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Started in 2008 under the name „black oat project“
Project Content and Intention
Of the 14.000 hectares where cereals were originally cultivated in Tyrol, there are just 4,3 % – 604 hectares – left. Approximately one quarter of the grain is cultivated for bread and bakery products; the rest is used as fodder grain. Over all, most of the cereals used and processed in Tyrol are currently being imported.
Because of this development the regional food security, the preservation of local varieties and moreover the cultural heritage and know-how linked to these is threatened. Furthermore ground-breeding birds suffer from declining nesting sites and the lack of food supply. The project „Native Tyrolean Cereal Varieties“ is aiming to develop solutions in order to cope with this trend:
Our strategy is to build bridges between the tasks of nature conservation, promotion of local varieties, promotion of sustainable farming practices and the development of real economic prospects connected to these – e.g. the marketing of organic high-quality products.
In the last few years some organic farmers are successfully helping the species Obernberger black oat making a comeback in the Wipptal valley. This native variety has a great tradition. In ancient times it was grown in huge amounts to provide fodder for the traditionally horse driven trade over the Brenner pass.
The project also aims to help other native cereal varieties to make their revival: for example the winter-spelt species Tiroler Kolbendinkel, the barley Sechszeilige Pumpergerste, a kind of wheat Tiroler Früher Binkel, a rye variety Tiroler Sommerroggen and a special millet Tiroler Rispenhirse. All of these are locally adopted species, that have long tradition in this region.
One of our most important objectives is producing high quality cereal products, which are marketable on the basis of sustainable traditional agriculture and nature conservation. Farmers and consumers benefit of the synergies. The impressive demand for the product „Bio vom Berg“ Tyrolean Organic Oat Flakes is a shining example.
The Tyrolean Ombudsman Bureau makes efforts to attract further farmers to participate at the project. Interested Tyrolean organic farmers are invited to contact the project coordinator Stefanie Suchy (contact data see above).
„Cultivation Report“ 2015
With the participation of 18 organic farmers, native cereal species have been cultivated on a total area of 4 ha. Half of the farmers got the seeds from the Tyrolean gene bank, the other half had their own seeds. While most of our participants as usual did relie on the Obernberger black oat, all of the project-varieties were cultivated.
The majority of the farmers cultivated the cereal species for their own use as fodder grain or for bread baking. Four farmers supplied Bioalpin (brand „Bio vom Berg“) with Obernberger black oat, and two farmers sold their harvest to the distillery Kostenzer.
Prospects for 2016/2017
On the 3rd of march 2016 Tyrolean organic farmers for the second time had a general project meeting in the city of Innsbruck. New committed organic farmers have become interested in our project and have decided to participate this year.
As a highlight, a „on the grain field workshop“ will be held for the first time this late summer, where ample knowledge about manual harvesting practices will be made available.
Also, after then having matured three years in a robinia barrel, the very first Obernberger black oat whisky will be available in 2017.