Activity Report of the Section for Agriculture 2018/18

Look back with us on an eventful time. New themes, well-attended events and major projects made our work varied and exciting. We report from the time of spring 2017 to spring 2018.

Download the activity report.

Report of the Agriculture Conference 2018: "The Preparations - The Heart of Biodynamic Agriculture"

Evolving Agriculture and Food - Opening up Biodynamic Research

The 1st International Conference on Biodynamic Research

Evolving Agriculture and Food - Opening up Biodynamic Research

will take place in Dornach, Switzerland: September 5th to 8th 2018

This new biannual conference will gather academics, scholars, PhD students, graduate students, farmer-researchers and action researchers from around the world to discuss the latest and most pressing issues in biodynamic agriculture, moreover discussing related fields such as agroecology and food and nutrition, dedicating significant attention also to new and alternative researching methods. More information.

The call for papers is open until April 22:

Worldwide Practice of Biodynamic Preparation Work - The Case Studies

Ueli Hurter | Dr. R. Ingold | Dr. M. Kolar | J. Schönfelder | Dr. A. Sedlmayr | A. van Leewen

The eight biological-dynamic preparations belong to the central elements of Biodynamic Agriculture as constitutional remedies for the agricultural organism. They can be produced locally on the farm on its natural basis and in the process with it. However, the worldwide spread of Biodynamics implicates adjustments and individual procedures, which lead to a rich variety of making biodynamic preparations.

Fifteen views of preparation sites and people will be presented in this study-based book, with both a wealth of experience and aspects for discussing and advancing biodynamic preparation practice. Last but not least, the personal answers and examples help in the understanding of biodynamic preparations and their social anchoring.

Issued by: Section for Agriculture, Goetheanum
Pages: 336
Price: 29 CHF + shipping costs
to order by e-mail at: Section for Agriculture: Sektion.Landwirtschaft(AT)

Listen to the farmer - Report about the journey to India by the biodynamic movement

In the last circular letter no.112, we announced the publication of a special issue on the recent trip to India by the Agriculture Section.  We received many very interesting articles and it has become a large and colourful document that can transport you directly to India. 

We would be delighted if this report could be distributed widely among your circle of friends and aquaintances. 

The agriculture conference of 2018 was a great success. More than 900 people from 45 countries joined us at the Goetheanum. The lecture and workshop contributions of some of our Indian friends helped make the conference a success.

We hope you enjoy reading the articles and send you warm greetings.

Agriculture Section
Jean-Michel Florin

Download PDF Listen to the farmer

Seeds as a Commons: Breeding as a source for real economy, law and culture

Final study now available in English.

On February 8, 2017, the authors Johannes Wirz, Ueli Hurter and Peter Kunz presented the final study of their project "Seeds as a commons" (in German) to the public in the rooms of the cereal breeder Peter Kunz in Feldbach.

Now the study is translated and can be downloaded in English.

Dan McKanan: Anthroposophy and Environmentalism: Four Gifts

Dan McKanan is a professor at Harvard Divinity School who has been a student and friend of the Camphill movement since 1999. His new book, Eco-Alchemy: Anthroposophy and the History and Future of Environmentalism, is forthcoming from the University of California Press in November 2017. It is a comprehensive study of the relationship between anthroposophy and the environmental movement, from Rudolf Steiner’s Agriculture Course to the proliferation of community supported agriculture and green banking in the twenty-first century. In this essay, an abridged version of the book’s final chapter, McKanan identifies four gifts that anthroposophy brings to the environmental movement as a whole. This book excerpt is reprinted from the Fall and Winter 2016/17 issue of Biodynamics.

Download essay

Specific quality in nutrition

Interview with Jasmin Peschke, published in Anthroposphy Worldwide, Edition 6/17

In June 2016 Jasmin Peschke startet to set up the Coordination Center for Nutrition within the Section for Agriculture. Since then she has been exploring topical issues in the biodynamic movement and organized events. On World Food Day (16 October) she intends to present nutrition in the press as a creative process and a matter of relationships.

Download the interview

Report of the Agriculture Conference 2017: "Creating fertile soil"

I really like this Soup - Report on the Workshop for Cooks

“Anthroposophical nutrition is not at all so boring as I had always thought”.  “I am motivated to do things more consciously and will make purer, more untainted and more meaningful decisions in my everyday life”.  The feedback of the eleven cooks from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, who came to a one weeks workshop of the Coordination Centre for Nutrition at the Goetheanum at the beginning of April, was altogether positive.

The participants were cooks and chefs from Waldorf kindergardens and schools, a curative centre and other social establishments, from a biodynamic farming community with 100 meals a day right through to a Demeter restaurant and a catering head of a university clinic with 70 cooks.

Read on

Fertile soils help to counter climate change - The Agricultural Conference 2017

Not only do humus rich soils improve fertility they also sequester more carbon dioxide than those that are poor in humus.

