Gela Ochsenherz

Environmental sustainability; Employment

Ochsenherz is a collaboratively run Demeter farm in Lower Austria. It was founded in 2002, initially based on rented land and generating income through farm-gate and market sales. Out of the necessity to reach economic sustainability, the farm changed to a Community supported agriculture model in 2010/11. The employees and a group of around 300 consumers (""harvest-sharers"") founded an association which works together with the farm enterprise by an agreement. According to this agreement, the consumers finance the operation of the farm enterprise and support it also in other ways (voluntary work etc.). The weekly harvest is distributed to the consumers. Employing this form of associative economic activity, it was possible to detach the farm from the constraints of the profit-driven market and to withstand risks of weather and markets with a very diverse and labour-intensive form of agriculture. There is no price for single products, the members get their share of the harvest and can meet their requirements for vegetables in free weekly take outs. So the role of producer and consumer merge into one another as consumers may also help in production and distribution. The farm cultivates an area of about 4 hectares throughout the year with about 80 kinds of vegetables, herbs and soft fruits. Almost exclusively saved seed is used. Besides the seed and young plants are marketed.

Networking; Production of goods; Marketing & Promotion
Staff members Gärtnerhof Ochsenherz; around 300 consumers ("harvest-sharers")

Viability of the farm holding, job creation, more resilience because of crop-diversity, extension of social networks and contacts

* Information at the level of NUTS 3 or local regions.