At least 35% of bee colonies in the US die each year, and mortality is increasing. Professional beekeepers estimate that in two to three years they will be bankrupt. Will we see the extinction of the honeybee in our lifetimes and the collapse of agriculture as we know it? Gunther's work over the past 40 years, seeking a sustainable alternative to the century-old practices of extractive beekeeping, puts the Bee in the center of a Biodynamic approach to beekeeping, which calls upon us to rethink our connection to the formative forces of earth and sky, and to act for the health of the Bee, the Earth and our own human spirit.
Since the worldwide adoption of chemical agriculture after the World Wars, soil structure, depth of humus and fertility have declined rapidly, yielding uniform, overweight crops of steadily decreasing nutritive value, growing in a dead soil saturated with pesticides. Biodynamic farming methods began as a remedy to this death spiral, by studying the forces of life on earth and researching their effects on plant growth and nutrition. In this lecture and workshop Gunther will introduce the biodynamic approach to agriculture which remains always in the realm of life, and serves to heal the earth beginning with the soil beneath our feet. He will demonstrate practical compost techniques (from building to turning, screening and mixing for potting soil) and the effects and use of biodynamic compost preparations.
Gunther Hauk has been a biodynamic gardener and beekeeper for nearly four decades. A former college teacher in the US, and then a Waldorf School gardening and environmental teacher for 22 years in Germany, he returned to the USA in 1996 to co-found the "Pfeiffer Center for Biodynamic and Environmental Studies" in Spring Valley, NY. He has travelled throughout the USA, giving workshops and talks on Biodynamic farming & gardening as well as sustainable/biodynamic beekeeping. In his book "Toward Saving the Honeybee", published in 2002, he called for a radical change in beekeeping methods, foreseeing the difficult times ahead. In 2006 he co-founded Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary, a non-profit education and research organization located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Floyd, Virginia.