ARCHE NOAH - Preserving and Developing the Diversity
of Cultural Plants
Biodiversity – a Source of Life for us and Future Generations
For more than 20 years ARCHE NOAH and its 10.000 members have been preserving and cultivating endangered vegetable, fruit and grain diversity. We successfully work on bringing traditional and rare varieties into gardens and on the market again. Let’s work together for a new vision of diversity!
If you are interested in information about heirloom varieties, if you are looking for seeds or plants, or the exchange with like-minded people, you are at the right place. We are looking forward to getting into contact.
Please support the ARCHE NOAH project by your membership, your donation or your active contribution! Thank you!
Click HERE to read the page with Estonian translation
About ARCHE NOAH
ARCHE NOAH was established in 1990 on the initiative of heirloom - gardeners, farmers and journalists, concerned with the future of seeds and heirloom varieties.
For over 100 years the diversity of our cultural plants has dramatically decreased all over the globe, due to the industrialisation of agriculture – more than 75% are already lost.
Today, genetic engeneering and various seed-monopolies, climate change and wars are threatening this precious heritage.
ARCHE NOAH responds to the loss of agro-biodiversity with a positive vision and numerous activities. All of us can contribute to more diversity through cultivation of threatened varieties in your garden, through shopping awareness and political commitment.
This attitude connects more than 8.000 members involved with ARCHE NOAH today – it´s not a question of having a garden or not. It is a vision of a respectful care about nature as our number one provider. It is to look at our cultural plants respectfully, to value gardening and farming as a cultural achievement, to consider ethically motivated consume as a contribution to organic and sustainable agriculture, to make cooking a declaration of love…
Let´s share this vision!
Celebrate biodiversity – meet friends – come again!
ARCHE NOAH’s garden is located in the famous valley of the River Kamp not far from the City of Krems/Donau, in a small town called Schiltern.
Through the beautiful wrought-iron gate you enter a formal baroque garden - today home to hundreds of rare cultural plants grown organically.
There is something for everyone at ARCHE NOAH´s Garden – for gardeners, farmers, shoppers, children and those simply looking for a relaxing day out. Over the season you can always find something new to explore in the Garden – either by yourselve or on a guided tour. More than 30.000 visitors yearly are attracted by the beautiful garden with it´s huge diversity shown.
Our shop offers a broad selection of rare & organic seeds, plants and books and refined rare products. In the baroque garden pavilion the garden library invites you to stay a while and read more about this treasure of plants.
During weekends and public holidays you can participate in guided tours – but you can also make a special arrangement for groups. Once a month and during our garden-events there is also a special program for kids.
Opening hours: From mid-April to mid-October every day except Mondays.
Please phone +43-(0)2734-8626 for more information about opening hours, prices and events. Free entrance for ARCHE NOAH members and children up to 14 years!
Rare seeds & plants of organic quality are obtainable at the ARCHE NOAH shop in the visitor´s garden in Schiltern, but you can also make a mail-order or meet us directly at one of our plant-markets. Please contact our office for more and detailed information. More informations in German...
The ARCHE NOAH Seeds-Handbook is an annual inventory of all varieties provided by the ARCHE NOAH members and the ARCHE NOAH seed bank – containing thousands of rare vegetables, fruits, crops and berries. For members the Handbook and also the use of the online - data bank is free. With the Seeds-Handbook, the breeding material can be obtained directly by mail-order - in small, homegrown quantities. More informations in German...
Advice-service: ARCHE NOAH supports its members in the choice of special varieties, answers technical questions concerning seed-breeding und preservation of rare varieties, and provides useful addresses. You can reach us on the phone (T: +43-(0)2734-8626) from Tuesdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesdays to Fridays from 8a.m. to 12p.m.
Our fruits and berry experts carry out the identification of fruit-tree-varieties: By sending 5 typical fruits of the same variety together with the filled in form (available at the ARCHE NOAH office or from www.arche-noah.at) you get the results of the identification by mail, in return for an expense allowance of EUR 4.- (EUR 2.- from three varieties onwards).
For other institutions or communities we organize workshops for the identification of fruit-tree-varieties.
The ARCHE NOAH Seed Bank is one of Europe’s biggest private collections of cultural plants, maintaining over 6.000 accessions of rare vegetables and grains – many of them are not to be found in any other places any more.
The breeding, description und research on these plants is carried out in a special (organic!) breeding garden.
There are also huge collections of fruits and berries, which are partly kept in the visitor´s garden, but most of them have been “adopted” by members and are preserved in different private orchards.
The maintainance of more than 200 rare potato varieties is really hard work – all the varieties have to be planted and harvested every single year. Organic farmers from the “Waldviertel”-region assist in fulfilling this task.
Special requests to the seed bank: The ARCHE NOAH Seed Bank answers to requests for experimental and comparative purposes by providing seeds from the archive at an expense allowance, depending on the amount of seeds available.
If you want to get an impression on the diversity of accessions maintained by the seed bank, have a look at the vegetable data bases and the fruit descriptions, at our brochure „Bluza, Köch und Umgurken“ about traditional Austrian vegetable varieties, at the yearly Seed Handbook or at our book about rare berries “Osterfee und Amazone” (all available at the ARCHE NOAH office).
Hundreds of members of ARCHE NOAH act as private “seed savers” by cultivating endangered varieties in their home gardens and taking permanent care of them. They provide seeds to other seed savers, and study and develop their varieties carefully.
Seeds are exchanged by means if the Seeds-Handbook - just like in former times exchanging across the garden fence. Every year there are meetings and seed swaps where the ARCHE NOAH seed savers can meet each other personally.
