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The Individuality of the Farm

 

Explore biodynamics in depth with fellow farmers and gardeners from across the continent

 

Six-month distance learning course with Cory Eichman

 

Registration now closed for the 2016-2017 course. Check back in summer 2017 for information on the next cohort. 

 

Are you a farmer or gardener interested in exploring the deeper aspects of the work you are doing? Biodynamics offers a unique way to live positively on the earth with our fellow soil, plant, and animal companions.

In this six-month interactive course, we will develop a deeper understanding of biodynamics through intensive study of Rudolf Steiner's Agriculture, the 1924 series of lectures that founded the worldwide biodynamic movement.

Led by renowned biodynamic farmer and educator Cory Eichman of Saugeen River CSA, this is a unique opportunity to deeply explore biodynamics in a distance learning format. This is the second year the course is being offered through the Biodynamic Association after many years as an on-farm course in Ontario. 

This course SOLD OUT before the registration deadline last year. Register now to guarantee your spot!

Course Content

The farm individuality is the central image in biodynamics, and developing an understanding of how you can work with a piece of land to manifest this individuality is a central task as a farmer or gardener. We will explore how we can encourage the life processes to enhance the health and vitality of our soil, plants, and animals.

This in-depth course will provide you with a firm foundation in Rudolf Steiner's spiritual science as it informs our day-to-day practical activities on the farm or garden. Your observational abilities will be enhanced to help you develop a relationship to the cosmic and earthly activities going on around us.

We will thoroughly explore Steiner's eight Agriculture Lectures, which provide the foundations for biodynamics. His book Theosophy will also be read as background for understanding some of the deeper aspects of the biodynamic preparations, composting, soil science, botany, crop management, animal husbandry, planetary influences in nature, and the role of food and nutrition, among many other topics.

The curriculum of the course is designed to fulfill a portion of the classroom study requirement for the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program (NABDAP), and NABDAP apprentices are encouraged to participate. (To complete the NABDAP coursework, apprentices should participate in Digging Deeper: Cosmic and Earthly Evolution for Farmers​ next year). 

The Individuality of the Farm is open to anyone with some experience farming or gardening.

Download the course synopsis and schedule.

Course Format

The Individuality of the Farm will meet for twenty-two weekly live video sessions on Monday evenings from 7-8:30pm ET, beginning September 26 and ending March 27, 2017. There will be a break in November for the North American Biodynamic Conference in Santa Fe, NM and Thanksgiving, as well as a winter break from mid-December to early January. Cory and course participants will meet through live, interactive video classes that will include:

  • Lectures from Cory to illuminate and clarify the topics of study
  • Readings with study questions from Agriculture and Theosophy
  • Question and answer sessions
  • Small-group and full-group facilitated conversation and discussion
  • Meditative and artistic activities

To fully participate in the live video sessions, you will need to have a reliable internet connection and a computer, tablet, or smart phone with camera and microphone. If you don’t have a device that will support this video technology, you may access the course via telephone. Video and audio recordings of each weekly session will be available to participants to review content or make up for a missed class. 

This course will be limited to 40 participants to foster a close learning community. To ensure continuity and a high-quality educational experience, participants are asked to commit to the full six months and late registrations will not be accepted.

Required Texts

Both books are available from Steiner Books at www.steinerbooks.org or 703-661-1594.

Registration

Tuition for this six-month, 22-session interactive course is $400. Current Biodynamic Association members receive a discounted rate of $360 (10% off). Not a member? You can join for as little as $20 and receive the discount instantly.

Partial scholarships are available through the Biodynamic Scholarship Fund. If you need financial assistance, please apply as soon as possible and no later than September 15

 

Testimionials from Past Participants

"The Individuality of The Farm online course, by Cory Eichman, was a wonderful way to add consistency to my biodynamic studies. As a full time apprentice working to feed 200 CSA members a week, I sometimes get caught up in my practical work and daily life and have little time to sit down and dive into the higher purpose of what I am really doing and learning. This course broadened my sense of the different aspects of the farm individuality and gave me so many new insights into the different life processes of soil, plants, animals and everything and one involved with the farm. What I really enjoyed most though was the conversations these classes ignited with my fellow apprentices. Thank you Cory and The BDA!

-Katie, Mountain View, CA

"The Individuality of the Farm course was a very beneficial experience for me, in terms of both furthering my own spiritual development as well as deepening my understanding of the foundational biodynamic principles.  Cory is obviously a seasoned biodynamic practitioner, as well as a very articulate and thoughtful teacher.  He built the concepts of the course in such a way that the last few classes tied many concepts together that were introduced throughout the course.  One perception that really resonated with me involves the analogy of the soil as the soul of the farm individuality.  Cory explained that the soil acts as a bridge from the cosmos to the earth, much like a human's soul acts a a bridge from the spiritual to the physical.  This simple comparison has fostered deep contemplation and meditation for me and has greatly expanded my understanding of our farm.

Not only did The Farm Individuality course provide knowledge, but it also offered a sense of community.  It felt empowering to be in class and in community with other biodynamic farmers, aspiring farmers and gardeners.  Our family lives and farms in a part of Western NC, where there are many organic and sustainable farms but no practicing biodynamic farms within a 2 hour drive.  A biodynamic practice is one that is always growing and developing, which is challenging in isolation.  The small group and one-on-one discussion provided opportunities to fostered and develop this sense of community."  

-Holly, Zionville, NC 

 


Cory Eichman has been farming in the context of biodynamic CSAs for over 20 years, beginning with apprenticeship in 1992. In 1997, he founded Saugeen River CSA, an 80-acre draft-horse-powered biodynamic farm in Durham, Ontario. Cory has been active in the Ontario Biodynamic Society since 1998, and on the board for 6 years. He was also on the board of Demeter Canada for 6 years. Cory has mentored apprentices since 1998, and has been teaching introductory and advanced Biodynamic courses through the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto and independently since 2005. He helped to found the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program beginning in 2006, and continues to be a member of the NABDAP steering committee, as well as the BDA's Education Leadership Team since 2012.