Artisan Producers, Modern Grange

Biodynamic Education Series at SHED

The methods that came from the factory floor to the farm in the late 1800s coupled with technology developed to serve WWI had made a startling dent in the fields by 1924. That was the year that Rudolf Steiner, founder of the Waldorf school system, addressed a group of farmers in a town now found in Poland about methods and practices to redress what then was organic farming and was then beginning to fail.

Today, we call it Biodynamic farming and it is in huge increase around the globe. Grape growers have particularly embraced it as a way to combat the monoculture that large grape production can cause. Europeans have embraced it because Biodynamic farming practices serve the soil and every inhabitant upon that soil, from the insects to the bees to the plants to the people. And slowly, Americans are beginning to understand that foods and wines produced in the Biodynamic method are healthier not only for people, but for the very land itself.

Here in the U.S., Biodynamic farming and food production is overseen by Demeter USA, the national certification organization that precedes the USDA Organic Certified seal by some 17 years. We are proud to support Biodynamic education and to help spread the word about this rapidly increasing practice.

To that end, we host a series of educational workshops on Biodynamic farming and products the first Sunday of each month, Oct. 5, 2014, through March 1, 2015. Presentations are at 10am unless otherwise noted.

We hope that you'll join us for some or all of this series. Here's a sneak peek at what you can expect:

Oct. 5: Elizabeth Candelario, co-director, Demeter USA. Wonder what all the Biodynamic buzz is about? Our series kicks off with a discussion about the origins of organic and Biodynamic agriculture and an exploration of the trends in Biodynamic food and fiber.

Nov. 2: Cynthia Sandberg of Love Apple Farm. The practice of Biodynamic farming means adhering to organic, holistic, and cosmic tenets. Learn the differences between organic and Biodynamic growing and how to integrate its principles into your garden from Cynthia, who has partnered with renowned chef David Kinch and his Manresa restaurant in order to remain sustainable.

Dec. 7: Colum Riley of Malibu Compost. Explore how healthy soil functions and how composting and Biodynamic preparations can bring unhealthy soil back to life. Learn methods, materials, and uses for your own home garden or farm. 

Jan. 4: Michael Thiele of Gaia Bees. Biodynamic apiculture treats the honeybee nest as "One Bee-ing" in its formation and life gestures. This class will explore current issues to the health of bees, and asks what they and we need to survive together. Michael is truly a miracle man who understands what our bees need to survive. And if they don't survive — neither do we.

Feb. 1: Harald Hoven of the Rudolf Steiner College. Learn how to use the astronomical calendar to guide your decision making about planting, cultivating, and harvesting your crops. 

March 5: The wine industry was an early American adopter of Biodynamic farming. As a grand finale to our class series, and with a glass of wine in hand, we will hear from grape growers and winemakers who are pushing the envelope on ecological farming and product quality. Note: This is a 5pm event.

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