by Jeff Schreiber
The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.
– Paul Cezanne
We in the Midwest were blessed this season by the extended visit of biodynamic researcher and consultant Bruno Follador. In May, with fellow instructor Angela Curtes, Bruno gave a hands-on overview of Ehrenfried Pfeiffer’s farm-scale hot controlled fermentation compost process. From November 1-3, he “dwelved” (his wonderful word!) deeper into all things cosmic and compost at the workshop “More Humus, More Humanity: Insights and Practices out of Biodynamic Agriculture.” From the first night’s lecture it was clear – to the diverse group of farmers, gardeners, teachers, orchardists, and others assembled – that Bruno was not going to just come right out and give us his insights; we’d have to work for them.
Through stories, poems, exercises, a movie, and wonderful living language – through portraying rather than explaining – Bruno carefully built up a picture of the whole issue at hand. These lyrics from the Canadian singer-songwriter Feist, for example, were displayed throughout the workshop with a series of images for us to ponder:
The mountain, the mountain
Came to recognize
Its steep and rocky sides
More than realized
The issue at hand? Our thinking. One simple exercise, in which we viewed an image that first appeared to be random dots arranged in a circle, served to illustrate the complex process that plays out in our minds when observing phenomena.
Upon receiving the image, some began to rotate it to and fro, trying to catch its orientation. Most jumped into the task with zeal – curious, engrossed, excited about the challenge. Some, clearly, found it tedious; they were “above” such games, perhaps. Whispers revealed that some searched their memories for help, or sought for a sort of comparative analysis in their attempt at comprehension. Wild guesses from some, or an attempt to squint and hold the image closer or farther from one’s eyes. A few, here and there, discovered the image and appeared noticeably relieved, satisfied. Others appeared less excited, more tense, annoyed. Finally, when most seemed to have found it – or at least were too embarrassed to admit they hadn’t – the riddle was announced: “a giraffe!” Hiding in the apparently random collection of dots was the coherent image of a giraffe’s head.
Everything beckons to us to perceive it,
murmurs at every turn ‘Remember me!’
– Rainer Maria Rilke
What happened in this process, we wondered? What happened at that moment when our perception of random dots magically aligned itself into a conception of a giraffe’s head? If we just perceived (“to take the truth,” in German, the multi-lingual Bruno explained) would we ever see the giraffe? With just an organizing idea or concept of a giraffe, would we see anything at all? What is it that unites percept and concept? Bruno coaxed us to the significance of these ideas, this awareness of the process of thinking: too often we approach the world by jumping to explanations or slapping on ready-made and rigid concepts, instead of giving the things we come across time and space to speak to us as they are. Instead of going out to sensuously and empathically meet the real, living beings in the world, we instead retreat into some imagined and distanced “objective” intellect. From there, we “thing the world,” to use Craig Holdrege’s phrase. All phenomena become merely things “out there,” things to manipulate, exploit, and control. Here, in this worldview, is where the horrors of our world begin: soil becomes just an inert medium for root growth. Chickens: just cuts of meat. Water: just molecules. Land: just a commodity. People: just collections of genes.
Chances are, like me, you are probably not even conscious of the extent to which this thinking influences your worldview. Presenters like Bruno and Holdrege (who is the director of The Nature Institute, and whose new book on this subject, Thinking Like a Plant, is much recommended) can be helpful in making one aware of such “object thinking,” and in moving toward a more “living thinking” (Holdrege’s terms). Bruno, in the living way in which he speaks – gestures – about composting, models this awake, aware thinking: The pile is not merely a mechanism or thing composed of thing-like materials, it is on its way to becoming a being, a whole. It needs a proper form, a proper body, just as we do.
There is no “recipe” of a certain amount of “greens” and “browns;” one must rather pay attention and develop a personal relationship to the materials that make up the pile, and to the pile itself as it ages. (“She’s a wise one!” said Bruno of a particularly lovely and mature pile). The pile itself is the teacher, one learns by “taking the truth” and orienting oneself to the living pile and the processes and forces behind it, around it, within it. Answers can be found in the intervals and participations between parts. The four elements are “wonderful helpers” in this process, in seeing the pile as whole. “How are you formed/ing?” is the prevailing attitude, not “Why?” As Bruno describes it, the pile seems more verb than noun, really.
The whole problem is primarily a moral one.
