Council of Biodynamic Organizations at the 2019 Biodynamic Conference (left to right): John Bloom, Alex Tuchman, Daphne Amory, Evrett Lunquist, Marjory House, Thea Maria Carlson, Clay Wesson, Rudy Marchesi, David Byrnes, Steffen Schneider (photo by Trav Williams/Broken Banjo Photography)
In recent months, tremendous progress has been made in aligning and integrating the work of all aspects of the biodynamic movement in the US.
The biodynamic movement in the United States has had many chapters in its history since Ehrefried Pfeiffer came to New York in the 1930's. The Biodynamic Association was founded in 1938 with Pfeiffer at its helm, and initially the BDA held all the organizational functions for the movement.
As the biodynamic impulse developed in this country, a number of other organizations branched off or formed independently to meet different needs, such as certification, the making and distribution of preparations, spiritual research, finance, and holding and preserving land. Although all these organizations were founded to serve the same impulse, over time the different organizations became disconnected from each other, with some actively in conflict with each other for many years.
Over the past decade, a healing impulse has been working in our community, and these organizations have begun to reweave relationships and mend the wounds of the past. Last year, the major organizations in the US biodynamic movement came together to co-facilitate a visioning process, which we hoped would chart a path forward for the entire movement and bring us all into alignment. Although many wonderful ideas and aspirations were surfaced through that participatory community process, many ongoing challenges and questions were also surfaced, and in some ways took center stage.
At the 2018 Biodynamic Conference in Portland, we presented the results of the visioning process, including 7 courageous questions to guide our further inquiry (under "Phase Three: Reflection" at biodynamics.com/blog/visioning-future-biodynamics). And the representatives of the organizations who co-created that process committed to continue to meet regularly and work with those questions.
The Council of Biodynamic Organizations
What evolved out of those meetings is a new emergent group we are calling the Council of Biodynamic Organizations, made up of representatives from the Agriculture Section of the School for Spiritual Science, Anthroposophical Society in America, the Biodynamic Association, Demeter USA, the Fellowship of Preparation Makers, the Institute for Mindful Agriculture, the Josephine Porter Institute, RSF Social Finance, and Yggdrasil Land Foundation.
Ten people who are each representing one or more of the above organizations are currently working together as the Council of Biodynamic Organizations (from right to left as pictured in photo above):
- Steffen Schneider is Director Emeritus of Farm Operations at Hawthorne Valley Farm and Senior Director of the Institute for Mindful Agriculture, both in Ghent, New York, and is a member of the Agriculture Section of the School for Spiritual Science
- David Byrnes is founder and owner of Yellow Barn Biodynamic, a leading national brand of Demeter-certified products, founder and owner of Yellow Barn Biodynamic Farm in the Finger Lakes of New York, and Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the Biodynamic Association
- Rudy Marchesi is a grape farmer and Partner at Montinore Estate in Forest Grove, Oregon, and is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Demeter USA
- Clay Wesson is Viticulturist for Willamette Valley Vineyards in Oregon, a member of the Oregon Biodynamic Group, and President of the Board of Directors of the Josephine Porter Institute for Applied Biodynamics
- Thea Maria Carlson is Executive Director of the Biodynamic Association and lives in Sonoma County, California
- Marjory House farms at Singing Creek Farm in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, maintains fruit tree pruning and biodynamic consulting businesses, and is a member of the Fellowship of Preparation Makers
- Evrett Lunquist is a biodynamic farmer at Common Good Farm in southeast Nebraska and Director of Certification for Demeter USA
- Daphne Amory lives in Northern California and is an advisor and coach for leaders in organizations that are involved in regenerative processes, President of the Board of Directors of the Biodynamic Association, and a member of the Board of Directors of Yggdrasil Land Foundation
- Alex Tuchman is Co-Director of Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary in Floyd, Virginia, and is Coordinator of the Agriculture Section of the School for Spiritual Science
- John Bloom is Vice President of Organizational Culture at RSF Social Finance in San Francisco, California; General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America; and a founding member of the Board of Directors of Yggdrasil Land Foundation
The purposes of the Council of Biodynamic Organizations include:
- To create space for the major organizations in the United States biodynamic movement to coordinate and align their priorities, strategy, and work
- To engender transparency and accountability between organizations in the movement
- To clarify the roles of and relationships among the biodynamic organizations in the economic, social, and spiritual realms
- To build solidarity, trust, mutual support, and colleagueship among the members of this group and their organizations
- To actively sense into the needs of the movement and work strategically to address those challenges and opportunities, including working with the courageous questions that came out of the BD visioning process
- To collectively seek guidance and insight from the spiritual world for the practical questions facing the movement
Our Current Work Together
The Council of Biodynamic Organizations is currently working together to creatively reimagine a healthy, associative, collaborative, integrated, transparent, accountable, and functional ecosystem of biodynamic organizations in the United States.
Through many video meetings and an in-person retreat supported by a grant from the Kalliopeia Foundation, we have begun to develop a prototype of a new way of holding the work of the movement and bringing biodynamics forward in the United States. There are still many questions to explore and details to be worked out, but we are deeply committed to ensuring that this will result in stronger capacity for us all to serve the biodynamic impulse, to bring healing and transformation to the Earth and all her inhabitants.
We will share more updates and seek input from the broader biodynamic community in the coming months. In the meantime, you are welcome to send comments or questions to the Council of Biodynamic Organizations at email@example.com.
In collaboration and community,
Alex, Clay, Daphne, David, Evrett, John, Marjory, Rudy, Steffen, and Thea