The biodynamic agriculture conference for 2018, held at the Goetheanum, Switzerland, was a wonderful experience for me. I wanted to share some reflections of my journey as I have just returned to Australia.
The conference, run by the Section for Agriculture at the Goetheanum was attended by 900 people from 40 countries. These people were farmers, gardeners, educators, researchers and advisers who all wanted to connect with like minds and learn more about the biodynamic preparations, the focus of the conference. The ages were varied and it was heartening to see a reasonable balance of younger people.
The Goetheanum is a magical place which first opened around 1900. It is the global centre of all initiatives started by Rudolf Steiner. The architecture of the buildings at the Goetheanum is unique, with most buildings designed by Steiner more than 100 years ago. I felt the buildings and surrounding gardens had such a strong presence, the genius loci of the place is palpable.
At the biodynamic agriculture conference we all heard about fascinating and transformational projects happening in many countries of the world where biodynamics is playing a significant part. I was also involved as a presenter at the conference running a workshop series jointly with Bastiaan Frich of the Basel Urban Agriculture Network on using biodynamic preparations in urban agriculture.
Some of the key points that stuck with me on the biodynamic preparations out of the biodynamic agriculture conference and our workshops were:
1. The primary power of the BD preparations is through their capacity to optimise the impact of cosmic formative forces on living processes. They enhance life force thereby stimulating soil life and plant vibrancy resulting in improved pest/disease resistance and plant nutritive quality.
2. The BD preparations are a highly efficient vehicle for the higher part of our being to be consciously transferred into the earth to aid with its healing and evolution. The development of our higher self is the dominant theme in all of Steiner’s works.
3. Individuality, a key biodynamic concept of the biodynamic farm or garden, becomes tricky in urban agriculture where you have to bring in most inputs from outside of your growing space. The BD preparations, via your conscious application, can be a vehicle to developing individuality of any space, being it a balcony or a farm
4. The BD preparations are made and work well in virtually all climate zones. They do not need to be made in temperate zones, even though this is where biodynamics started.
5. BD preparations can be potentised homeopathically, opening very interesting opportunities with ease of use and increased potency
6. Due to the weakening life force of the earth, especially over the last 100 years, application of BD preparations should be more frequent than Steiner recommended.
I also participated, for 2 days after the biodynamic agriculture conference, with a group of 50 biodynamic advisers from a diverse range of countries. We talked through our challenges and opportunities and aimed to create an international framework to use. Demeter International and the Section for Agriculture were the peak bodies of the biodynamic movement behind these advisor sessions. These were the movers and shakers of the international BD movement with some amazing stories.
The food was great and the format of the conference allowed plenty of time for eating (biodynamic food of course) and networking. My new list of contacts is big! Dornach, the small village where the Goetheanum is located, has a beautiful vibe and is surrounded by hills which at the time had snow. Dornach is only 15 minutes train ride from Basel, an amazing modern and old city of Europe on the Rhine river.
Hope to see you at one of our biodynamic workshops this year. They are being run in Brisbane (March, June and November), Melbourne (May) and possibly Auckland in September. For advisory work with implementing biodynamic methods into your garden or farm, email me to discuss.
PS: The Goetheanum biodynamic agriculture conference is on each year in February and I hope to attend next year’s conference. You can keep track of what’s planned on their web site and it will also reveal this year’s conference and workshop papers when ready. I am writing up one for our BD urban agriculture workshop at the moment.
Happy food growing
Authored by Peter Kearney – www.myfoodgarden.com.au