The Construction of a "Barn for Everything"

In January 2019, the old hay barn at Helenenhof, which had stood for over 150 years, collapsed under the weight of a thick layer of snow on the roof.

This event could have been seen as a misfortune, but we decided to see it as an opportunity to redesign and reconstruct this building into an upgraded form, one which fulfills our current space requirements, namely:

-appropriate rooms for winter storage of vegetables,

-an industrial kitchen for canning and other food preservation operations,

-a large communal space for AUI events, seminars, courses, etc.

In order to meet these needs, the new barn would have to be heated and insulated, and equipped with plumbing and electricity, none of which was the case with the old one. And, of course we would require a building permit to erect a building with these modern ammenities.

With the help of Kisslegger architect Franz Kussauer, plans were drawn up for the new building, and a building proposal was submitted... and approved!

The plans include:

(Click images to view the plans in full size)

A cool, humid cellar for long-term storage of root vegetables such as carrots, beetroot, celery root and jerusalem artichokes. 

A cool, dry cellar for storing onions, garlic, pumpkins and sweet potatoes. 

Here is also where fermenting pots will be stored during the fermentation process. And then after the fermented products are transferred into glass, the jars of sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented vegetables will likewise be stored here, along with all the other jars and bottles of preserved food.

Cellar 1

The Kitchen

Cellar 2

This is where various garden preserves such as pestos, spreads, sauces, chutneys, pickled vegetables, jams and other fruit preserves  will be prepared/cooked and sealed in jars. 

This will also be right place for short-term storage of other vegetables, such as cucumbers, cabbages, spinach, broccoli and all types of lettuces. 

Here is also where fruits, vegetables and herbs will be processed for fermenting or drying, and where glass balloons of apple cider will be stored while fermenting into vinegar.

What's happening at Helenenhof?

The Community Room

...and concerts!

A space big enough for large group events, such as courses on Sun Hive construction...

The Attic

A warm and well-ventilated room in which we will dry and store herbs for cooking, tea and healing.

Here is also where we will store our harvested grains, including many varieties of wheat, spelt, oats, corn and rye, along with the straw from the especially tall "Lichtkorn" rye, which is used to weave Sun Hive baskets.

Sheltered Outdoor Areas

Under the overhanging roof on the east side of the house will be a stable for sheep.

And on the west side, a suitable area for washing veggies.

This building will revolutionise our activities here at the Helenenhof, opening the doors to a new level of possibilities in regards to not only the quantity of harvested goods that we can store and process, but also the quality of those goods and the efficiency of our processing methods. Additionally, we will have the space to host larger food preservation action events, so that more of you can come to learn hands-on how we can take command of our own food security!

We are now raising money to pay for the building.

The total cost of construction and furnishing the new barn is estimated to be around € 300,000

We will be launching a crowd-funding campaign to help raise funds, but we are already looking for donors, both individuals and organisations, who want to contribute to the project. No gift is too small or too big! Learn more about how you can donate here, or contact us to talk about how you or your organisation can chip in.

We'll see you at the barn-warming party!