– Ehrenfried Pfeiffer
As the workshop came to a close, we brought our burning questions to the group. What role do we play in the life of the earth? Given the atrocities we’ve committed – the species extinct, the rivers fouled, the land scorched – would not the earth be better off without us? Such a sentiment, though understandable, can only be the result of object thinking. We cannot “opt out” of our participation in nature, regardless of how hard we imagine it to be just a “bunch of things” to which we needn’t have any moral obligation. No, Bruno explained, we must take responsibility. The very act of observation is a moral act, he stressed. Most people, I think, understand this at some level. Even in our intermediated, Facebook-ed world one can still sometimes become aware of and connect with something or someone as they are (as opposed to how we would like them to be). A smile, a certain look, a touch. It becomes harder to distance ourselves once such a connection is made, harder not to feel morally committed. This sense of responsibility, as most farmers know, only increases the more you pay attention, the more you remain true to what you see, the more you become enmeshed in a place. This is why it’s important that the use of land is granted to those who exercise an alive, participatory thinking.
The revolution we so badly need won’t come through new laws or economic policies. No, it will come, in philosopher David Abram’s words, “through a rejuvenation of our carnal sensorial empathy with the living land that sustains us.” It will come through free people paying ever greater attention – little by little, day by day – to the phenomena that surrounds them: carrots, compost, other people. The element that is decisive is human consciousness, human thinking. By the end of the workshop, an image had emerged for me from Bruno’s pictures and gestures. In it, thousands of small farms blossomed across the land, like so many wildflowers in a prairie. Each was a unique, living organism, part of its place; none were the same. Each had a compost pile at its center, its heart. And around these farms myriad beings coalesced, forming through their openness and attention new, living communities, new wholes, new beings.
Jeff Schreiber received a scholarship from the Biodynamic Scholarship Fund to attend “More Humus, More Humanity.” Jeff farms at Three Sisters Community Farm in Campbellsport, Wisconsin, a community-oriented farm serving the greater Milwaukee area.
By Robert Karp
Executive Director, Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association
Some of you may be aware of the storied history of Temple-Wilton Community Farm in New Hampshire, one of the first and most innovative community supported agriculture (CSA) farms in North America. I had the great pleasure to visit the farm this October and wanted to share a report of the growth and progress of this beautiful and important farm.
Started by biodynamic farmers Trauger Groh, Lincoln Geiger, Anthony Graham, and a host of community members in the mid-1980s, the farm is known for pioneering a unique (some would call it “archetypal”) form of CSA, rooted deeply in the social and economic ideas of Rudolf Steiner.
At Temple-Wilton, for example, there is not an equal, evenly distributed share price. Rather, members attend an annual meeting each year to review and discuss the farm’s total budget and decide what amount they each feel they can contribute to that budget. Each member writes down his or her proposed financial offering on a piece of paper; if those sums don’t add up to meet the annual budget, then the members go around again and offer additional sums until the budget is met. The process, in other words, is highly participatory, communal, and transparent.
This model of CSA has so many benefits. First of all, it liberates everyone, farmers and eaters alike, from the notion that they are buying and selling produce. Instead, it fosters the consciousness among the members that they are making gifts to support the continued existence of the farm as a whole and that the produce they receive in return is a gift. But it also models transparency, through the fact that the farm finances and the plans for the farm each year are made completely transparent to the members, who have a chance to give input and raise questions. A true gift economy is thus being developed that harmonizes the different interests and need of the farmers, the land, and the community.
For those who want to find out more about their unique approach to CSA, I strongly encourage you to read “A Brief History of the Farm” on their website, the seminal book Farms of Tomorrow Revisited, and Steven McFadden’s wonderful history of the CSA movement.
I was thrilled to discover on this trip that Temple-Wilton has more and more become a year-round CSA that can meet the bulk of a family’s food needs, offering their members everything from pork, beef, chicken, eggs, raw milk, and cheese to vegetables throughout the year, not to mention fruit, bread, and other products from local affiliated farms. Members can stop by the farm at any time to pick up the food they need.
And consider this: the average contribution to the farm per household of two adults is $200 a month to the farm. Friends, this is not CSA as a trendy addition to one’s lifestyle, this is CSA as a core commitment to one’s health, to the health of one’s local community, and to the health of the planet.
The farm made a strong impression on me. The animals and the fields looked extraordinarily healthy and the whole place smelled wonderful: the perfect balance of the earthly and the cosmic, like fine wine, wonderfully made compost, or fresh-baked bread. How amazing it would be, I thought, to get the majority of one’s food from one vital, self-sustaining biodynamic farm organism. Imagine the impact on one’s health after seven years of nourishing one’s body from such a farm organism and renewing all one’s cells thereby.
