R ET HI NK IN G A GR I C U LTU R E
WINT ER/SPRING 2 0 1 5 N E W S L E T T E R
N E W V IS IO N S FO R FA R M I N G A ND HEA LT H
a t th e 2 0 1 4 B i ody namic C o nfe r e nce N o ve m b e r 1 3 - 1 6, 2014 in Lo uisvil l e, Kentuc k y More than 600 farmers, gardeners, educators, researchers, business people, and food lovers gathered in Louisville, Kentucky on November 13-16 for rich discussions around the theme of “Farming for Health.” The community that converged here for four days presented a heartening image of the vital biodynamic community that stretches across North America. The elders of the biodynamic movement were well represented, sharing their years of accumulated wisdom and providing mentorship to the enthusiastic younger generations seeking to deepen their understanding of biodynamics. This rich and diverse community was a mirror of the dynamic state of biodynamics on the continent today. By coming together in this way, the biodynamic community helped to anchor the healing impulse of biodynamics, demonstrating the importance of this movement in broader discussions of the integration of holistic medicine and agriculture. The sustainable food and agriculture community is beginning to focus on these issues, which have long been central to biodynamics and Rudolf Steiner’s teachings, and the insights and visions brought forth at the conference can have a great impact as we journey toward a healthier future. The conference offered many pathways for learning about biodynamics and contemplating the broader theme. An unprecedented 88 presenters shared their expertise and insights through three keynotes, 64 workshops, and four on-farm field days. A wealth of intensive pre-conference workshops offered participants the chance to delve deeply into topics such as bridging biodynamic agriculture and anthroposophic medicine, health strategies for livestock, permaculture, fermenting, Goethean approaches to education, and hands-on preparation making. Many opportunities for connecting and community building enabled attendees to converse more deeply in small groups and network in learning communities. The main conference workshops provided diverse ways to learn more about biodynamics and health, including introductory workshops in the “Biodynamics Basics” track and an “Advanced Biodynamics” track for those with a working knowledge of the principles and practice. Rounding out the educational offerings were the inspirational keynotes by
Photos: conference decorations donated by local farms; stirring during “Hands-On with the Biodynamic Preparations” at Foxhollow Farm; keynote speaker Dr. Daphne Miller presents on the relationship between sustainable/biodynamic farming and human health All conference photos © Broken Banjo Photography
Photos: observing the behavior of water during “Understanding the Nature of the Vortex”; sampling local organic and Biodynamic foods and beverages during the celebratory opening; honoring Hugh Courtney for his life of service to the biodynamic preparations; participants engaging with their creative sides during “Cultivating Spirit: Inner Practice = Outer Work” Dr. Daphne Miller on how agricultural practices can affect human health, by Patrick Holden on creating bridges with other players in the broader agricultural context, and by a diverse panel of biodynamic farmers and health practitioners on the relationship of biodynamics and health at the grassroots level. “Farming for Health” meant more than just offering educational opportunities, however. For the Biodynamic Association, it meant striving to further the goal of health in as many ways as possible at the event. Toward that end, we sourced fresh, local, organic, and Biodynamic food and beverages for the conference meals and snacks from more than 30 farms and food businesses. The celebratory conference opening on Thursday evening offered tastings of deliciously prepared dishes made from these ingredients, such as winter squash soup, spinach and kale salad with berry vinaigrette, and scalloped potatoes and ham. The health of the community was evident in other ways as well. Thanks to over $20,000 in donations, we were also able to support the biodynamic movement as a whole by awarding scholarships to 104 young farmers, apprentices, and others to attend the conference. More than 50 volunteers assisted BDA staff with registration, childcare, and many other aspects of the conference. With more than 30 exhibits in the central atrium through which the conference traffic flowed, attendees were able to browse information, buy products, and converse one-on-one with companies and organizations. Finally, the biodynamic community took this opportunity to honor one of the pioneering elders in our movement, Hugh Courtney, founder and former director of the Josephine Porter Institute for Applied Biodynamics (JPI) and current owner of Earth Legacy Agriculture, whose role in making, distributing, and teaching about the preparations has made an incalculable contribution to the future of biodynamics in North America.
