More Space for Inclusion: Kleinsägmühlerhof Expands its Activities and Creates Space for Community
Since 1985, the organization Lebenshilfe Bad Dürkheim has been running the Kleinsägmühlerhof in Altleiningen as an inclusive residential and working community. The Demeter-certified organic farm manages 115 hectares of land and is home to 40 cows, calves, pigs, and chickens. The farm sells organic food to residents of the surrounding county of Bad Dürkheim in Rheinland-Pfalz, and simultaneously employs 38 individuals with disabilities alongside other staff members. Families particularly enjoy coming to the farm to purchase bread, bakery and dairy products, milk, meat, and eggs – and because the farm provides local children with exciting glimpses of farm life and work.
In recent years, the farm was able to build a modern free-stall dairy barn in which the cows can move freely and naturally. The current building project will modernize the bakery, dairy, and farm store and ensure that they are disability friendly. “Our work and philosophy here at the Kleinsägmühlerhof is not aimed at speed and optimizing profits, but rather at making an important contribution for people and nature and creating a livable, sustainable future,” as their website states. The farm purposely offers individuals with disabilities forms of employment that are especially adapted to their interests and abilities: “Especially in the bakery, dairy, and associated housekeeping we are able to create employment for individuals with more significant disabilities.”
All three areas of the farm – bakery, dairy, and store – will be considerably expanded by the building project. The available sales area in the store will increase from 24 to 106 square meters, thereby allowing for the employment of nine individuals with disabilities, instead of the current four. In the bakery and dairy, as well, the project will generate more space and allow employment of a total of 15 staff members, instead of the current six. “The Kleinsägmühlerhof has established quite a positive reputation in the region,” said SAGST project manager Elke Rahmann. “After the redesign of the stall, the renovation of the sheltered workshop is a consequential step, generating important impulses for the inclusive participation of individuals with and without disabilities. We are pleased that we are able to accompany the managers of the farm as they continue their journey to become a truly exemplary inclusive farm.”