It was also wonderful to see how the farm has grown over the last decade. Many new parcels of land have been acquired, making the farm ever more self-sufficient in terms of fertility and feed. All this land has been purchased with gifts from the local community and is secured long term by easements and/or land trust ownership. There is a new café on the farm, which fosters a wonderful social element. The farm is also growing its commitment to farm-based education of children and youth from local schools.
New farmers have also found a home on the farm or in the surrounding community, and this younger generation appears to be playing a stronger and stronger role—starting new enterprises and holding out new visions for the future. I had wonderful meetings, for example, with Brad Miller, who works for High Mowing, a local Waldorf board high school, who is working to secure key additional parcels of land that would allow High Mowing to strengthen its farm-based education programs and provide important additional land for the growth of Temple-Wilton Community Farm.
The impression of the farm and community is thus one of growing maturity—evolving from high-integrity food production through innovative social arrangement to becoming more and more a center for community life and cultural renewal.
I am also deeply gratified to report that I spent a good deal of time with a hale and healthy Lincoln Geiger, who just a year ago had been severely injured by a bull. Lincoln reports that the accident was transformational for his inner life, and he shared deep gratitude for the many people in the biodynamic movement who supported him with their thoughts and prayers. Trauger and Alice Groh are also still intimately involved in the work, nourishing the deep spiritual foundations for the community. They are currently seeking a new farmer for their land; we hope to publish a formal announcement of this opportunity in our forums soon.
Robert Karp is the Executive Director of the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association and a long-time social entrepreneur in the sustainable food and farming movement. Robert has helped start numerous innovative food projects, including CSAs, farmers’ markets, institutional buying projects and farmer-buyer-consumer alliances. He is also the founder of New Spirit Farmland Partnerships, LLC, which helps organic and sustainable farmers acquire farmland by linking them with ethical investors. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with his wife and two children.
By Bruno Follador
Despite the growing awareness of the political and economic drive behind the industrialization of agriculture, seldom is there an in-depth discussion about the mode of consciousness that allowed the development of this mechanized and destructive form of agriculture.
The sustainable agricultural movement, in a way, arose out of the perception of the symptoms and consequences of our disassociation from nature. Innumerable actions and movements are being taken to counter issues like climate change, the honey bee colony collapse disorder, destruction of our forests, and the proliferation of GMOs. Often the symptoms are said to be the cause of the problem. We might have heard that the bees are dying because of the GMOs, pesticides, climate change, etc. But could there be something deeper underlying the tragedy of industrial agriculture and our current environmental and social problems?
I believe that Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, one of the pioneers of biodynamic agriculture, began to address the essence of the problem when he wrote:
“The whole problem is primarily a moral one. Our future depends upon our choice between death forces and life forces; upon whether or not we will return in humility to the soil. The great questions are: Will we return to a philosophy of life which lays stress upon growth? Will our youth be educated in the spirit of growing things, and of service to life? Will they learn that it means more than money to plant our seeds and harvest crops? If the right inner attitude towards the soil penetrates the human race again, a renaissance of rural life will begin, and not only will new resources be created for our population, but spiritually we will be ‘safe’.”
In the light of these words, I have been working with the Biodynamic Association and Michael Fields Agricultural Institute to develop a weekend workshop, More Humus, More Humanity: Insights and Practices out of Biodynamic Agriculture, which will give a historical context of the coming into being of the impulse given by Rudolf Steiner for the renewal of agriculture and what is now called biodynamics. Through the workshop, I will also strive to provide a current context for this work so that its insights and imaginations can come into a practical perspective. A core component of the workshop will be to explore agriculture and biodynamics through Goethean science. We will discuss how Goethean science can deepen our understanding of the current social and ecological crisis, and how we can use it to develop a greater sensitivity towards the nuances and subtleties of our agricultural landscape, farm individuality, Nature, and the movements of our Earth.
The following questions will form our focus: How do I develop an inner organ of discernment as I work and co-create with Nature? How do I become aware of the creative forces of growth in Nature? And how do I begin to take responsibility towards these forces of growth?
At the beginning of twentieth century, Rudolf Steiner was already calling our attention to the fact that “the interests of agriculture are bound up with the broadest spheres of human life…there is practically no field of human endeavor that does not relate to agriculture in some way. Seen from whatever perspective you choose, agriculture touches on every single aspect of human life.”