The impact of the conference will be felt long after the event itself. The questions raised and the inspiring visions that developed will provide nutritious fodder for the work of the biodynamic movement in coming years. The BDA looks forward to furthering these discussions and helping these visions become reality. At the heart of the movement, however, are all the visionaries and practitioners whose energy and creativity have created the vibrant state of biodynamics on the continent today. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all the attendees, presenters, exhibitors, sponsors, and food providers — as well as to all those across North America who further this work every day. Read more about the conference and peruse our photo slideshow at www.biodynamics.com/2014conference-overview.
S HARE A N D C O N N EC T
wi t h t he Co n f e r e n c e Wo r k s h o ps Sp e ci al M e m b e r Be n e f it:
Handouts and presentation slides from selected workshops are available online for Biodynamic Association members (log in to access): www.biodynamics.com/biodynamic-conference-resources
Con f e r e nce R e c o r d in gs :
Video and audio recordings of keynote presentations and audio CDs and MP3s of most workshops are now available for order through Aurora Recording: www.aurorarecording.com/product_detail.php?prd=25
Photo: filling horns during “Building Biodynamic Soil” with Jeff Poppen
WHAT Y O U R S U P P O RT M E A N S T he B iodyn ami c S c h o lar s h i p F u n d Thanks to generous donations, we were able to award scholarships to help 104 young far mers, apprentices, educators, and others to par ticipate in the Biodynamic Conference. As a recent college graduate and rolling in debt, I felt so lucky to be able to go to this conference. I felt like I was able to continue growing my knowledge base for biodynamic farming and connect with the upcoming progressions within the community. ...Like many other recent graduates or generally people my age, I have found that most of us are floating around trying to find our place in order to give back to our community. Being able to attend this biodynamic conference was one of those steps in order to take me in that progressive direction. Georgia Cuseo-White, Gaithersburg, MD
When you’re a small-scale farmer, sometimes it feels as though society just doesn’t have concern for a sustainable food system. When you’re a small-scale biodynamic farmer, it can be even more isolating. The conference affords us an important opportunity to connect with old and new friends in this niche of agriculture; to have dialogue and offer wisdom; to share findings through our practices and always-evolving experiments. All of the speakers and presenters were engaging and intelligent. ...I left Louisville wholly inspired and deeply refreshed. Jesse Tolz, Chestnut Ridge, NY
I wanted to thank the scholarship committee for allowing me to be part of such a wonderful and exciting conference. Without your support it would have not been possible for me to attend and experience the high caliber of keynote presentations and outstanding and insightful workshops. Your generous scholarship allowed me to network with amazing individuals and top farms in the biodynamic movement. Franc Garcia Zaavedra, St. Paul, MN
This was my first biodynamic conference and it was such a rewarding, inspiring, and uplifting experience! ...The energetic envelope which surrounded this gathering of attendees was so healing and uplifting. One of the reasons I wanted to attend the conference was to form relationships and connections with others doing this work and I most certainly was able to do this. ...I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity. In some ways I felt like I was meeting my new family! What a warm welcome my son and I received from everyone. Amy Hamilton, Lake Lure, NC
BIODYNAMIC ASSOCIATION 1661 N. WATER STREET, SUITE 307 MILWAUKEE, WI 53202 email@example.com | www.biodynamics.com
A L S O I N TH I S ISSUE New Visions for Far ming and Health Share and Connec t Spec ial Member Be n e f i t Rec ordings What Your Suppor t Means
B I O D YN A M I C W E B I N A R S Co m i n g S o o n ! We are preparing to launch an exciting new educational of fering: interactive webinars. We will be begin with an “Intro to Biodynamics” webinar on March 3, which will include a presentation from biodynamic educator Cor y Eichman, as well as small group conversations and time for questions and answers. Each webinar will be a live, interactive event, and we hope to schedule them so that as many people as possible can par ticipate. For those who can’t attend, recordings will also be available on our website. Visit www.biodynamics.com/ webinars for more infor mation.