The area of Rudolf Steiner's study of anthroposophy that interests me most, second to Waldorf education of course is biodynamic farming. I happen to be a member at a biodynamic farm and I have to tell you that the beyond delicious goodies we get from our farm fill both my family's bellies and souls with their goodness.
So what is biodynamic farming? What makes it unique?
This is exactly what I break down in this episode with my guest Alice Groh.
Alice Groh has been a long time student of the works of Rudolf Steiner, founder of Waldorf Education and Biodynamic Agriculture, amongst many other cultural initiatives. With her late husband Trauger Groh and two other farm families, they founded the Temple-Wilton Community Farm, one of the nation's first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms. Alice has served on the Board of Trustees of both the High Mowing School and the Pine Hill Waldorf School, being Board Chair at Pine Hill Waldorf school for three years. Alice has always held as an ideal for all children high quality, life-giving nutrition and an artistic and developmentally-appropriate education. The new Sunrise Gardens Childcare initiative in Manchester, NH, aimed primarily towards the children of new immigrants to the US, is very near to her heart. She also remains active on the Board of the Community Farm and gardens on her own 37 acre farm in Wilton, NH.
Coming back to what makes it unique, there are many ways to distinguish biodynamic farming. The first is that most practices in place on organic farms you'll also find on a biodynamic farm. These would include things like the absence of the use of chemical pesticides, and growing produce and raising livestock that is non-GMO and hormone free. However biodynamic farming takes it much much farther than that.
In the desire to develop the most nutritious food for human beings, Steiner understood that also included taking care of the earth. Biodynamic farming goes beyond just trying to grow and harvest in the most sustainable way possible, but also seeks to rejuvenate and replenish the land. He also had an idea that nutrition wasn't just fuel for our bodies and minds, but it also nourishes us in a cosmic spitual way. Honestly I found that the most interesting thing to learn about in my conversation with Alice.
Honestly there are a lot of practices common on a biodynamic farm that many would find pretty out there. One being the creation of the differnt biodynamic preparations, something Alice goes more in depth on in the episdoe. This is certainly another distingusihing quality of biodynamic farming. However, if I had to tell you from my own experience what the greatest differnce is of the food on a biodynamic farm, and I'm speaking from experince, it's the taste and the way it makes you feel. It tatstes out of this world, and it makes you feel nourished. Really nourished. Don't believe me? Find a biodynamic farm get some goodies and do a test for yourself!
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www.biodynamics.com This is the website for the Biodynamic Agriculture Association in America. Always a good place to start and full of links to groups, information about classes, conferences, blogs, podcasts etc.
Here is a link to the Introduction to the Biodynamics section of the SteinerBooks website. Alice especially recommends the small book The Biodynamic Farm by Karl-Ernst Osthaus in that it shows how one farmer created a Biodynamic farm organism in an artistic and spiritual-scientific manner. She also recommends her late husband's book, Farm's of Tomorrow Re-visited with its essays on Biodynamics and the principles of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA farms).
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