Biodynamic agriculture is not simply concerned with good nutrition or farming practices that cause the least harm to nature. The agricultural foundations laid by Rudolf Steiner have a deeper significance illustrated beautifully by the German ethnobotanist Wolf D. Storl: “Biodynamics is a human service to the Earth and its creatures.”
So, within this context, this workshop is not only for farmers and gardners but also to anyone interested and concerned with the present and future of our dear Earth and its people.
More Humus, More Humanity: Insights and Practices out of Biodynamic Agriculture will be offered November 1-3, 2013 at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, Wisconsin. For more information and to register, please visit our website.
Bruno Follador has been working in biodynamic composting methods for several years and has worked with farmers in Brazil, Europe and the United States. Bruno received his training in Biodynamic gardening and beekeeping at the Pfeiffer Center, in New York. For the last three years he was one of the researchers and consultants of the Ludolf Andreas Lab for Soil Fertility at Andreashof, a biodynamic farm in Germany, where he worked with compost and chromatography. At the moment he is living between Brazil and the U.S.A where he is consulting at different farms.
By Jeff Schreiber
Originally published in the Three Sisters Community Farm CSA newsletter (Sept. 18, 2013).
At a break-out session of this past year’s biodynamic farming conference, a young couple explained to the group a motivating impulse behind the difficult work of getting their farm up and running. What they really desire, they said, is to give the fruits of their labor to others. They want to offer the things they produce on the farm as a gift to others in their community.
Salty, perhaps, from a couple challenging years of trying to get Three Sisters off the ground while working other jobs and weathering an epic drought, my first thought was to chalk such silly talkup to youthful idealism and naiveté. But these young farmers were sincere, and the group open-minded and encouraging. As we talked more, I realized that this impulse – to selflessly use one’s skills and gifts to meet the needs of others – has been expressed, sometimes in different forms, by many young people I know. Many are farmers or aspiring farmers, but not all. Some are tailors, bakers, or health care workers. Together, I think, they are creating a new, living local economy.
When one works with intention – with love – out of a desire to understand and meet the real needs of others, the result is much different than the result of work done simply to obtain a profit or a wage. Consider the home-cooked meal, lovingly prepared by a friend who knows your dietary likes and dislikes. Far more satisfying – right? – than the hurried, tasteless stuff from the fast-food drivethru.
That home-cooked meal, prepared with love, is of a different quality – it has a different value – than the fast food. And this value is somehow different than monetary value, different than value defined by the market. To put a price on the meal cooked by your friend would diminish it, demean it. Those working out of the impulse of the new economy are interested in providing things like this, things of real value to real people.
And so the gift. To gift is to say: “Here is the product of my unique skills and gifts, the product of love, which I made for you out of an understanding of you and your needs. It has no monetary value; you cannot pay me for it.” It is an attempt to begin to reclaim the many values that have been taken from us, to stop in its tracks the ceaseless commodification of every aspect of our lives.
Of course, the gift is not “free.” In a living economy values are exchanged in direct, trusting relationships. Each party works to meet the needs of the other, and both benefit. Because the farm participates in the money economy to a certain degree, some of our needs are indeed monetary. It’s to meet these monetary needs that we charge a fee for membership in our CSA.
Still, it is important that you know you are not “buying” vegetables through the CSA. Your money (or labor if you’re a worker shareholder) meets our (modest!) needs so that we can put everything we’ve got (and we do) into lovingly producing the highest quality, highest value food we can for you. We take this work very seriously, and are extremely grateful for your support. Enjoy the gift of your vegetables this week!
Jeff Schreiber farms at Three Sisters Community Farm in Campbellsport, Wisconsin, a community-oriented farm serving the greater Milwaukee area.
By Christian Saretzki
Originally published in the Autumn 2013 newsletter of the Biodynamic Association of Northern California (BDANC), this is the first in a series of articles relating to the experiences of what Luke Frey coined “The Agricultural Culinary Folk Arts” (www.freywine.com).
Milk was never appealing. It was rather tasteless and a bit too watery, not to mention the fact that it came in a plastic bag on which the words “homogenized” and “pasteurized” were clearly highlighted. That is part of what I experienced growing up in a big city like Bogota, Colombia. At least, to balance things out, home-made cooking was the norm and grandma’s love for the kitchen could turn any store-bought produce into a delicious meal.
For the past six months I have been working and apprenticing at Luke Frey’s Biodynamic Farm located in Redwood Valley, Northern California where I have been given the task of milking two lovely Jersey cows and turning their milk into a variety of dairy products, especially cheese.
