Biodynamics and the Future of Agriculture: Growing the Food Revolution

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Pre-Conference Workshops

Thursday, September 30, 1:00 - 5:00 pm

A. Real Food for Thought and Stomach: An Introduction to Biodynamic Agriculture, Gunther Hauk

If you are a farmer, gardener, educator, activist or consumer wanting to get orientated to the world of biodynamics, this is the perfect place to start. In this workshop, Gunther Hauk, one of the leading biodynamic educators and beekeepers in the world will cover the basic principles of biodynamic agriculture, explain the logic behind those strange preparations, illuminate the unique terminology employed by biodynamic practitioners and look at how biodynamics goes a step or two beyond sustainable agriculture to allow agriculture and the human being to thrive. Whether you are looking to put some new tools in your toolbox, embark on a life long journey of discovery or simply understand why biodynamic food and wine tastes so good, this workshop will meet your needs and answer your questions.
B. The Benefits and Politics of Raw Milk, David Gumpert, Sally Fallon Morell, Michael Schmidt, and Petra Zinniker (Co-sponsored by the Weston A. Price Foundation)

Raw milk, one of the most primal and health-giving foods, is now at the center of the growing food rights movement and a storm of political controversy. How did this happen? Why is it so important? Where do we go from here? These questions and more will be addressed by an incredible panel of luminaries in the raw milk and food rights movement. Sally Fallon Morell will explain the health benefits of raw milk and describe the long history of nutritional research into raw milk. David Gumpert will illuminate the contentious political and legal landscapes surrounding raw milk and where things stand with the food rights battle in the present. Michael Schmidt will share lessons from his epic legal victory over the Canadian government, assuring his right to distribute raw milk to his farm members. And Mark or Petra Zinniker will give an update on their struggles to keep America’s oldest biodynamic farm viable through raw milk and a new kind of consumers’ association.
C. Bringing Biodynamics to the World through Social Entrepreneurship, Daron Joffe (Farmer D) and John Bloom

Many people, young and old alike, are feeling called to start farms, food-related businesses, education projects and other ventures designed to bring the fruits of biodynamics to the wider world. The purpose of this workshop is to provide an opportunity for budding farmers, educators and social entrepreneurs, as well as more seasoned entrepreneurs, to share their lessons and experiences, find support and guidance for their efforts and build a network of relationships. Guided by John Bloom of RSF Social Finance, the workshop will include an in-depth presentation by Daron Joffe of Farmer D Organics on his experiences starting and growing a successful biodynamics-inspired business that supports urban and suburban food production, along with consulting and sales of Biodynamic compost and other products.
D. The Dignity Deal: Creating Profitable, Wholesale Distribution Networks for Mid-Size Farmers, Michael Rozyne and colleagues (Co-sponsored by Red Tomato)

How do we scale up local foods without losing integrity and a fair price to the farmer? How do we grow a distribution infrastructure for the emerging food system? These questions and more will be addressed in this nuts and bolts workshop on how to create values-based value chains that will enable our region’s farmers to supply large-scale wholesale markets, profitably and with dignity. The workshop includes logistics/aggregation/hubs, pricing, talking with trade buyers, building trust with growers, marketing, branding, market research, and lots of ground-level examples (some ground-breaking) of what’s working and what’s NOT. We will make plenty of use of participants’ own experiences as live examples. Farmers, distributors, brokers, retailers, food system activists and organizers, at every level of experience are all welcome.
E. Diagnosing Health and Illness on the Farm, Andrew Lorand

For practical farmers and gardeners, knowing how to diagnose what is healthy, what is not and what to do about it, is pretty much at the heart of the work. In this workshop, Andrew Lorand, one of the foremost biodynamic consultants in the world will introduce his unique "therapeutic" approach to agriculture. Starting from the perspective of biodynamics as "anthroposophical medicine for the earth," Andrew will cover the basic principles of biodynamics and use practical examples from his many year's experience to illuminate the therapies and remedies offered by biodynamics to support the health of plants, soil, animals and the whole farm organism. Participants will gain the the tools to see nature with new eyes and apply biodynamic insights and methods creatively in the context of their own farms and gardens.

