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Spring 2011 Biodynamics: Urban Agriculture

Letter from the Editor

By Rebecca Briggs, rebecca@biodynamics.com

With half of the world’s people now living in urban areas, how can we bring biodynamic methods and ideals into these densely populated environments? Is urban agriculture somehow a fundamentally different sort of endeavor from rural biodynamic farming, or can we apply the same principles? What does the biodynamic “farm organism” concept mean in the context of postage-stamp-sized lots, shared community garden plots, container gardens on balconies, or rooftop beekeeping? Is there tension between the rural biodynamic model and urban agriculture? While comments on our Facebook page indicated general support for urban agriculture, there also seemed to be some reservations about how truly biodynamic some of these alternative options could ever be.  Jon McNamara of River Road Gardens talks of the conscious decisions they face every day as to how best to balance the particular environmental, community, cultural, and economic factors that shape their farm. A farm organism in Tucson, Arizona faces many different issues than one in a rural locale with a temperate climate. How do we account for these differences, and what “compromises” are acceptable? Personally, I believe we have before us exciting opportunities to bring biodynamics into new realms. Urban efforts will be critical as we try to provide healthy biodynamic food for all, re-connect city dwellers to the land and to natural cycles, and re-establishcommunity ties through food and agriculture. In this issue we only begin to scratch the surface of the topic of urban agriculture and biodynamics, and we invite you to share your ideas and suggestions with us.   

Table of Contents

 

Features

Urban Agriculture The Farm Individuality in a Desert City: River Road Gardens at the Tucson Waldorf School, Rebecca Briggs Building Urban Community — Angelic Organics Learning Center Changing the Path of Urban Development: Building Local Food Production with a Biodynamic CSA, Jeff Poppen Nurturing Urban Community: Erda Gardens and Learning Center, Spiral Blanton Biodynamic Compost for the Small-Scale Gardener, Karen Davis-Brown Biodynamic Perspectives Strengthening the Heart of the Food Movement: Biodynamics and the Deregulation of GMO Alfalfa, Robert Karp Health and Healing Dioscorea Batatas: The Lightroot, Barbara M.V. Scott Biodynamic Preparations Native American Spirituality and Bison in Biodynamic Agriculture, Devon Strong  

News and Updates

In the News BDA Program Updates North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program: Farmer-Mentor Issues and New Coordinator Moving Forward with the Biodynamic Initiative for the Next Generation: Making Connections and a New Coordinator Building Momentum at the Second Annual Retreat for Farm-Based Educators, Lori Barian Farmland Access and Preservation Survey Results, Angela Curtes Partner Organization Welcoming a New Executive Director at the Josephine Porter Institute, Hugh Courtney  

Departments

Letter from the Editor Facebook Community Seasonal Eating Supporting Urban Agriculture Through Farmers' Markets, Maggie Lee Excerpts from Louise's Leaves: A Cook's Journal Around the Calendar with Local Garden Vegetable Produce Reflections Yarrow, Stag, and Three Kings Ceremony: In Memory of Kent Carson, Sharon Carson