The 2016 “Biodynamic Winter Intensive” brought 45 participants (young farmers, food activists, food distributors, landowners and other stakeholders of the agriculture-food system) from North America, Canada and the UK to Hawthorne Valley to explore how agricultural practice can become more mindful of the beautifully coordinated larger rhythms of our celestial universe – its effects on the life of plants and soils, and its earthly reflection through humans caring about food and agriculture.
The basis of this article is a workshop that the authors offered at the 2014 National Biodynamic Conference, which took place in Louisville, Kentucky. The workshop was titled “The Resettling of America”. It seemed appropriate to focus on the work of Wendell Berry, whose farm is located less than 50 miles from Louisville, and whose seminal work carried the prophetic title “The Unsettling of America”. The article follows the workshop in that it compares and contrasts Rudolf Steiner and Wendell Berry who through their writings and practice have presciently postulated a similar viewpoint decades ago. Steiner and Berry’s views foresaw many of today’s individual, socio-cultural, and ecological ills particularly in their relationship to agriculture.
“The dirty secret of the food movement is that the much-celebrated small-scale farmer isn’t making a living. After the tools are put away, we head out to second and third jobs to keep our farms afloat. Ninety-one percent of all farm households rely on multiple sources of income... health care, paying for our kids’ college, preparing for retirement? Not happening...” (Sunday Review, NY Times: “Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers”)