Alexandra Battlogg, with her organic farm, promotes sustainable management
“The Montafon is a paradise for anyone who seeks out nature”, says Alexandra Battlogg. She helps make sure that it will be like this for a long time to come on the Biohof Gavadura in St. Anton. She is also delighted about the ever increasing number of like-minded people.
Gavadura is one of the "official" organic farms in the Montafon. "Even though the bureaucratic hurdles are sometimes a bit high," conventional livestock keeping is now out of the question for the Battloggs. "Sustainable business is the only true path for us." Only through careful management of nature can they be obtained. An attitude that will now be shared by the majority of farmers in the valley.
For a long time Gavadura was run as a dairy farm. The decision to go organic was made 20 years ago when Alexandra Battlogg and her husband Herbert took over the farm. The barn was already over 100 years old "and in correspondingly poor condition". Working as a part-time farmer was more and more difficult and the space for the animals was too small. Eventually, it was down to: “Quit or invest." The result of the deliberations was a new barn, which was completed in 2011.
Consciously Montafon (bewusstmontafon)
From the beginning, the Battloggs have relied on original Montafon Brown Swiss. Ten heifers reside on the farm along with 500 hens. Whatever nature offers on the farm in terms of primary products is refined on Gavadura. The range of products ranges from eggs and meat to multiple-award-winning brandy and spirits, through to syrup, marmalade and pasta. Everything is carefully labelled and packaged – a very nice way to show respect and appreciation towards nature. "Consciously Montafon" is more than just a slogan for the Battloggs. So that the entire operation can function, the whole extended family is put to work. “It’s certainly a great help that my husband, as a forest ranger, can allocate his time with reasonable flexibility." For those who want to get an idea on the spot: Visitors are always welcome at the farm.
Power of networking
It pleases the Battloggs greatly to know "that we are not alone in our thoughts." Both amongst the population and in restaurants, products from the valley are held in high esteem. “People are again paying more attention to their own roots. This is a very important signal for us." The farmers have also found common ground amongst themselves on this issue. "Many realise that you can achieve more together. Collaboration also brings with it great cohesion, giving us extra motivation."
Alexandra Battlogg is a Montafoner through and through. Therefore, it is also important to her that "we consciously grow in the valley. This includes tourism and agriculture wisely complementing each other and sensibly bringing sometimes conflicting interests under the same roof."
When she tells people from outside the valley about the Montafon, Alexandra Battlogg talks about the beauty of the landscape, the down-to-earth nature of the people, and of "tradition in the good sense of the word." To retain authentic values, Alexandra Battlogg is fighting not just as a farmer. One major concern of hers is also "our beautiful, elaborate and precious native costumes". On certain occasions it is important to wear native costumes. "This is nothing stuffy, quite the opposite. We know where we come from and build on that." As a "proud Montafoner”, she has a need to show and exemplify this, especially to her three children.