“Homegrown – There’s nothing like a homegarden!” Agro-biodiversity in farmers’ homegardens

We are pleased to participate again in the Sparkling Science research programme of the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy to foster the promotion of young scientists education.

Press & Media

Our project is covered by the local media in the district of Lienz. All these reports are in german language. If you want to have a look please visit or German Project Web Page.

Under the guidance of the film maker Peter Werlberger, the pupils provided ideas for the scenes and were also responsible for direction, camera, sound and props (a participative video) of this trailer on our upcoming gaden blog "garden scene investigation".

If you like this project, you might be interested in this paper:

Vogl-Lukasser, B; Vogl, CR (2018) The changing face of farmers' home gardens: a diachronic analysis from Sillian (Eastern Tyrol, Austria). J ETHNOBIOL ETHNOMED. 2018; 14:63

What are we currently doing?

We are currently helping scholars from the collaborating secondary school, who are involved in the project, completing their pre-academic work (VWA). In addition, the involved scholars, master students and scientists work intensively on the data analysis and the writing of the texts for master theses or scientific articles.

For the summer of 2019 we are planning further master theses and VWAs. Thus scholars,  students and scientists of the BOKU will continue their intensive research into the topic of peasant home gardens in 2019.

What were/are our aims and activities?

Farmers’ homegardens, their diversity of the plant species used and the associated knowledge of the garden managers, are an integral part of the cultural landscape of the Lienz district of Eastern Tyrol (Vogl & Vogl-Lukasser, 2003, Van der Stege, 2010).

For this research project scientists and scholars of the BG/BRG Lienz, together with high-school teachers of Biology, Physics, Mathematics & English, will investigate farmers‘ homegardens, i.e. the plant inventory and the use of plants. The results will be compared to data collected from surveys conducted 20 years ago in the same gardens (Vogl & Vogl-Lukasser, 2003) and will help identify transformations of the gardens and their management.
To obtain a better understanding of the local perception of the significance of these homegardens, the perception of the garden managers and their neighbours on ecosystem-services (Bieling et al., 2014; Caballero-Serrano et al., 2016; Camps-Calvet et al., 2016) delivered by the gardens will be recorded. Additionally, the management techniques that adapt in response to extreme weather conditions and the securing of sustainable management practices will be explored. Within the scope of a complementary citizen science module the local community will be invited to collect additional data on ecosystem-services in their homegardens.
Scholars will be integrated into the entire research process with regard to their affinities and resources. In workshops in biology they will be prepared for their cooperation. The research process, the analysis and the communication of the results will be reviewed with them. The preparation of in depth pre-scientific papers will allow particularly motivated scholars to monitor birds, insects or soil parameters in farmers’ homegardens. Furthermore, the project offers a gender sensitive approach and promotion of women in MINT studies.
It is intended to integrate the project into the school mathematics curriculum to produce a highly professional quantitative analysis of the results. Also, with the integration into the curriculum English the use of a technical correct terminology will be achieved. Communication about the research process and its results will be helped by the use of the scholars’ mobile phone cameras. Experts will teach scholars the professional handling of video and photographic images for the purpose of documentation supplemented by input on creative writing techniques. Web-sites, science blogs and science slams will provide information to the broader public. 

Aims of our project


  • Presentation of the diversity and use of plant species in farmers homegardens;
  • Presentation of attitudes and values of the cultivators towards gardening;
  • Identification of transformations as compared to the survey from the years 1997/1998.


  • Description of ecosystem services from framers homegardens based upon perception of the garden managers and their neighbours, as well as the connected values and attitudes and their relevance for the human existence


  • Presentation of the local characteristic garden management techniques oft he cultivators;
  • Presentation of similarities/differences to other regions.


  • Promote STEM (school and study subjects in science, technology, engineering and mathematics) especially with girls (http://www.youngscience.at)





Scientific Team




Christian R. Vogl, Ao. Univ. Prof. Dr. DI (Project leader)

Heidemarie Pirker, Dr. Mag.

Brigitte Vogl-Lukasser, Dr. Mag.


Cooperation partners from science and economy

DI Mag. Marie-Luise Wohlmuth (soil biology workshop)

Ao. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Germain Weber (attitudes & beliefs workshop) - Dean of the faculty of psychology, University of Vienna

DI Christian Ragger (insects and birds workshop) - REVITAL - Integrative Naturraumplanung GmbH


Partners from society and arts

Peter Werlbeger (participatory video) 

Ramona Waldner (photography)

Participating teachers from BG/BRG Lienz/Osttirol

with the "experimental class“ 10th level ofeducation

  • Prof. Mag. Renate Hölzl (Biology)
  • Prof. Mag. Arno Oberegger (Englisch)
  • Prof. Mag. Hansjörg Schönfelder (Physics & Mathematics)

Previous projects

 McKioto: Biocultural diversity, climate relevance and health impacts of young people´s eating habits

Examples of published papers

Monitoring des lokalen Erfahrungswissens über Agrarbiodiversität im Gr. Walsertal

Projects and publications from  Brigitte Vogl-Lukasser

Projects and publications from Heidemarie Pirker

Projects and publications from Christian R. Vogl