Finding Inspiration at the Biodynamic National Conference
By Leslie Loy, Director of WeStrive
Excerpt from the WeStrive October 2010 eNews
I’ve just returned from spending a lovely autumn Friday at the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association’s Annual National Conference in Spring Valley, New York. Literally, I arrived home about a half hour ago and was so inspired by what I encountered in my brief hours there that I had to write to you and spread my enthusiasm and joy: people are amazing!
The morning began with a remarkable story from Michael Schmidt, who told how a bull catapulted him across a span of thirty to forty feet and how, as he flew through the air in “slow motion,” Michael realized that he had to pull himself together and continue his work advocating for Food Rights (this work subsequently led to him leading the way for people’s access to raw milk in Canada). Michael’s talk was followed by workshops on everything from biodynamic preps to community supported agriculture initiatives to seed sharing. The speakers and workshop leaders were unquestionably experts in their fields (quite literally), and spoke openly about their experiences and their research. It was this last point that truly awakened me: right there before my eyes I saw some of the biodynamic movement’s leading farmers sharing and exploring their questions with each other; these farmers were giving us a glimpse into their processes, posing real inquiries into the nature of land stewardship and soil enhancement and revitalization—and we were all witness to portions of their methods!
Something in this activity struck me: in those moments, authentic research was taking place. People asked vital questions, placing themselves on precarious limbs with their ideas and hypotheses. They were willing to ask the difficult questions, to acknowledge the need for more exploration and were eager to engage and share with others—novices and experts alike—their work. This kind of companionable investigation is inspiring—because it demonstrates that each human being is capable of genuine investigation and study; if we focus our ideas, hone our questions and sharpen our thinking, and commit ourselves to our work, we, too, can make some significant observations and examinations of the world around us. Sometimes we just need a little nudge.