Our Farmer Training Programs Are Evolving!

Since 2009, over 100 aspiring biodynamic farmers have participated in our North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program (NABDAP), learning side-by-side with exemplary biodynamic mentor farmers across the continent. We have celebrated the graduation of 37 new biodynamic farmers, and 12 more are on track to graduate this year. Just as each farm individuality needs to grow and evolve over time, so does our work to train the next generation of farmers.

Building on the strengths and accomplishments of NABDAP, we are delighted to introduce two new intensive one-year programs that will provide more flexibility, as well as a solid and broad foundation in all of the essentials of biodynamic farming for everyone who participates. Individuals will have the option to participate in just the first year, or both.

For both programs, we are inviting established farmers interested in learning more about biodynamics to participate as well continuing to offer apprenticeship opportunities on exemplary mentor farms.

The Biodynamic Farmer Foundation Year offers aspiring biodynamic farmers the opportunity to build a solid foundation in the principles and practices of biodynamic agriculture. Individual support from an experienced mentor farmer and a cohesive, integrated, and interactive learning curriculum bring biodynamics to life.

The Biodynamic Farmer Development Year, which will begin in 2019, will develop and deepen the skills needed for biodynamic farm management for those who graduate from the foundation year. This program will allow for more scope and specialization in specific farm management and production areas.

Applications for the Biodynamic Farmer Foundation Year will open at the end of November. Contact Anthony at anthony@biodynamics.com (link sends e-mail) or by phone at 262.649.9212 x14 with any questions or to be notified when applications open.

The NABDAP pages will remain in place for those interested in seeing the strong foundations we are building our new programs on. The graduate profiles are especially inspiring!  You can find all the details on our new Farmer Training programs at our new Biodynamic Farmer Training page.

These are Mentor Farms from NABDAP, which is retired. We will have mentor farm pages up for our Biodynamic Farmer Foundation Year very soon!

The mission of Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary is to promote sustainable and biodynamic beekeeping through education, experience-based research and a honeybee sanctuary and to help restore the health and vitality of the honeybee worldwide.

Our 25 acre sanctuary is located in Floyd, Virginia – surrounded by pastures, forest and an adjacent organic farm – and is home to over 30 honeybee hives. The main apiary, orchard, and vegetable garden are located on 6 acres and we have a 7 acre field planted in perennials and annual bee forage. The remaining 13 acres are undeveloped wooded land. The sanctuary is a biodynamically invigorated landscape in which plants, animals and human beings create the necessary care, protection and healing for all.

Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary was born out of the realization that something had to be done for the honeybees and the Earth to ensure that future generations will witness this marvelous insect, so important to our life and our beautiful planet. The honeybees are much more than pollinators or honey producers. They are part of the complex living organism of the earth and integral to our development as human beings. Our vision is to inspire in young and old not only interest, joy and love, but also a new understanding and awareness for the importance of this magnificent, love-imbued, but very vulnerable creature.

Size of farm: 25 acres

Diversity of produce and livestock: Honeybees, vegetable garden, fruit, pollinator trees, perennial herb gardens, flower gardens, pollinator plant nursery (greenhouse), larger cultivated lands (clover, mustards, buckwheat, etc. for the bees).

Skills that can be learned: See Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary's Skills Checklist (PDF)

Apprenticeship Details: We have an established biodynamic honeybee sanctuary on 25 acres of land in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. We have established annual and perennial bee forage, a vegetable garden, an orchard, a pollinator plant nursery, and a large variety of bee hive styles. Since preparing a good environment for the bees is an important part of our sanctuary work, a great amount of the work will not be with the bees themselves (the work with them is dictated by the season and the weather), but rather with sowing, planing, creating beds, mowing, weeding, harvesting, and creating compost. 

An intern will get ample opportunity to: 

  • Train his/her capacity of observation and thinking
  • Understand the honeybees in a larger context
  • Practice methods of biodynamic/sustainable beekeeping and gardening

A study of Rudolf Steiner's lectures on bees, deeper explanations of biodynamic principles and all the workshops and training sessions offered by Spikenard Farm will be part of what an intern takes with him/her. Working with and making the biodynamic preparations is part of the learning experience. 

We work 5 1/2 days in the sanctuary, but many weekends have classes or other events going on in which the interns are expected to participate. The workday fluctuates between 8 and 9 hours. We are flexible, based on the needs and capacity of each individual apprentice. 

What is expected of an intern: 

  • A strong work ethic and inner ressponsibility
  • Social capacity to work together with others
  • A deep interest in the bees
  • An interest in biodynamic agriculture
  • An interest in spiritual aspects of life and nature

Apprenticeships include: 

  • Free lodging in a double-wide trailer adjacent to the farm 
  • Food from the vegetable garden and orchard
  • A monthly stipend of $400

Mentor Farmers: Gunther Hauk, Vivian Hauk, Alex Tuchman

Address: 445 Floyd Highway North, Floyd, VA 24091

Phone: 540.745.2153

Email: info@spikenardfarm.org

Website: http://www.spikenardfarm.org