Could raw milk really taste so delicious? Could real butter seem so yellow? Could fresh whey be so sweet? Could the cream that rises to the top be so thick? Could one fall in love with the art of making cheese and devote oneself to tending the wheels as if they were tender living creatures? These are some of the questions that confronted me as I entered into this commonsensical way of living.
The farm also produces an abundance of seasonal vegetables, herbs, and fruits, as well as fresh eggs. Meat is harvested once or twice a year from the different farm animals in a humane and conscious way.
With this vast array of wholesome ingredients, the possibility of creation is limitless and the sacrificial act of cooking and eating brings satisfaction beyond measure. When one sits at a table and beholds the many simple delicacies that have been handcrafted and gathered within an eighth-of-a-mile radius, it becomes a healing experience that nourishes the whole of man, or at least this has been my own experience.
Thus, is not surprising to find that when one participates harmoniously with the stream of life, this has the potential to evolve further through our own efforts. So, in a sense, real alchemy is our fingertips as long as we become familiar and respect the integrity of life and, for this, the farm environment offers an ideal setting for greater learning, enjoyment, and exploration.
By Farmer John Peterson
We do deep tillage on the farm, every vegetable field at least once, sometimes twice per season. Our subsoiler (in some circles referred to as a ripper) penetrates the silty clay soil about 16 inches deep, slicing a channel through it which lets air in to stimulate microbial activity and lets water infiltrate, rather than pool on the surface or run off. In loosening the soil, the tillage machine makes it easier for roots to penetrate and spread out. It takes a lot of power to subsoil (hence the term rip), about 35 horsepower per shank.
Hardened steel points are bolted to the tips of the subsoiler shanks. There is a variety of point styles that a farmer can choose from, depending on how aggressively he wants to loosen and lift the soil. The points we use at Angelic Organics lift the soil just a little, not nearly so much as a mole making a classic burrow in a cartoon.
The subsoiler has coulters mounted on the front that slice through the ground ahead of the shanks, cutting through crop residue that might otherwise plug the machine. Our coulters had become badly worn over the years, so Primo replaced them this past week.
Soil is much softer than steel, yet the soil can shape the steel, wear it down, transform it. It makes one aware of what love can do in hard places.
By Blaire Ladd
The Biodynamic Initiative for the Next Generation (BING) is a project of the Biodynamic Association that creates opportunities for the next generation of farmers, apprentices, educators, activists, and others inspired by biodynamics to connect, share, and learn from one another. Visit the BING page to find out how to get involved, host a meetup, or find relevant resources.
Sitting in the dining room of a modern “farmhouse of the future” was the perfect way to kick off the summer BING meetup. Sarah King, manager of Live Power Farm, and I co-hosted the BING meetup at the summer Biodynamic Association of Northern California (BDANC) conference at Swallow Valley Farm on Saturday, June 22nd. This was the third BING meetup that I’ve hosted this year, all in conjunction with the quarterly BDANC conferences.
BING was first conceived at the Biodynamic Youth Gathering at the 2010 North American Biodynamic Conference in Spring Valley, New York. I did not attend the event, so I cannot tell you how it went, but I did have the honor of going to the 2012 Biodynamic Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, through a scholarship from the Biodynamic Association (BDA). The conference was an amazing experience for me on many levels, and I felt strongly drawn to host meetups because of the inspiration I experienced. I wanted to bring that spirit back to our regional group and help create a pilot for regional BING meetups around the country.
The first meetup was a pilot based on the “toolkit” created by Thea Maria Carlson. Megan Durney at the Pfeiffer Center held a similar pilot meetup this spring in New York. Once we got our results back to Thea, she reviewed our reports and the toolkit was made available for anyone to host with the hope of bringing people together to discuss the ideas that matter.
Our pilot meetup was at the BDANC winter meeting at Frey Vineyards. Fortunately for BING, we were blessed with rain and so the other activity scheduled at the same time (a nature tour) turned into a nature discussion and the BING meetup was larger and more diversified than I had anticipated. Paula Manalo-Gaska from Mendocino Organics and I co-hosted the event. I was a bit nervous since it was the first time I had ever hosted something like this, but we made good use of the resources provided in the BING toolkit and it was a huge success! It has set the pace for all the meetings since. We used poster-size pieces of blank paper with which to draw, write, and sculpt ideas, forming visions of farms and communities for the future, and then shared our insights in a collective harvest. The three main things I learned from the event: talk loudly and confidently, write down a precise and exact schedule, and stick to one topic for a two-hour event.