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Workshop Session #1

Friday, October 1, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

1. Exploring the Greenhouse Ecosystem, Jack Algiere

In this workshop we will explore the unique greenhouse environment and its potential as a vital addition to the whole farm system. As our communities rebuild their confidence, so can the farm reclaim the values of a compost- and soil-centric ecosystem in the greenhouse and capture the threefold nature of sustainability (ecology, community, economy).
2. Working with the Biodynamic Preparations, Andrew Lorand

This workshop will provide practical and spiritual perspectives on the purposes, meaning and applications of the biodynamic preparations — an overview from someone who has worked with the preparations for over 30 years.
3. Cultivating Observation of Nature and Discovering Imaginative Thinking: Goethe's Contribution to Science, Sherry Wildfeuer

This workshop will introduce an approach to nature study and science based on the work of the famous German poet and thinker Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Through a common plant study and conversation participants will be actively engaged in learning to see into the mysteries of the natural world.
4. Developing a Local Associative Food Economy, Gary Lamb

This workshop will use Rudolf Steiner's key associative economics principles and the Hawthorne Valley Farm operation as a case study to re-imagine a local food economy. This will lead us to consider the dynamic relationship between agri-culture and spiritual-culture as a basis for the economic health of a given region.
5. The Biodynamic Farm: Production, Demonstration and Earth-Centered Education, Jim Barausky

Reconnecting people, food and land is one of the goals of the biodynamic farm. Through local food, seasonal festivals, ongoing courses and hands-on experiences the farm organism can be the basis for a new form of earth education. Principles and practices of biodynamics and land use planning will be presented, drawing on examples from existing agricultural practices.
6. Making and Understanding Raw Sauerkraut, Seth Travins

In this hands-on workshop we will shred, salt and pack cabbage into fermentation vessels. We will then talk about the fermentation process, health benefits and safety issues with sauerkraut and other raw cultured vegetables. Note: no milk products will be used in the workshop.
7. Community Sculpture Building: The 2010 BDA Michaelmas Endeavor, Mariel Farlow

This will be an ongoing, hands-on community participatory sculpture project using natural substances. Workshop participants will wield, build and sculpt with logs, branches, grasses, earths, mosses, stones, bones and shells, creating in concert the BDA 2010 Michaelmas Monument to the Earth Being. Participants are invited to bring whatever natural materials they can and to work with what is here.

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Workshop Session #2

Friday, October 1, 2:00 - 3:30 pm

8. Mastering the Art of Composting, Janet Gamble

Experience a hands-on demonstration of building an Alan Chadwick-inspired compost pile, which is fail proof as well as attractive and odor free. Participants will learn about the dynamics of microbial decomposition, C:N ratio and inoculation with the Biodynamic compost preparations.
9. Community Supported Seed Production, Exchange and Distribution, Nathan Corymb

This workshop will explore ways we can reclaim our seeds and complete the cycle of nature from seed to seed within the context of our own farms. We will also discuss the need for crop variety diversity, reproduction, adaptation and dispersal in local and regional agriculture and in the wider biodynamic movement.
10. Principles and Practical Application of Biodynamic Animal Nutrition, Steffen Schneider

This workshop will provide a look at indications in Rudolf Steiner's Agriculture Lectures (particularly Lectures 2, 7 and 8) regarding animal feeding in order to develop a framework within which feeding decisions can be made and animal health optimized.
11. Tenure Track: A Beginning Farmer's Guide to Land Access, Severine Von Tscharner Fleming and a panel of young farmers

We all need land. Learning how to navigate the institutional, legal and relational matrix in order to secure sustainable tenure, harmony and adequate control over the land is a bit less clear cut. This workshop seeks to introduce aspiring and beginning farmers to some of the resources and supports that exist to serve them in this process.
12. Explorations into the Art and Science of Stirring the Biodynamic Preparations, Frank Chester and Mac Mead

This will be a stimulating investigation into the interaction of geometric forms with the potentizing power that arises from the stirring of liquids, such as the biodynamic preparations. Artist and geometrician Frank Chester will share his groundbreaking work on the effects of novel geometric forms on fluids, while veteran biodynamic practitioner Mac Mead brings to bear his years of experience working with the preparations.
13. Bringing Fair Trade Home, Elizabeth Henderson

A sustainable food system means environmental stewardship as well as fair compensation and just conditions for family farmers and all who work in agriculture. How can we move toward an equitable, diverse and just food system? Learn what is happening around the country and join a discussion of how to get domestic fair trade going in our region and nation.
14. Community Sculpture Building: The 2010 BDA Michaelmas Endeavor, Mariel Farlow

See Workshop #7 for description. Newcomers, Repeaters and Bystanders are welcome to participate. The artist hopes this workshop will help achieve for its participants a deep creative connection not only to the Elemental presences that abound, but to all the healing forces of Nature that so lovingly and helpfully surround us.

