seeing the farm and ponds, tour or no tour. Maybe snap a few photos to share here on the forum.  I was also hoping to have Josef (or maybe even Sepp himself) sign my PADM, just like Joel Salatin once did.  I even brought along my permaculture playing cards and was going to try to get the King of Spades signed.  I also registered with the USDA to bring a few hundred “Sepp Holzer grains” semi-perennial rye grass to America.  This can be done via their APHIS "Small lots program".  I was hoping to share them with you all as a surprise, and write up a "how-to import seeds legally" post too!  But alas, impossible!  Honestly, I felt like an absolute joker for being so hopeful and thinking so highly of Krameterhof and permaculture professionals at large.  Remember: if you never put someone high up on a pedestal, they can never let you down.  

Hours later while grabbing lunch, we received an email from the manager saying she forgot to “officially register” us, hence the miscommunication.  Her fault, so sorry, here's a voucher for your trouble.  It was all an honest mistake.  Time to move on.  Move.  On.

So it all makes sense...I guess.

The day tour confirmation email she sent to us saying she looked forward to seeing us was just a mistake.  She simply forgot that she sent us that email, then forgot to immediately register us, then forgot to remind us it was cancelled.  If we were officially registered, someone would have replied that it was cancelled.  All the perceived inhospitality was because of all the trespassers, as well as cultural differences in the service industry.  The European way of service isn't the American fast food joint's way of service, you know?  Things are just a little slower and steadier.  And they were probably understaffed because of COVID, and the staff was focused on helping out the native speakers, so maybe they were a little stressed.  COVID rules change, translator got sick or had to quarantine.  It happens.  Language barriers.  And nobody checked the Krameterhof office email mid-morning, otherwise someone would have replied hours earlier to our “we’re going to be a little late!” email with an “I’m so sorry, your tour was canceled last week because COVID-19 quarantine for one of our workers!  Didn’t you receive a notification?  Please don't come!”  They thought they already sent the email.  And the manager would have stopped by to give us a quick 30 second update on all of this after we waited over an hour but simply didn't because, because...kid stuff probably.  Maybe she hadn't checked the email yet.  Needed another couple hours to figure it all out and get permission from the Chief to send a voucher.  There just aren't enough office workers and guides there to answer emails, man a telephone, relay an update, process payments, draft or hand out a map with a tour route / safety concerns and legal waiver, etc.  I can choose to give people the benefit of the doubt, and not be a joker:

Krameterhof is an honest and successful world-famous permaculture farm which is probably quite understaffed right now.  They probably make a ton of food, but just don’t have a farm store open to the public right now because they are in the middle of nowhere, so not much demand.  They cannot handle the volume of people who would love to casually visit and walk around, or ask questions via telephone, likely because of short staffing.  Otherwise they would have provided us a tour, or communicated with us promptly.  They have routine problems with trespassers, and are rightfully very concerned with safety, litigation, and privacy.  Everyone there is super busy, and they just made an honest mistake with our visit.

 
George Yacus
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Some Krameterhof buildings with my design observations:

Structure 1 Larger meeting room.
  • Beautiful timber framing
  • Fun habitat for pollinators
  • Sturdy flat stone in front of doorway
  • Big nails or spikes above and to the right of the door for hanging something?
  • Coat-rack tree?
  • "Baüern Barometer" what is this builders barometer twiggy thing?
  • Black board on the right?
  • Any purpose to the stack of stone/bricks by doorway?


  • Structure 2  Used for cooking, it seemed.
  • Gorgeous windows with southern exposure
  • Vertical board and batten siding
  • More sturdy large flat stones at entrance
  • Roofing shakes; extra long overhang at ridge eave
  • Rolly carts
  • Blackboard outside for writing menu
  • Fun brass dinner bell?  Mounted up high so sound propagates at a longer distance?


  • Structure 3 Earth sheltered...awesome cellar or something?
  • Beautiful stone/brick mortared between crossed square beams
  • Cantilever exterior beam shelving or seat spots?
  • Cantilever exterior stone shelving?
  • Interior cantilevered beams for...shelving?
  • Three pretty horizontal copper pipes inside, two navigating over a vented pipe for...cooling?
  • Ventilation pipe sticking above and to the right?
  • Gravel interior?
  • Belgium block looking foundation at edges
  • Rocks weighing down edges of a waterproof roof membrane?
  • Wooden structural sides angle about 60*?


  • Structure 4 Earth sheltered... shrug?
  • Beautiful stone siding
  • Multiple "rooms" or at least doors on the earth sheltered shrug
  • Trees on the roof
  • Greenhouses on the roof
  • Solar drying shrug bottom left and far right?
  • Beautiful round-wood tower thing on its side in front of it
  • Lots of gravel everywhere


  • Gate
  • Reinforced with metal
  • Wood slab spacing to prevent trespassers' feet from climbing over it
  • Lockable drop boxy thing
  • Fun logo
  • Clear font
  • Krameterhof-Structure-1.jpg
    [Thumbnail for Krameterhof-Structure-1.jpg]
    Krameterhof-Structure-2.jpg
    [Thumbnail for Krameterhof-Structure-2.jpg]
    Krameterhof-Structure-3.jpg
    [Thumbnail for Krameterhof-Structure-3.jpg]
    Krameterhof-Structure-4.jpg
    [Thumbnail for Krameterhof-Structure-4.jpg]
    Krameterhof-Surrounding-Mountains.jpg
    [Thumbnail for Krameterhof-Surrounding-Mountains.jpg]
    Krameterhof-Gate.jpg
    [Thumbnail for Krameterhof-Gate.jpg]
     
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    Hi George, sorry about what happened to you that day, but I appreciate that you honestly share your experience and still have a positive take on it. I was doing research about the Sepp Holzer methods and stumbled on this post. I have a permaculture project in South of France in the Pyrenees at 1000m high, including planting a fruit forest, creating a pond, a permaculture garden. I would really love to learn at Krameterhof, and think that experience could help me a lot. So if your voucher is still available and you are ok share it I am definitely interested.
     
    George Yacus
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    Yann Jouan wrote:Hi George, sorry about what happened to you that day, but I appreciate that you honestly share your experience and still have a positive take on it. I was doing research about the Sepp Holzer methods and stumbled on this post. I have a permaculture project in South of France in the Pyrenees at 1000m high, including planting a fruit forest, creating a pond, a permaculture garden. I would really love to learn at Krameterhof, and think that experience could help me a lot. So if your voucher is still available and you are ok share it I am definitely interested.



    Sounds like a perfect fit!  

    I'll send you a link to the ticket(s) voucher via PM shortly.  Let me know after you've downloaded the PDF.

    I have one small request: If you would, after you visit Krameterhof, please consider coming back here to the forum, and perhaps share some photos of the beautiful things you see, and write a couple paragraphs on some of the new things you learn.  Thank you in advance!

     
    Yann Jouan
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    I downloaded the pdf thank you, that's such a beautiful gift ! feel really grateful and will make good use of it. I will certainly share my visit and what I learned on this forum after my stay at Krameterhof.
     
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    Has anyone heard if Sepp still has his liberty in Austria?  I am concerned.  Thank you!
     
    pollinator
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    Austria has a Lockdown (you can only leave you home for work & grocery shopping) and wants to introduce mandatory vaccination for the whole population starting February 1st 2022.
     
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