Over 750 people from 36 countries attended the international conference on soil fertility that was organised by the Agriculture Section at the Goetheanum from 1st to 4th February 2017. The connection between soil quality, climate and food security was clearly demonstrated.  Soil with a higher humus content is able to hold and retain more water and carbon dioxide.  A fertile soil therefore quite naturally contributes towards stabilising climate change and ensuring food security.  "Under good management the fertility of the soil improves year by year" said Ueli Hurter, co-leader of the Agriculture Section at the Goetheanum, out of his own experience.

The biodynamic preparations: new research report now published

The biodynamic preparations in context: Individual approaches to preparation work - Case studies of worldwide practice -

The biodynamic preparations are a specialty of biodynamic agriculture. Rudolf Steiner gave indications for the production and use of six compost preparations and two field spray preparations in the Agriculture Course at Koberwitz in 1924. Since then the biodynamic preparations have been worked with and developed in many different ways all over the world. Read on...

Why cows have horns

Coordination Center for Nutrition at the Section for Agriculture

(SJ) Goji berries from China, chia seeds from Central America, moringa powder from India - eating vegan or low carb? With the establishment of a Coordination Center for Nutrition, Jasmin Peschke will create in the Section for Agriculture a basis for understanding the relationships of personal nutritional behavior, which has become more individualised and conscious of its consequences.

Our daily bread is more than just something to eat. Seeds, growing and processing characterise food quality. Eating becomes a culture if socially beneficial aspects such as sustainability, fair trade and the environment where eating takes place, are taken into account. A high-quality meal, prepared in an appealing way, allows individual tasks to be more effectively taken up. In addition, you become “Landscapers the Argentine Pampas, if you eat a juicy steak every day. Because then more GMO-soya will be grown there," explains Jasmin Peschke.

With the Coordination Center for Nutrition, the Section for Agriculture expands from their core competencies in Biodynamic agriculture. Jasmin Peschke, with a doctorate in nutritional science, will bring together insights about healthy and responsible diet and make them available through training courses for professionals and consumers in order to stimulate individualised nutrition. "I shall be a contact person for nutrition initiatives from all over the world," said Jasmin Peschke. To make the global importance of diet clear, she points out how breeding, farming and processing are connected with education and medicine, in for example, the menu plans of hospitals, schools, factories and homes for the elderly.

Jasmin Peschke works closely with the Nutrition Circle in the Section, a platform for deepening work and exchange on food issues. The Nutrition Circle was founded by the Agricultural and the Medical Sections together with the Working Group for Nutrition Research in Germany and has met regularly at the Goetheanum since 2001.

Your contact: Dr. Jasmin Peschke, nutrition(AT), phone: +41 (0)61 706 4132

Report of the Agriculture Conference 2016: "Our Earth - a global garden?"

Agriculture for the future

Agriculture for the Future

Biodynamic Agriculture today.
90 years since Koberwitz

Ueli Hurter (Ed.)

The «Agricultural Course» held in 1924 by Rudolf Steiner gave a new impulse for the development of agriculture: a holistic agriculture, which uses a modern approach to work directly with the life processes of nature and thus opens a new perspective on the future cultivation of the earth came into being. Since its beginnings, 90 years ago, a worldwide movement has emerged. In this book competent authors describe the development and diversity of the biodynamic agriculture movement: The historical development – The farm as an organism – Scientific research results – New methods of research – Fertilization, composting, biodynamic preparations – Landscaping – Subtropical and Tropical Agriculture – Seed breeding – Constellation research – Bees – Wine – Nutrition – Demeter, a worldwide label for biodynamic produce – Training – Social farming – Social design, land law and new forms of marketing – Outstanding examples from all continents.
The documentation provides an overview of the key ideas of biodynamic agriculture and the variety of ways in which they have developed in the worldwide biodynamic agriculture movement in the 90 years since Koberwitz.

This publication is also available in german.
Published by the Verlag am Goetheanum.
ISBN: 978-3-7235-1512-9

The Section for Agriculture at the Goetheanum

The Section for Agriculture at the Goetheanum is one of currently eleven departments of the School of Spiritual Science based at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland. The Section for Agriculture contributes to the development of agriculture, out of anthroposophical spiritual science. The main tasks of the Section for Agriculture are to coordinate and give impulses to the worldwide biodynamic agriculture movement.
Biodynamic agriculture was born in 1924, in a series of lectures given by Rudolf Steiner, known as the "Agriculture Course". Nowadays biodynamic agriculture is practiced worldwide with over 150.000 ha of certified biodynamic land (certified by Demeter). The ideas behind biodynamic agriculture have infused and inspired many related fields such as landscape work, nutrition, social therapy, bee-keeping, wine making and many more. Also new research methods, new economic systems for agriculture and new systems of land ownership (amongst other innovations) have been developed out of the biodynamic movement.
To find out more about biodynamic agriculture, you can navigate our website, read a recommended publication, contact a biodynamic association near you or come along to one of the events from the Section for Agriculture! The Agriculture Conference in early February is a good place to get to know the biodynamic movement.

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