Today's picks

    The eco-village with its own money

    Here, the 850 inhabitants have achieved what politicians and scientists dream of: their village is completely ecological and self-sufficient. They produce their own energy, buy food from the immediate area and even have their own currency. BamS took a look around the eco-village.First stop: Dairy farmer Heinz Schuster. He greets us in jeans and rubber boots, speaks a mixture of Swabian and Bavarian, the dialect of the region. At his farm he farms 60 cows. It smells like dung and fresh hay. The farmer markets the milk in the village shop.”But even big buyers like Hochland buy my milk. An official organic seal does not have my farm, because that costs a lot of money. My village customers already know that the cows are doing very well here and they are eating algae grass, “he says. Directly next to the cowshed is the biogas plant. And that’s the difference to many other farmers: “With this plant, we provide our farm with energy and warmth,” says Schuster. And thanks to the manure of the cows, which is processed in the plant to energy. This can even be mitbeheizt an adjacent company.Two kilometers further on is the company of Joseph Kugelmann. On the way there: the hills of the Allgäu, on the horizon the Alps. Kugelmann is a local celebrity. All World Cup stadiums from 2006 were equipped with its lawnmowers. Inside the company runs a modern production, which is highly ecological. Kugelmann has all of its machines painted with pollutant-free paints. The production hall is illuminated with LED light and there are solar panels on the roof.He leads through his halls in jeans and a T-shirt, just like Bauer Schuster, he is passionate about sustainability and environmental awareness, the village’s most important theme: “Green electricity should be a must for everyone. But politics has so many guidelines for subsidizing solar systems. For example, you have to take out an expensive liability insurance for solar systems, this is not the case with nuclear power. That’s an absurdity! “We leave the company and travel together with Mayor Reiner Friedl (CSU) to the community center five kilometers away. Friedl personally visits every villager on his birthday, greets everyone on the street with a handshake, and spends the evenings at local council meetings. And: He is an ecologically conscious businessman, talks long about the “electricity lobby”, what the Greens would have to do better and the early purchase of his new electric car.He leads us through the village to the “soft mountain market” – the only supermarket. It was built of wood from the adjacent forests and mainly offers food from the immediate area. The goods are fresh, the transport routes short. We buy the typical Allgäu cheese and honey from beekeepers Andreas and Carola Schneider, who live in the village. And pay with the Weichbergtaler, the Rettenbacher currency!
    The coin is a kind of symbol of independence for the villagers – and the purchasing power remains above all in the region.
     Incidentally, this form of regional currency is permitted in Germany: from Chiemgau to Holstein, 46 regions are already trading their own money to boost local trade. It is evening. In the tavern, the “ski hut”, the village meets at the regulars’ table for wheat beer and pretzels. Reiner Friedl looks out the window, directly at the mountains. He says: “I wish for the future that we become more aware of the wonderful environment in which we live. We have paradise on the doorstep and should be happy with it. “