Dan McKanan: Anthroposophy and Environmentalism: Four Gifts

Fall and Winter issue 2016/17 "Biodynamics"

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.

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Specific quality in nutrition

Dr. Jasmin Peschke. Picture: Verena Wahl

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

06/28/17

Activity Report of the Section 2016/17

Te team from left to right: Therese Jung, Ueli Hurter, Verena Wahl, Jasmin Peschke, Jean-Michel Florin

Look back with us at an eventful time. New themes, well-attended events and two major projects (on seed and on biodynamic preparations), made our work from spring 2016 to spring 2017 varied and exciting.

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06/14/17

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

Picture by Christian Kessler

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

The speaker Sundeep Kamath. Picture: Heini Heer

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

Jasmin Peschke, Leader of the Coordination Centre for Nutrition at the Section for Agriculture (Foto: Michèle Melzer)

(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)goetheanum.ch, phone: +41 (0)61 706 4132

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

  • Conference Report.pdfReport of the Agriculture Conference 2016 "Our earth - a global garden?" for download.

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.