“For me, being an organic farmer also means taking responsibility –
not only ecologically, but also historically and socially!”
Visiting our partner farmer Hilarius Häußler in Gallenbach/Taufkirchen. The small community of Taufkirchen is located in a very attractive pre-Alp landscape between the rivers Inn and Alz.
Tafernwirtschaft since 1696 (!)
with a herb garden, herb hut, guest garden, donkey, beekeeping and organic farm: Gallenbach is all of this and it is precisely this diversity that makes the property so appealing and charming. Bavarian down-to-earthness and a sense of tradition are fruitfully combined here with ecological and cultural awareness and commitment, as we often find in many younger generation organic farmers.
Gallenbach is prominently located on the outskirts of Taufkirchen.
The old, mighty windmill no longer has to pump water out of the courtyard well, but serves as a landmark for the courtyard and the economy. An authentic place , which is probably why director Christian Lerch shot scenes from his film “Was weg is, is weg” here.
“D'Wirtin und da Bauer” is the headline on Gallenbach's website , which is well worth seeing and seems to indicate a clear division of tasks between Claudia (d'Wirtin) and Hilarius (da Bauer) . Not quite, because when we arrive in Gallenbach, we first have to "free" Hilarius from kitchen duty - a large company is expected for lunch, there is a lot of activity with pans and pots and so the farmer was immediately obliged by his wife to help out.
Hilarius grows oats and spelt for Barnhouse and is a part-time organic farmer.
“Because I'm actually a social worker. A job that I now do part-time!” he reveals with a smile and explains that he oversees a housing project for people with mental disabilities.
In 2007 he and his wife Claudia took over the farm and business from their parents-in-law, and in 2011 the farm was converted to organic. Certainly not an easy exercise for a social worker, but Hilarius exudes the level-headedness, energy and determination required for this path. A real autodidact of organic farming. And once again we are filled with amazement and respect - for this profession, which is so important for all of us, and for those who practice it.
“Hilarius, what does it actually mean to you to be an organic farmer?”,
we want to know from him. Hilarius thinks for a moment. “For me, being an organic farmer not only means not putting poison on the fields, but is a holistic way of life. You take on responsibility for a generation for a place that has been entrusted to you, across the board – ecologically, historically and socially. You are an organic farmer in all areas of life, that is important to me!”
In 2014, Claudia and Hilarius proved how important this is to them,
when they erected a memorial stone for the Nazi victim Stefan Duda at the edge of the forest near Gallenbach without any financial support from the municipality. Duda was a Polish forced laborer who was publicly executed here for his relationship with a farmer's daughter. “We have dealt very intensively with the history of Gallenbach and tried to work through dark chapters in the history of the court. With the handover in 2007, we not only got fields and farms, but we also took on the historical and social responsibility for an old settlement.”
Of course we would like to take him to see the fields where the Barnhouse crops grow. Because the oat field is a short walk away, we limit ourselves to the spelled field, which is right next door. The stalks are lush green and stand a good deal taller than the oats, as this old type of grain was sown in the autumn of last year. In general, old types of grain and cultivated plants are Hilarius' hobbies and passion. In addition to spelled, emmer and einkorn grow, but also buckwheat, a so-called “pseudo-grain” whose high-quality ingredients are just being rediscovered.
In his remarks, Hilarius makes it clear to us again how enormously important the quality of the arable land is. Damaged soils, which are the order of the day in conventional arable farming, often take years or even decades to recover. Some damage is even irreversible. For example, the so-called compaction is a big problem. Here, the arable soil is often irreversibly damaged by the use of machines that are too heavy, humus loss and reduced soil life due to narrow crop rotations and sprays.
We return to the farm, where some donkeys follow our arrival attentively.
"We don't keep livestock here, but I think that animals also belong on a farm," Hilarius explains to us while lovingly scratching them. Of course, we are also interested in the herb garden, on the fence of which the honeycomb frames of the court bees that are not in use hang. Here in the region, Hilarius enjoys the reputation of a competent herbalist and also offers corresponding courses.
In the herb garden, Hilarius pulls leaves from the plants. We try it curiously and are surprised by the fine aromas. He also masters the art of traditional smoking and is happy to pass on his knowledge to interested parties. He proudly leads us into his herb hut. We are fascinated and sniff out a wide variety of scents that emanate from the countless bundles hanging from the ceiling.
We would like to learn more about the effects of the many herbs whose names we had never heard before, but unfortunately time is pressing and we have to leave.
Gallenbach's "D'Wirtin und da Bauer" offer a colorful program of culture and events all year round: bread and flat cake baking, cooking over an open fire, ancient grain days, lectures, concerts, readings and much more. Big organic breakfast every 1st Sunday. All information is available on the homepage or Facebook .