Skip to content

A Watershed Moment: The 2012 Biodynamic Conference

December 10, 2012

By Rebecca Briggs

Communications Coordinator, Biodynamic Association


Sacred objects shared by attendees, with view over Lake Monona

As we return to our individual towns, farms, gardens, organizations, and lives after the 2012 Biodynamic Conference, we continue to contemplate the truly extraordinary community that came together for five days in Madison, Wisconsin. Those of us involved with the Biodynamic Association — staff, board, volunteers — feel utterly humbled by the astounding energy and commitment of the 700+ attendees who came from all over North America (and beyond!).  

In purely practical terms, this conference far exceeded our wildest aspirations, not to mention our prior logistical experience. Hoping to achieve what we considered to be an ambitious 30% increase over our 2010 attendance, we instead doubled it, maxing out the space at the convention center! We were blown away to see the true national — indeed continental — representation there, as well as the broad ranges of ages and occupation. One of the most thrilling moments came when we realized how many newcomers had been drawn to learn about biodynamics and sacred agriculture: a majority raised their hands when Executive Director Robert Karp asked who was at a biodynamic conference for the first time. We heard again and again from newcomers who felt drawn to travel to Madison because it just “felt like something they should know about.”  


Deb Crockett demonstrates the differences between conventional and biodynamic soils during a pre-conference workshop at Angelic Organics Farm and Learning Center

Whether newcomer or experienced practitioner, the conference offered many paths for learning more about biodynamics, from both practical and spiritual perspectives. Approximately 150 people attended pre-conference events at Angelic Organics Farm and Learning Center, such as intensive full-day workshops with Farmer John Peterson on the social organism of the farm and with Tom Spaulding, Deb Crockett, Dana Burns, and renowned biodynamic beekeeper Gunther Hauk on farm-based education. Many gatherings occurred before the conference as well, bringing together groups such as farmer-mentors, biodynamic apprentices, and biodynamic researchers to connect with and learn from each other. Forty-eight workshops at Monona Terrace provided a plethora of opportunities for education and inspiration, ranging from dairy farming to water dynamics to sacred urban gardens. Supplementing all these educational offerings were the inspirational keynotes offered by a panel of leading biodynamic farmers on how they put sacred agriculture into practice on their own farms, by Charles Eisenstein on the spiritual crisis in our economic system, and by Dennis Klocek on the practice of sacred agriculture. Add to this picture the more than forty exhibitors, the locally sourced organic and biodynamic foods, the biodynamic research poster session, the open space networking and sidewalk consulting, the celebratory evening of sacred stories and songs, the rambunctious dancing, the stunning lakeside setting of Monona Terrace…and, well, it’s hard to convey it all!


Stirring the biodynamic preparations in a pre-conference workshop with Hugh Courtney and Lloyd Nelson

But the true meaning of the event, the long-term import, goes well beyond numbers and statistics. We have heard from so many about the spirit and energy that was palpable there. Many of us came away with a new understanding of biodynamics’ place in the world. Through the theme of this conference, we introduced the concept of “sacred agriculture” to the world, and the response was overwhelming and positive. We see tremendous desire for creating a sacred relationship with the earth, and a feeling from newcomers almost of a homecoming, or perhaps of a home-“finding”.  

Finally, we extend our utmost gratitude to all the conference attendees, presenters, exhibitors, and sponsors — who quite literally made the event what it was.  

As we work to take the momentum of this event into the future, we find ourselves pondering how best to serve the energy that coalesced at this conference. We get the sense that this was a watershed event, that biodynamics is maturing into a new space and reality, capable of embracing and inspiring many people, perspectives, and sacred traditions. We look forward to the next steps in the journey.

For a slideshow of more photos from the conference, click here.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 25, 2012 9:20 am

    Dear true farmers,
    It is very welcome that biodymanic farming has taken the assertive step to call themselves Sacred Agriculture. The term biodynamic was always tainted by the stigma attached by the industrial big boys as a witched and wicked type of backyard hippie farming. Now we can say that they have to show how sacred they are ….
    On these grounds they are more in the field of sacrilege towards Mother Earth and Humanity.
    This should not be just an Initiative,it must be the way it is: sacredness.
    It is about time that we come out of the closet.
    Especially that the closet was made by the “Inquisition” style of the mainstream industrial agriculture. To be a sacred agriculture servant or steward is equal to priesthood, with no other strings attached other than our personal link to Spirit and the Greater Good.

    We are also using the broad term of agroecology practices for the very same purpose.
    We believe that there is immense power in using some words and not others.
    So this is playing tune together, Agroecology – Sacred Agriculture , so that we send a clear and unobtrusive message to whom it may concern
    From South Africa with support-
    With Respect
    Thierry Alban Revert

  2. January 8, 2013 4:28 pm

    Thank you

  3. steven c permalink
    January 19, 2013 6:41 am

    no one hates you. they only think you’re crazy because you cant prove how it works. In no way am i doubting that it works, just need a little less “cult” mentality. thank you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: