Journey to Dornach, Switzerland
February 11, 2016
This past week, I embarked on a journey of a lifetime to Dornach, Switzerland. My farming mentor, Janet Gamble and I travelled there to attend the International Biodynamic Farming Conference. The conference was held at the Goetheanum. This magnificent building and campus sits on top of Dornacher Hill. The Goetheanum was designed by Rudolf Steiner and named after Johan Wolfgang von Goethe. This community is the center of a global network of spiritually dedicated people. It is the home of the School of Spiritual Science as well as the General Anthroposophic Society. It serves as a network and gathering place for spiritual issues and trainings in artistic and scientific fields. This year’s farming conference theme was “Our Earth – a global Garden.”
Biodynamic agriculture was the first official form of organic agriculture. This type of farming uses management practices to restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony within the farm organism. There is a spiritual essence to this agriculture which emphasizes the human being (the farmer’s) relationships with the forces of nature. The prime objective is always to encourage healthy conditions for life: soil fertility, plant and animal health, and product quality. The spirit of biodynamics is very much alive in Europe! As a matter of fact, Germany occupies nearly half of the world’s biodynamic farmland. There was a spiritual essence to the teachings unlike any other farming conference that I have attended. I felt so welcomed by the community and easily connected with the energy there.
The garden is a paradise and the Earth is our garden. And, there is a promising effort in that of the biodynamic farmer, when we are faced with the crisis of global warming, climate change, population growth and the depletion of non-renewable energy resources. Compared to non-organic agriculture, biodynamic farming practices have been found to be more resilient to environmental challenges, to foster a diverse biosphere and to be more energy efficient. I think it is very significant to bring these farming techniques to our own farms and gardens. As, there is hope in healing the earth and creating a more sustainable food and agriculture system for our ever growing population and the next generations.
It was amazing to be in the presence of biodynamic farmers, Demeter International certifiers, teachers and students of the new generation of sustainable farmers. I interacted with people from across the globe and learned about many sustainable, biodynamic farming initiatives that are happening right now. I was very influenced by this energy, and was able to bring back a clearer vision for my own initiative, Lovelight Flowers and for my work at Michael Fields. My vision holds the possibilities of what my intentions may manifest- a flower, herb and perennial garden based off of the principles of permaculture design and biodynamic practices. I envision creating a space for the community to come for workshops on mediation, yoga, music and arts. I know that I will be influenced by this journey for years to come. And, I am grateful for the experience and courage to create this paradise here in East Troy. May we all have the ability to connect with our own piece of paradise and to grow as a sustainable community. For the Earth!