This year's Salon Session, represent a mix of topics shared by community members, utilizing the practice of Open Space, and informational sessions hosted by the BDA.
Three salon sessions will take place from 4:00 to 5:00 pm EST each evening Thursday - Saturday.
For those that are participating in Salon Sessions, we ask you to consider both
the "Law of Two Feet"
•If at any point you find yourself in a place where you are neither learning nor contributing, or you’re just feeling called to be elsewhere use your two feet to move to where you need to be
Open Space is a beloved part of our conference, where we turn the programming over to the conference community. Participants may lead conversations on a topic of interest or share about a project they have been working on.
The guiding principles of Open Space:
•Whenever it starts, it starts
•Whoever comes are the right people
•Whatever happens, is the only thing that could have
•When it’s over, it’s over
Partnership Plant Breeding,
With Community Member, Walter Goldstein
Behind the plants we grow and eat are centuries of plant-people breeding partnerships.
A plant variety is a marriage between the values and thinking of the breeder with the diversity and creativity of the plant species. Contrary to conventional thinking, plants are not static genetic machinery, but living creatures that sense their environments and respond to stress with adaptive processes and genetic rearrangements. In addition, plant varieties include microbial partnerships that help plants deal with stresses. The biodynamic work enhances the partnership by challenging the breeder to develop a personal and conscious relationship with the wisdom in the different plant species, breeding for balance, and applying methods that enhance plant biological ‘intelligence’ in living bodies.
Now, with increasing climate change and need to reduce fossil fuel inputs, it is increasingly important to develop biologically ‘intelligent’ crops that are adapted and resilient and productive of quality and yield. Conventional agricultural science wants to support production by molecular breeding. We argue that an effective approach for creating a healthy future is to enhance plant-human partnerships.
This session will focus on new partnership values, attitudes (respect), requirements, and methods for working with plants and their microbial partners. Effective breeding means improving both the plant and the breeder. Methods will be discussed that have been shown in the past to enhance the potential for plant creativity with the example of corn. An effort will be made to engage others in taking back crop species and working to improve them. And finally, we will discuss the broader social and economic framework for partnership including the Quality Crop Association we are working on with Northern Plains Sustainable Agricultural Society and a naturally bred label for commercializing products.
Arboreal Apiculture —
An Ecology of Selves
With Community Member, Michael Joshin Thiele
The departure from normalcy due to climate emergency and accelerating extinction rates of all species opens the door to a re-evaluation and re-conceptualization of core belief systems and practices in beekeeping.
Arboreal apiculture is an inspiration for pioneering new ways in a time of crisis, and at the same time, it is also challenging our assumptions and beliefs about who honeybees are and what they need. How can this fundamental shift in apiculture be a nurturing impulse for the biodynamic apicultural community, as it challenges some of the essential elements of the Demeter Standard (for beekeeping) and core principles and practices of biodynamic apiculture? And how can we engage in a dialogue with this newly emerging apian cosmology that is so radically outside the default? Rudolf Steiner was cautious in his descriptions of honeybees. He called them a world-enigma and said, "We can learn so much from honeybees because they completely contradict the thoughts we form about them".
How can arboreal apiculture become a compass point for a re-alignment of apiculture and connect to the fundamentals of wild apian ecologies, ethics, and spirit?
Our Inner Development
and the Life Cycle of the
Plant from Seed to Seed
With Community Member, Tom Altgelt
We will explore the many parallels between the sequence of 21 stages over the course of three phases in a plant's life cycle and the sequence of 21 stages of three phases of our spiritual development, universally know as "preparation, illumination and initiation," as outlined in chapter one of Rudolf Steiner's How to Know Higher Worlds.
We will work with the ancient universal symbol of the lemniscate (for both eternity and life) to make the fluid dynamics of this analogy more graphically understandable, much as it does for the Calendar of the Soul, which we will also reference. The statement "look into the world to know thyself and look into yourself to know the world" applies to this analogy when understood in the context of the etheric reversal between inner and outer realities. The cycle of the year as celebrated in the festivals and as followed by indigenous farmers throughout the world exemplifies this reality. The inner light of the world was born into the darkest time of the year.
This approach helps us to understand the fruitful resolution of various opposites such as life and death. To understand inner development as a natural spiritual process can encourage all seekers. One key takeaway from Chapter One states that "humility is the gateway to all higher knowledge," which is intimately related to the geocentrically oriented root that provides the stability needed by the heliocentrically oriented shoot of the developing plant. For more information please see the article "Being Human and The Lifecycle of the Plant" from Being Human Magazine Winter-Spring 2017 (link is external)
Static Biodynamic Compost
from Regional Substrates in
Ciudad General Escobedo,
Nuevo León, Mexico
With Community Member, Alvaro Javier Rodas Sierra Sr.
Join Alvaro as they share their experience with biodynamics in Mexico, including the results of their thesis work in agronomy.
Biodynamic Demeter Associaton
Unification Listening Session
With Biodynamic Association and Demeter USA Board and Staff Members
An interactive conversation exploring the emerging unification of the Biodynamic Association and Demeter USA to become the Biodynamic Demeter Association.
BDA Farmer Training Program
With BDA Farmer Training Coordinator, Anthony Mecca
Do you want to become a farmer? Are you interested in hands-on training in biodynamics?
Join Anthony in this informational session to learn about the BDA's Biodynamic Farmer Foundation Year, a hands-on, holistic approach to farmer education.
Experiencing the Life Quality
of Our Soils
With Community Members, Walter Goldstein and Mike Biltonen
In spring 2020, farmers and gardeners were invited to participate in a shared research project in which they observe their garden or farm soils on a monthly basis over the course of a year, following a specific protocol. More information on this project can be found here.
The goals of the project are to gain a better understanding of the mysterious life quality of the soil and how it manifests through time, and for each participant to build capacity to observe the inner quality of soil life.
During this session, we will share more about the project and some experiences from the work so far this year. Stories are invited from anyone who is participating, and others are welcome to listen in, ask questions, learn about the approach — and perhaps be inspired to take it up in 2021!
Honoring Those That Have
Crossed the Threshold
With BDA Board Member, Kaitlin Voellinger
Join Kaitlin for a community sharing of stories, reflections, and tributes to members of our biodynamic community who have crossed over in the past year. A number of important figures in the biodynamic movement have transitioned in the past year, including Hugh Courtney, Alexander Dreier, Robert Lehman, Hugh Lovel, René Piamonte, Grover Stock, Matthias Thun, Mark Trela, and Sally Voris. We invite you to come share your stories of these people and others who have recently crossed, or just listen to those who knew them and were affected by their work.
Land, Seed, and Food:
Access and Quality as Social Justice Issues
With Community Member, Karen Davis-Brown
Join Karen in a listening session dedicated to exploring shared issues of access that live in practitioners of regenerative agriculture.