Austrian local varieties are back in our gardens: Joining the ARCHE NOAH project “6 for 100”, more than 80 gardeners and farmers all over Austria “adopted” local varieties from the ARCHE NOAH Seed Bank. Within 3 years, all varieties are to find new homes with 6 cultivators at a time.
Farmers for diversity: ARCHE NOAH cooperates with organic farmers to bring back diversity to agriculture and on our markets. Important partners are also Bio Austria, the Austrian Organic Farmers network, and the Slow Food movement. You can find a list of organic farmers (direct suppliers) offering products made out of old varieties on our homepage www.arche-noah.at.
ARCHE NOAH is working together with organic tree nurseries, market gardens and plant breeders. The cooperation with other institutions goes far beyond the Austrian border. ARCHE NOAH is member of the Interessensgemeinschaft für gentechnikfreie Saatgutarbeit, Bio Austria, Agrarbündnis Österreich, Ökobüro, Arge Streuobst, Network of Austrian Botanical Gardens, Verein Kamptalgärten, „The Gardens of Lower Austria“ und partner of „Aktion Natur im Garten“. links
Meet friends, enjoy diversity, recreate in the garden and travel home with new ideas…
The ARCHE NOAH events attract more than 30.000 visitors every year from all over Austria and from abroad. There is always a special attraction for families and kids.
Springtime is traditionally dedicated to the plant markets, where young plants and seeds of vegetables, fruits and berries can be bought or swaped. Apart from the famous plant market on May 1st in Schiltern there are many more possibilities of supplying your own garden with rare plants from our local markets.
The festivities of summer and autumn celebrate the diversity of cultural plants, embedded in a garden full of fruits. They offer recovery for the soul as well as inspiration for your garden and your kitchen. From advice on plants to the identification of fruit varieties... there is always room for knowledge transfer and the exchange of personal experiences.
Our traditional events in the ARCHE NOAH visitors garden in Schiltern:
* The famous ARCHE NOAH’s plant market – every year on May 1st
* “Gartenkirtag” - mid-May “Ein Gartenfest der Vielfalt” – end of August
* “Raritätenherbst” - mid-October
Ask for our yearly events-calender containing informations on all ARCHE NOAH events (published in January) at the ARCHE NOAH office or have a look at www.arche-noah.at.
ARCHE NOAH is gladly sharing its knowledge with people committed to diversity of cultural plants. The exchange of experiences is one of the most important principles of our teaching.
The educational calendar is available at the ARCHE NOAH office or from our homepage www.arche-noah.at. It includes the following offers:
One years classes: ARCHE NOAH is training seed-gardeners and cooperating with the “LFI” in courses for farmers about rare vegetables, their cultivation and marketing. By now there are more than 180 graduates. Details in German...
If you don´t want to spend a year´s time, there are also day seminars and lectures (at different places), as well as the guided tours and short lectures in the ARCHE NOAH visitors garden. Courses about fruit-tree-cutting and refining are taking place in winter and summer in lower Austria and Vienna.
There is an extensive program for schools and kindergardens called “Diversity makes a difference”. Even small children can learn about the value of the diversity of plants in a playful manner which is, apart from having fun, the purpose of our kids-program (“Sprösslingsprogramm”). Details in German...
There are numerous publications by ARCHE NOAH, like the pricewinner “Handbook for Seed Gardeners” (more than 18.000 books sold). You can explore useful fruits- und vegetables databases on our homepage www.arche-noah.at - as well as more than 200 descriptions of rare fruit trees.
1. Make your own garden a shelter for rare fruits and vegetables.
2. What varieties are you cooking with? Train your senses. Invite your friends and family for dinner and make them enthusiastic for rare varieties - the way to a wo/man´s heart is through her/his stomach.
3. Whenever possible, buy your food directly at the farmer´s or at a farmers market. Give a priority to organic products and seasonable, regional products.
4. Ask for food produced from rare cultural plants and breeds that are not the result of industrial production processes, but are manufactured by food-artisans.
5. Also in the restaurant, ask where the used vegetables and other products come from.
6. Get into seed growing - for example with a bean variety. Carry on with the almost forgotten knowledge. Accompany your plants during its whole lifecycle of your - from seed to seed.
7. Pass on seeds and plants to your neighbours and friends- to promote the spreading of endangered varieties.
8. If there are children around, teach them how to treat plants, animals (and humans!) kindly.
9. Vote for politicians that stand for sustainable agriculture free of GMOs.
10. If you want to join a bigger group of likeminded people, become a member of ARCHE NOAH, or, with a donation, a promoter of diversity!
With your membership fee or a permanent donation, you contribute substancially to the conservation, research and spreading of cultural plant diversity.
With your financial or practical support (by cultivating forgotten plants in your garden) you can contribute crucially to the survival of threatened varieties.
Besides meeting nice people, enjoying great events and having just a good feeling there are many advantages for ARCHE NOAH members or donators:
* Reduction on events and seminars
* Free entry in the ARCHE NOAH visitors garden
* Free use of the seed-data bank on www.arche-noah.at; at request you get the printed annual “Handbook of seeds” for free, reduced seeds prices.
* the informative ARCHE NOAH magazine three times a year
* 10% discount on your purchase of ARCHE NOAH plants (excl. fruit trees)
* Family membership: for EUR 2.- more in a year all your children (3-14 years) can participate in our “Sprösslingsprogramm” for free
Help Keeping Diversity Alive – Join in and Become A Part of ARCHE NOAH!
ARCHE NOAH – THE AUSTRIAN SEED SAVERS ASSOCIATION
Obere Strasse 40