Christopher Mann crossed the threshold at 7:10 pm on Wednesday, February 7, 2018.
Christopher Mann was born in London in 1930 to pioneer teachers of the first English-speaking Waldorf school. In the early 1980s, Christopher and his wife Martina purchased their first parcel of agricultural land in the United States and created a community farm. They also founded the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (link is external) (MFAI) in East Troy, Wisconsin and served on its Board of Trustees for many years. MFAI has played a key role in the training of organic and biodynamic farmers, as well as in research into organic and biodynamic methods.
Throughout his lifetime, Christopher has developed enterprises and land trusts to support biodynamic, organic, and sustainable agriculture, along with research and education. Of these, the Yggdrasil Land Foundation (link is external) was founded as a support organization to RSF Social Finance (link is external), the BDA, and MFAI.
Visit MFAI's tribute page: In Memory of Christopher Mann (link is external). Our appreciation to them for these photos.
CHRISTOPHER MICHAEL MANN
* 13 November 1930 - 7 February 2018
By Roswitha Spence (sister), 12th February 2018, N.S.W. Australia
Christopher Michael Mann was born on 13th November 1930 in London. He was a dreamy child, happy and contented and when 4 years old he was presented with a sister. The two siblings grew up in a strong family bond. They lived in Streatham, South London, close to Michael Hall School where both parents taught, Liselotte taught Eurythmy and William was class teacher and taught many other subjects.
With the outbreak of WW II Michael Hall evacuated to Minehead, Somerset where a beautiful property housed the School and the Mann family found accommodation in the converted grain loft above the wood work class room. Chris learned many of his practical skills from his father during those years in that workshop, skills that would become essential in later life.
Christopher’s early dreaminess developed into an inner gaze to distant horizons, a yearning to explore and break boundaries, a theme that grew ever stronger throughout his life, deepening as his total commitment to Anthroposophy enriched his every action.
At the end of the war Michael Hall moved to Forest Row, East Sussex, and there Chris, now in his teens, went for more adventures: art trips to Italy, sailing on the Broads, walking in Lapland and many others. For his final year of schooling he went to Stuttgart, Germany, where he continued to live while taking an apprenticeship in Chemical Engraving.
However, this was not to be his future calling and life took Chris to America and Canada, but sadly he had to return home due to illness. So once again he found himself in Forest Row where in the meantime there was a teacher training course founded by Francis Edmunds. Chris enrolled as a student and followed this by taking a class through all eight years.
During Christopher’s time at Michael Hall he married his wonderful life’s companion Martina and had a beautiful little daughter Sonja. However, education was still not where his life was to take him, new horizons beckoned and the family moved to Dornach Switzerland where Chris took on the task of promoting Eurythmy. He organized Eurythmy tours in America, first Else Klink with the Stuttgart stage group, then Margurite Lungren and the London stage group. These tours introduced Chrissie to many areas in America and awoke in him a work that he felt would become his true calling - bringing culture and Biodynamics to ‘The New World’.
So it was that Christopher and Martina searched for a place that could open up possibilities for development and found themselves in Wisconsin in the small town of East Troy.
Thus began the real work that Chris had been preparing for and together with Martina they created the ‘Michael Fields Agricultural Institute’, building a beautiful barn with a concert/lecture hall upstairs, offices, catering facilities and above all laboratory space for Biodynamic research. They purchased a farm with others to follow, found farmers to convert the land to Biodynamic Agriculture, created a bakery, a farm shop, a day-care centre, Eco housing and many other initiatives.
As all these activities were unfolding, Chris’s central striving was to not just see the potential in people, or land, but to help it be realized, assisting countless individuals to further their work, be it counselling or funds. He was tireless in wanting to help.
However, Martina and Chris continued a strong connection to Europe, to Germany where Sonja now had her own family, and to Forest Row where there was family and friends. ‘Hoping across the pond’ was a regular event for many years.
The enterprises continued to grow, interspersed with travel to visit other initiatives, encourage individuals, conferences as well as holidays. Then age issues came to restrict movement, first with Martina’s stroke and after her death Chris’s Parkinson’s. This created great frustration for him as his mind was as active as ever, full of new ideas that he wanted to make happen. One special achievement he did still manage: the completing of a film on Biodynamics ‘The Alchemist’ which has now been seen by a vast number of people.
Now Christopher’s life at 87 has reached fulfilment, his tasks completed, and after a brief spell in Hospital, surrounded by friends he died peacefully at the home he and Martina had built together near East Troy. Christopher lived to receive the Last Rights and very soon after passed away, leaving in style, ever in a hurry to move forward.
Christopher’s funeral took place on 11th February in the ‘Michael Fields’ beautiful Concert/Lecture room at East Troy, Wisconsin, many friends and colleagues came to celebrate him.
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