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Workshop Session #3

Saturday, October 2, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

15. Raised Beds in Farm and Garden, Mac Mead

In this workshop, we will learn how the intimate relation of soil and plant is enhanced by raising the soil into beds. Practical ways of doing this will be demonstrated — including hand, horse, and tractor methods.
16. The Honeybee Crisis: An Opportunity to Transform Destructive Agriculture Practices, Gunther Hauk

This workshop will explore the many sources of Colony Collapse--from environmental poisons, viruses, bacteria and parasites to exploitative, mechanistic beekeeping methods--as well what is needed to bring health to bees. The waking-up process has begun and must lead to sustainable beekeeping practices.
17. The Art of Biodynamic Wine Growing, Daphne Amory, Matias Baker, Luke Frey and Barbara Shinn

In this workshop a panel of leading biodynamic wine growers will share their stories, wisdom and visions — past, present and future — regarding biodynamic farming and winemaking practices and how they have adapted them to the needs of their particular terroirs.
18. Emerging Forms of Ownership for Farms and Food Businesses, Charles Burkam, Elisa Vander Hout, John Bloom and Robert Karp

This panel will discuss new and innovative ownership forms that have arisen recently, bringing fresh flows of capital and community support to new and existing farmers and food entrepreneurs. The financial and non-financial relationships of non-farmer owners to the farm will be considered, as well as the practical steps that are needed to create such new forms.
19. The Quiet Sustainable Agriculture Movement of the 19th Century and Its Connection to Biodynamics, Jean-Paul Courtens

In this workshop we will explore the important historical foundations of the biodynamic and sustainable agriculture movements with a presentation on the development of European agriculture in the Hudson Valley and its impact on biodiversity. The workshop will include a discussion of the quiet (and forgotten) movement of farmers and researchers developing innovative sustainable agriculture practices during the 19th century.
20. Meditation for Farmers and Gardeners, Andrew Lorand

Finding inner calm, focus and active reflection are basic elements for reasoned judgment and good decision-making. They are also the beginnings of an individualized meditative practice. Join us for a presentation on how to think about and go about starting a simple, successful meditative life, with special emphasis on gardening and farming and improving our relationship to the sensitive elements in nature.
21. The Poetry of the Earth and the Harmony of the Spheres, Victoria Sander

Eurythmy is a form of movement, an art initially developed under the guidance of Rudolf Steiner one hundred years ago. Doing Eurythmy can lead us to sense of Self, while enlivening our relationship to the world around us. In this workshop we will move to poetry and perhaps music, in order to enter artistically into the mysteries of nature and the cosmos.

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Workshop Session #4

Saturday, October 2, 2:00 - 3:30 pm

22. Making Barrel Compost, Jairo Gonzalez

This workshop will include an exploration of the fermentation process underlying the biodynamic preparations and the use of barrel compost as an additional composting method for enhancing fertility in large fields.
23. Demeter Certification and the Demeter Farm and Processing Standards, Jim Fullmer

The Demeter Farming Standard has origins that date back to 1927, soon after Rudolf Steiner's course on the Spiritual Renewal of Agriculture. In the modern day, these Standards are now applied in 45 countries worldwide. The interface of the Demeter Standard with the USDA NOP organic standards is a fascinating reality in the US. The Demeter Standard carries forward many of the principal foundations of the organic and sustainable agriculture movements themselves. This workshop will explore what Demeter represents in the modern-day organic food marketplace in the US.
24. Yeomans' Keyline Method and Biodynamics, Hugh Williams

P.A. Yeomans, an Australian, was a giant of 20th century agriculture whose brilliant and comprehensive vision for fertility creation is a logical partner for Steiner's insights. Both are deeply practical and deeply misunderstood. Taken together they offer an extraordinarily different future for man's relation to the Earth.
25. The Future of CSA, Jean-Paul Courtens, Scott Chaskey, Elizabeth Henderson, and Paula Lukats

Join leading thinkers in the community supported agriculture (CSA) movement as they share and discuss their perspectives on the future of CSA.
26. Biodynamics and Permaculture: Exploring the Synergies, Mark Shepard

Biodynamic agriculture strives to create a self-contained farm entity and willingly works with non-material realms in order to accomplish this. Heretofore only in Nature have we found biological systems that build their own soil, create their own fertility and balance pests and diseases. In this workshop, we will discuss how to consciously transform your biodynamic farm or garden into Permanent Agriculture — Permaculture.
27. Farm-Based Nature Education at Duryea Farm, Carol Avery and Kirsten Young

In this workshop we will explore farm-based nature education, with an emphasis on connecting children with the life of the land in relation to the life of the farm. The session will highlight the Jessup Center at Duryea Farm. Housed in a 19th-century barn, the Jessup Center is a "please touch" collection of antique farm tools set in a working farm. We will also touch on the role of child development in relation to goals we can set as educators.
28. Community Sculpture Building: The 2010 BDA Michaelmas Endeavor, Mariel Farlow

See Workshop #7 for description. Newcomers, Repeaters and Bystanders are welcome to participate. The artist hopes this workshop will help achieve for its participants a deep creative connection not only to the Elemental presences that abound, but to all the healing forces of Nature that so lovingly and helpfully surround us.

Pre-Conference WorkshopsWorkshop #1Workshop #2Workshop #3Workshop #4