The BING Meetup Toolkit makes hosting an event easy and straightforward. I have been using two different hosting techniques for the meetups: World Café and Open Space. These conversation “technologies” help to create a comfortable platform to discuss important and sometimes serious or touchy issues. I don’t know why it works so well, but using the World Café Method meeting in small groups of four to five creates a platform for equal participation, open listening, and lots of creativity. The World Café method “is built on the assumption that people already have within them the wisdom and creativity to confront even the most difficult challenges. Given the appropriate context and focus, it is possible to access and use this deeper knowledge about what’s important.” The conversations are “an easy-to-use method for creating a living network of collaborative dialogue around questions that matter in service of the real work.” (This description is from the free, easy guides on the World Café website, which can help you host an event of your own.)
After the first meetup and with the major kinks out of the way, I was ready to host the second meetup at our spring BDANC meeting at my home base, Raphael Garden at Rudolf Steiner College. I had received such great feedback from the previous meeting that BDANC gave BING a whole half-day itinerary with brunch and a 2.5-hour meetup. I wanted this event to try to harness the underlying impulse of our regional group and really know what their focus is in biodynamics. I heard about the topic used at the international BING meetup and knew that this had to be the theme: “What are your burning issues and needs with regard to the biodynamic impulse?” I thought it would be great to bring the international discussion topic to a regional group.
The core BDANC group also requested that BING be one of the main events at the future meetings and asked Sarah King of Live Power Farm, Jesse Pizzitola of First Light Farm, and I to be “Youth Ambassadors” for the group. I feel that BING has shined a light on the idea that the time is now, not down the road, to have the next generation of biodynamic farmers be at the forefront.
For the spring meeting I decided to use World Café and Open Space Technology to dig deep in order to allow people’s personal and important themes to emerge with regard to the biodynamic impulse. I felt this created a very strong dynamic format for developing ideas. I first used two World Café sessions (with groups of four to five people to start the fire in their minds and get the creativity going). Then I had people in groups of two to refine their one burning issue and one burning need. Then as a whole group, we used the wall to group common themes together. Finally, using Open Space Technology, people gathered to find solutions to the themes they were drawn to. (For the timeline and more detailed structure, see Reflections and Lessons Learned from the second California meetup.)
Third Meetup – Summer 2013
At the summer meeting, Sarah and I decided to use the successful format at the last meeting with a couple of small tweaks. She also had the great idea of really trying to hone in on a topic more specific to needs of the next generation of biodynamic farmers. We started the meeting by having everyone say their name and using one word to describe something that inspires them about biodynamics. With about 30 people from all ages and interests in biodynamic agriculture, it was powerful to fill the room with so many inspiring words such as rhythm, compost, cosmos, animals, vitality, etc. Our discussion topic for the meeting was: “How do we support the next generation of biodynamic farmers?” After two World Café sessions, each person came up with one main idea/concern, which were then posted in similar themes on the glass windows overlooking the land. Through that process, four main themes formed. Yet a unifying impulse was “alternative farm communities” as a model for social and economic viability.
Here are some of the ideas:
- Meeting place for health care, education, shelter, nutrition, arts, economics, elder care
- Alternative models to land access, economics, human relationships, health care, exchange of goods, leadership
- “Farm as Heart”
- “Stronger on more legs”
- Commitment to common goals has to be a linking string
- How do we bring land and people who want to create farm communities together?
- Move away from purely economic models
- Diversifying revenue streams through education, crops, therapy medicine, craft products, tourism, etc.
- Cooperative models
- Group living/shared ownership
- Producing more than just food
- Increasing connections to our food and food systems
Through these experiences I have learned that people are really eager to talk to one another, be heard, and truly practice active listening. One of the things I emphasize when explaining the guidelines for World Café or Open Space is the importance of really listening to what someone has to say, because it could be so profound they have no idea. They need you to be there listening to pull it out, write it down, and inspire each other. People are eager to make a shift toward nurturing and caring for the earth and each another. BING helps to create a platform for the next generation of farmers and those who make up their communities to work on growing a future for us all. Definitive solutions and answers have not been the goal — rather putting out the ideas, inspiration, and concerns for something new. Yearning for a connection to one another and nature that is grander and different than what we have now…all this has been was very inspiring. I’m excited for what’s to come next! BING it on!