On a Sunday morning in July, Wendy Crawford set off for the farm Blue Sky Organics to present a practical session of Biodynamic applications. Here she shares some of her experiences.
I had my tool box packed full with the preps in it. I had prepared a set of notes for the 14 participants, and my mind was clear on the various ways in which I can share Biodynamics. And most of all a full and happy heart to feel like a bright agent for pragmatic and pertinent delivery of Biodynamic practices.
The winding dirt road out towards Van Wyksdorp allowed my soul to find inspiration in the geological forms, plant communities, water flows and ecology processes to be observed in this special valley below the Rooiberge.
My inspiration was fuelled by the sense of being so blessed to be a carrier of the special role that Biodynamic farming practices allows a human being to feel a part of. My mind settled confidently into what it is that I could impart to these participants of a composting course that I had not yet met. I could trust the nature of my working knowledge in Biodynamics and my ability to bring this knowledge into relevance for what their interest would allow for. After 30 km of dirt road I turned off to the farm where rows of happy olive trees were my greeting and then some boisterous cows.
getting a lay of the land
The composting course had been in process for a day and my arrival time had been scheduled for their morning tea break. Introductions and a round to hear who they are and what they are busy with allowed me to understand who I would be working with in terms of sharing Biodynamics: 13 participants, mostly active farmers. A cup of olive leaf tea set me in good stead to stride out with the group to the site of action which was a series of some of the most gorgeous compost heaps I have had the pleasure to see.
The composting technique used was superb: alternating layers of manure, semi hardwood prunings and dynamic accumulator plants (yarrow, comfrey, dandelion and other ‘weedy’ greens).
We inserted the preps talking about each one as we went. There was a good balance between discussing the actual making of the preps, the forces behind them as well as their physical action. This was quite a lot to cover. I had in the beginning of the session explained that there are different levels that one can understand Biodynamics through and that in fact it is a life time’s work … but that we would be able to have a broad sweep of it all in this one session.
people of mind, people of spirit
Within the group there were some who wanted to understand it from a scientific and purely
physical point of view, whilst for others the spiritual understandings were easily grasped and the fact that there are forces behind substances. The stirring of the Valerian allowed us to learn about how the field sprays are potentised. A brief discussion followed on the importance of the Field Sprays 500 and 501. I then also discussed the Barrel Compost/Cow Pat Pit.
This ended the session and the group felt happy with the various levels of understanding that each one could accept; and armed with a good set of notes that they could go home and read. Many participants came to thank me saying that for them Biodynamics had become accessible now and they felt excited and inspired by it.
One set of preps was sold and membership forms given to all the participants. A jovial lunch was shared with much local produce and of course gorgeous olive oil from Blue Sky Organics, as well as I`Gadi. (Yes! Gina and Ferdinand were participants on this course! And they were sprouting their excitement for Biodynamics, as well as telling everyone what a fantastic group of people there are – the conference had been only just the weekend before that).
So, all in all it felt like a triumphant day for the spirit and practice of Biodynamics. Liz was genuinely pleased with the session – and I felt a warm camaraderie. She is a powerful person in her networks of being able to be a business woman, an ambassador for sustainable farming, a political agent as well as a farmer. Hats off to Liz Eglington!
Thank you Biodynamic Agricultural Association of South Africa (BDAASA) for making this session possible.
By Wendy Crawford.
Blue Sky Organics supplies garlic to CERES Fair Food. 21 year old Madeline Watts owns and runs two properties (with the help of her family) in East Gippsland where they produce six different varieties of garlic.