Biodynamic Farming and the Sacred
The 2012 Biodynamic Conference: Sacred Agriculture
By Gayl Creutzberg
What an opportunity to be among 700 others seeking to understand the sacred in agriculture, while filled with a passion for agriculture and real food! A powerful center for consciousness shifting was created at the 2012 Biodynamic Conference, and I can only imagine the ripple effect it had. It just so happens that my research topic for my Nuffield scholarship is also about the sacred in food and farming.
My research asks: If we, as a society, began to recognize the sacred in food again as traditional cultures did, could we improve the health of our communities, by addressing the issues of low nutrient density in grocery store food, the epidemic of diabetes across the nation, and create jobs for youth in food and farming?
Never before have I been in an environment where I could talk about the unseen, that which connects us all, with people I had never met before. There I was in Wisconsin in November 2012, just two weeks before being officially awarded by scholarship in Charlottetown, PEI, where every conversation and workshop was about that which few of us dare talk about. Rarely are we in the company of others back home where we could talk about these subjects, and here we were surrounded by 700 other like-minded people.
One of my best experiences from the conference was learning the language to communicate these ideas. It’s great to have this knowledge and acquire a greater understanding, but when we can put words to knowing about an unseen order, to rhythms and cycles in nature, we are empowered to communicate our ideas to others and to create greater understanding within the communities in which we live.
Exposing our deepest thoughts and musing with people we barely know in a conference setting brings out an authenticity that is rarely experienced. We realize that our journey is shared in a similar way by many. And we grow ourselves.
I had a very personal experience at the Biodynamic Conference. Although I have gathered with BD farmers for over 10 years, I had never been able to capture the undercurrent, the pulse, the energy, or the understanding that is BD farming. I therefore remained detached. A few weeks before attending the conference, I attended a BD 101 workshop at the farm of one of the conference speakers. Ah-hah! I get it! I acquired a basic understanding of the workings of BD. I learned about the importance of the cow, about intent, about silica, and about horn manure. This started to satisfy my scientific mind.
Then, at Dennis Klocek’s intensive on Thursday afternoon in Wisconsin, I was sent soaring into a whole new dimension. There was a man, the same age as my father, talking about biodyamics, cosmic rhythm, and the aurora borealis, the latter subject being what my father, as a physicist, had spent his entire career researching, but never with an awareness of the “something greater.” Perhaps it was my father’s innate quest for the sacred that lead him into researching such a phenomenon as the aurora borealis. Devoid of any exposure to the spiritual for most of my life, I stepped back in time, filling myself with what I have hungered for, for so long – the sacred and my desire to talk about these unseen things with my father, which was never possible. As Dennis Klocek presented, he became my father, telling me not only about the miraculous physical phenomena in our skies, but about working in harmony with the unseen order or interconnectedness of all things within a greater whole. Work becomes sacred when we are honoring the patterns, the cycles, and the rhythms of nature, he said, all of this being manifestations of cosmic rhythm on earth.
As I continue on with my research topic and my 10 weeks of global travel “required” by the Nuffield scholarship (aw shucks!), I have started to redefine my quest, with new language. As was presented by Steffen Schneider of Hawthorne Valley Farm at a workshop during the conference, if Ag 1.0 is peasant/traditional agriculture, and Ag 2.0 is industrial/patented agriculture, what does Ag 3.0 look like? The 2012 Biodynamic Conference on Sacred Agriculture hinted at many clues, but there is more, much more! Stay tuned.
For over 10 years, Gayl has been collaborating on food and farming initiatives, including farmer training and regional local food branding. Since 2006, she has researched models for accessing and distributing local food, after owning and operating a local food deli and operating a sheep farm for 6 years. Now, she is launching an online farmers’ market at www.gumbootgourmet.com, where farmers market themselves online to an expanding consumer base looking for nutrient dense food direct from the farmer. As a 2013 Nuffield Scholar, Gayl will be travelling globally and studying whether community agriculture can help restore the health of Canadian communities. She is driven by a passion for access to local nutrient dense food, helping farmers market their products and ensuring the economic well-being of rural communities. Follow her blog at www.farmviability.wordpress.com.