Living Lab 5: Germany
Managed by: Hof Lebensberg Farm
The German living lab, Hof Lebensberg, is located near Obermoschel in the federal state of Rehinland-Pfalz. It is located in the hilly mountainous region of the Northern Palatinate Mountains. The area is characterized by sandstone and topography of volcanic origin from the Donnersberg volcanic mountain nearby.
The motivation of the farmers is to create a resilient, diverse functioning ecosystem through syntropic regenerative agriculture. The active area of farming is approximately 28 ha and has two plots of agroforestry systems (plot_A and plot_B), three greenhouses, a vegetable garden and a Rye growing area where a mobile chicken coop is placed. The farmers plan to expand their activities by growing pumpkins and rearing cattle.
The soil had lost its fertility due to erosion and years of monocropping. Therefore, the farmers have adopted soil regeneration through green manure (clover and others), terra preta.
It also explains the high density of trees planted in each row. Especially the fast-growing trees are planted to grow as much biomass as possible for the system. Once the tree size is big enough to affect the growth of the main tree species sensibly, the farmer says they will be cut, chipped and added to the soil.
General farming approach
Regenerative agroforestry system; bio-intensive vegetable production; plow less farming
The farmers operate a delivery service of community-supported agriculture (CSA) boxes. CSA boxes contain vegetables, fruit, eggs, bread, cheese, milk, meat, and many other regional products.
- Labor and regenerating soil fertility
The lab aims to estimate the costs and benefits involved in developing a sustainable and fertile agroforestry system, which, we expect, may become in the medium- to long-term into a very productive agro-ecosystem that minimizes inputs thanks to the achievement of synergies between human management and nature´s cycles.
The farmers hope to develop a system that serves as a model for others to develop their farms, hence increasing local and regional capacities to supply internal demands and provide opportunities for decent jobs while contributing to regional and national climate change adaptation and global climate change mitigation.
Design of the agroforestry system
This system is divided into two parts, a 7.53ha nut based alley cropping system and a 10ha fruit based alley cropping system. Within the cultivated rows a wide variety of vegetables and grains as well as potatoes are grown with further diversification of crops planned. A mobile chicken coup has also been integrated into the system with further farm animal synergies planned.
Biodiversity and tree height monitoring through a Citizen Science project is being carried out since May 2023 with the collaboration of the Agroforest Monitoring project