A clatter of dishes heralds lunch. Steam rises from the freshly-cooked meal on the table and the farm community gathers in their communal rooms for the daily mid-day meal. Along with the people come the smells of beetroot and new hay but also vitality, diversity and motivation.
The biodynamic community farm of Heggelbach in the beautiful Lake Constance region in South Germany is run communally by six families. Since 1986 everyone here has worked, planned and reflected together, developing and growing with each other. People living on the farm have assimilated the guiding principles that life and work can be combined in one place. This idea is supported by the business awareness which is needed to run a profitable farm. Everyone is involved in making the different parts of the farm with all their diversity sustainable and commercially viable.
The farm community cultivates around 180 hectares. The agricultural basis comprises grass-clover ley (27 ha), cereals (30 ha), vegetables (25 ha), ware potatoes (12 ha) and pasture for the herd of cows. Around 50 cows supply milk for making into a range of soft and hard cheeses in the farm's own cheese dairy. The whey from the cheesemaking is recycled by the 240 fattening pigs, meaning improved cycles with the cheese dairy and the cows. The farm is also investing in renewable energies with its own agrophotovoltaic system (APV) and a wood gasifier plant.
Community development is a social process influenced by the diversity of the individual people. When everyone is prepared to consciously and jointly bear responsibility for the farm and also for the social process, then the farm's growth has a special character. In the Heggelbach farm community the farm managers apply all their creative energy and devote their attention to developing and taking responsibility for their own area, while at the same time keeping an overview and awareness of the whole farm. Over the course of time this has led to the development of a very diverse farm with a great variety of areas which are all being constantly developed. For example, Florian Reyer's freshly harvested beetroot is delivered to Jona Kreis for processing where it is sorted and the individual marketable beetroots sold fresh or stored. The remaining beetroots are given to the "cooked beetroot" department run by Olivia Schmid. They are cooked and vacuum packed along with beetroot from other biodynamic farms and sold to the wholesalers and retailers Bodan, Feneberg and Edeka. All production wastes are fed to the farm's fattening pigs. The pig manure is then composted and spread on the fields. So cycles can be closed thanks to the community.
The farm managers are convinced that their community cooperation is the basis for the constant further development of the farm, which is therefore more resilient in the face of change.
Further information and contact: https://hofgemeinschaft-heggelbach.de/