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Rethinking Agriculture

Compost and Soil Health: A Biodynamic Approach

A full-day pre-conference workshop at the annual EcoFarm Conference in Pacific Grove, CA

Wednesday, January 20, 2016, with Bruno Follador, director of the Living Soils Initiative at The Nature Institute

During this full-day workshop we will deeply engage in the biodynamic approach to the art of composting. We will cover all of the practical and technical details, including sourcing materials, building and turning piles, and working with the biodynamic preparations. We will also explore how we can develop a qualitative understanding of the dynamic processes in the compost pile, and consider the significance of compost in the whole farm organism. Online registration opens October 28.

The Earth — A Global Garden?

2016 International Biodynamic Agriculture Conference, February 3-6, Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland

Like the human being everything alive needs protection if it is to develop in a healthy way. It needs to create a boundary between itself and its surroundings without cutting itself off. This is the archetype of a garden. A garden is essentially a place on the earth to which I connect myself personally, a place that I work intensively, care for, observe and enjoy. It is a place which we are continually developing through our devoted activity, in which we bring the various elements and beings into relationship with one another: Earth, water, warmth, plants and animals. Through this evolutionary development becomes possible. Find out more.

The Individuality of the Farm

Six-Month Distance Learning Course with Cory Eichman

Are you a farmer or gardener interested in exploring the deeper aspects of the work you are doing? Biodynamics offers a unique way to live positively on the earth with our fellow soil, plant, and animal companions. In this six-month interactive course, we will develop a deeper understanding of biodynamics through intensive study of Rudolf Steiner's Agriculture, the 1924 series of lectures that founded the worldwide biodynamic movement. Building on many years of leading this course at Saugeen River CSA in Durham, Ontario, Cory Eichman is now partnering with the Biodynamic Association to offer this deep exploration of biodynamics in a distance learning format. Find out more.

Comprehensive Introduction to Biodynamic Principle and Practice

Grab the bull by the horns and come to Spikenard Farm for a great opportunity to explore the biodynamic preparations in-depth with master practitioner and lecturer Gunther Hauk. With over forty years of experience practicing and teaching biodynamics to gardeners and farmers, Gunther Hauk and his team are hosting a three-day workshop where participants will get hands-on experience with making at least six of the preparations. We will also go deeply into the principles, logic, and research supporting Rudolf Steiner’s indications in Agriculture. This will truly be a stirring event, in every sense of the word! Find out more.

Sharing the Loss: Embracing a New Agricultural Paradigm

By Jeff Schreiber: As many who read our newsletter know, the philosophy of community supported agriculture (CSA) is a favorite topic of mine. So it was with great interest that I recently heard a different take on the idea while listening to a farming-related podcast. In this episode of the excellent Farmer-to-Farmer podcast, host Chris Blanchard discussed the core values of CSA with Dan Kaplan, the long-time manager of Brookfield Farm in Amherst, MA – one of the first CSAs in the US. Kaplan stressed the often-heard notion that CSAs are about consumers and producers sharing risk. But then he took it further: CSA, like no other farming model, is also about consumers and producers sharing loss. Read more.

Conference on the Spirit of Sustainable Agriculture   

Harvard Divinity School will host a conference on "The Spirit of Sustainable Agriculture" from March 31 through April 1, 2016, with the goal of bringing together farmers, religious and spiritual leaders, and academics for a robust and stimulating discussion about the spirit of sustainable agriculture and its past, present, and future. The Biodynamic Association is a co-sponsoring organization for the conference, which was inspired in part by the 2012 North American Biodynamic Conference on "Sacred Agriculture."

Call for Papers and Proposals: Proposals for individual academic papers (20 minutes in length), full panels, or hour-long workshops are welcome from farmers, food activists, spiritual leaders, and/or academics. The deadline is October 1, 2015.

Biodynamic Association Adopts Shared Leadership and Evolutionary Approach to Work

Thea Maria Carlson Named Co-Director

Milwaukee, Wis. (Apr. 6, 2015) - Amidst the dominant agricultural paradigm of farms as inanimate factories, churning out commodity crops and animal products, biodynamics offers a radically different perspective: the farm is a living organism with its own inherent integrity, intelligence and health. The Biodynamic Association (BDA) is now working to embody a similar approach to how it operates as an organization, moving away from a traditional hierarchical and mechanistic organizational model to an agile, living approach to organizing its work. As a first step in this transformation, the BDA is pleased to announce that Thea Maria Carlson has been named Co-Director of the Association. Read more.

2016 North American Biodynamic Conference

The Biodynamic Association is excited to hold our next biennial North American Biodynamic Conference in the Southwest, a region of unique landscapes, climate, agriculture — and for many, spiritual and transformational power. With its many historic sites, museums, and other cultural amenities, Santa Fe is a city that is easy and fun to explore, and it has been rated as one of the most walkable cities in the US.

Located in downtown Santa Fe, the Convention Center echoes Santa Fe's historic adobe architecture, and will allow for both indoor and outdoor conference activities. Discounted rooms will be available at several local hotels, all within walking distance of the Convention Center.

What would you like to see in the 2016 Biodynamic Conference? Please share your ideas to help with our planning.