Biodynamics has a long history (since 1941) as one of the preeminent publications on biodynamic farming and gardening in the world. A benefit of membership in the Biodynamic Association, each issue provides a thoughtful collection of articles centered on a theme such as spirit of place, farming and health, composting, or pollinators.
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Cannabis: The Potential and the Challenge
As you may imagine, the theme of this issue—“Biodynamic Cannabis: What does it mean for agriculture and the world?”—has been a challenging one to develop. For one thing, I have never used Cannabis recreationally or medicinally. Secondly, it is an immensely controversial topic within biodynamics, anthroposophy, agriculture, society, and government, across North America and worldwide.
In the Biodynamic Association (BDA), we have been discussing the emerging Cannabis industry, and its potential consequences for the biodynamic community and biodynamic practice, for almost a year. When I came to the BDA staff with the idea to write an article on the topic, they decided it should be the theme of this issue. We all felt a responsibility to raise the ongoing discussion of this topic to a continental level—and to raise many of the hard questions that we, and others, are asking. The use of biodynamic practices for growing Cannabis has been a reality for decades, and was recently formalized by Demeter USA’s decision to certify medical Cannabis in states where it is legal. It is also being discussed locally in all parts of the continent—the economic and social pros and cons, the spiritual and legal ramifications, and potential strategies for minimizing the negative impacts of Big Ag and Big Pharma as they stake their claims in this emerging industry. We felt the time had come to bring this discussion to the continental biodynamic community in a way that allows diverse voices to be heard and the myriad aspects of the challenges and benefits to be discussed.
Not surprisingly, those who were the most ready, willing, and able to articulate their observations and opinions on the topic at this point in time were biodynamic practitioners who became involved in the Cannabis industry because they saw many benefits and few concerns. Authors, interviewees, and sources for these articles are diverse in age, culture, field of work or study, and geographical location. However, as we put this issue together, we were keenly aware that the voices of those who have concerns about how this fast-growing industry will impact human lives and livelihoods, communities and cultures, and the perception of biodynamics in the marketplace, are underrepresented. We invite members to bring their concerns to the larger community, in a spirit of mutual respect, inclusivity, and true listening. Comments can also be mailed to the address on the back cover. Selected comments will be posted on the members-only page for the Spring-Summer 2017 issue.
In the inevitable focus on this timely theme, please do not miss the amazing “non-theme” articles with which the community has been gifted in this issue. While the theme articles engage the “here and now”(and, even as you read them, may be out of date), the articles offered in this issue by Barbara Scott and Philip Lyvers provide us glimpses of the deep and timeless currents that flow under the commitment and work we share. In between, we have stories from colleagues across the continent: Tim Wilson in Oregon; Caren von Gontard of the Viva la Vida Foundation and Brook LeVan of Sustainable Settings, both on the Western Slope of the Colorado Rockies; Hugh Williams in upstate New York, and Jose Anguiano Cardenas and Javier Anguiano Soto, based in Michoacan, Mexico.
We hope that this issue of Biodynamics engages and challenges you, and connects you in a deeper way to the North American biodynamic community and its work. We look forward to hearing from you.
Karen Davis-Brown, Editor