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Ambassadors’ News

May 2013

The Biodynamic Ambassadors project aims to support biodynamic pioneer projects and graduates from biodynamic trainings by bringing them together. Graduates go to work for a year at a Pioneer farm, and are supported to do so by the Project office. Two Biodynamic Ambassadors are currently at work, one in India and one in South Africa.

Melchior Pfeil who is placed at Inba Sewa Sangam, a biodynamic school in India describes his day:

“The day at school starts at 6am. We start with a morning prayer, meditation and gymnastics to establish a balance between body, soul and spirit. Then we work for an hour on the school farm, before breakfast. The food is vegetarian and for breakfast we have vegetables, rice and coconut chutney. Then we have theoretical lessons until 5pm, with a lunch break that includes an hour for resting. Last week I was asked to teach dairy farming. It was a lot of work to prepare the class, based on my German notes that had to be translated. But then it was very rewarding to see the grateful faces of the students who felt they had learnt something really important. In the evening we spend another hour working on the farm and we end the day with a reading group, in which students read to each other books on biodynamic farming practices.”

 

Sandy Bradley reports from his experience at Abalimi in South Africa:

“I sorted the visa out with an invitation letter from Rob. Arrived in South Africa in the first week of February and have been working with Abalimi in the townships one or two days a week. I have observed most of the garden centers, basic training courses, community gardens and a few home gardens who sell their excess vegetables through the Abalimi veg box scheme; called the Harvest of Hope. I help pack the vegetables and interact with the main farmers on their busy day.

Rob has now teamed me up with one of the only young men (named Xolisa) who is consistently applying his learning in his home garden. Presently, it is our collective hope that we can start a biodynamic movement throughout the townships, with a good demonstration at Xolisa’s garden. I have visited two Steiner eco-villages, some fruit farms and have been learning about the regional flora and fauna from local books, parks and witch doctors.”

At the moment there are 6 accredited Pioneer Projects waiting to host a Biodynamic Ambassador. 5 more projects have applied and are awaiting accreditation by the project office. For more information about the Biodynamic Ambassadors Project click here.

ambassadors

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beijing: US auto stalwart Ford announced today a USD 756 million investment with its Chinese joint venture to produce electric cars, just as US President Donald Trump arrived in for thorny trade talks.

BINGN at Det Andre Forumet in Oslo, April

Laura Klemme and Clemens Gabriel will present BINGN and BING global on Saturday the 6th of  April, 14.00 – 17.00 at Westerdals Kantina, Oslo. Click here for the invitation!

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Biodynamic Ambassadors

Do you already know about the Biodynamic Ambassadors project?

The Agriculture Section in Dornach is running the project “Biodynamic Ambassadors” which gives you the opportunity to experience and support biodynamic farming abroad. For one year, you will work in a pioneer project and become familiar with it and the surrounding local culture. At the last Agriculture conference a meeting about the project took place. You can read an artical about this meeting below. For more informations about the ambassadors visit the homepage of the Agriculture Section here.

Biodynamic Ambassadors
Meeting during the Agriculture Conference 2013

On Thursday the 7th of February the Biodynamic Ambassadors project held an open information & exchange meeting as part of the International Biodynamic Conference happening at the Goetheanum in connection with the annual Agriculture Conference.

Only a small room was available to meet, as the Goetheanum was crowded with farmers and other people from the biodynamic movement. But we managed to squeeze the 20 participants in, together with the three staff members of the project office, Ambra Sedlmayr, Tobias Jäger and Reto Ingold.

The meeting started with a presentation round of all participants. Some were farmers hoping to find young skilled helpers, others were young biodynamics students considering a year abroad and there where those generally interested in the idea or who wanted to contribute to make Biodynamic Ambassadors a successful project. All participants agreed that the idea to connect freshly graduated biodynamic farmers /gardeners with pioneer projects abroad is a great idea!

After the presentation of participants, the project was introduced in detail: What are biodynamic Pioneer Projects? What is the role of a Biodynamic Ambassador? And why do we need a Project office?

Jakes Jayakaran from a biodynamic school initiative in India shared his experiences in hosting the first Biodynamic Ambassador in India. The main point the host made was that the culture shock for the Ambassador had been significant. We discussed the preparation of Ambassadors in terms of cultural integration. There were varying views about how one could best be prepared for the cultural difference encountered on the pioneer project. Some thought the Ambassador should have a thorough ethnographic preparation while others thought it was best not to be prepared at all and to be totally open to experience and understand the other culture in an unprejudiced way. At the moment, Ambassadors are prepared in seminars by the Friends of Waldorf Education, learning generally about cultural differences and integration and being given guidance to do their own research.
Later Ladina Heldstab spoke about her experience as a volunteer in one of our Pioneer projects in Tunisia. It was striking that even though she spoke about many challenges she met, for example as a woman in an Islamic rural community, her eyes were shining as she spoke and she repeatedly said she would like to go again and for longer. It seemed that by meeting the challenges, she established deep personal connections and acquired new capacities and skills that she can now be proud of. On her host farm they are certainly proud of her, as they refer to her as the fastest worker they have ever seen.

The meeting ended with a number of questions. How can the cultural integration of Ambassadors best be accompanied by the Pioneer Projects? Could people from Brazil come to Europe to be Ambassadors here?  Would it be possible for an „senior farmer“ to become a short-term Ambassador?

It is clear that there is much work to be done to increasingly connect people from the biodynamic movement who can offer support with those who need it, and in a way in which both sides and the entire movement are strengthened.

by Ambra Sedlmayr

Project office Biodynamic Ambassadors

Section for Agriculture at the Goetheanum

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BING Global workshop!

By Thea Maria Carlson, Laura Klemme, and Clemens Gabriel

 

On the last day of the 2013 International Biodynamic Agriculture Conference in Dornach, the newly formed BING global invited participants to a “meeting of the young biodynamic movement.”

The Biodynamic Initiative for the Next Generation (BING) concept was first developed by the North American Biodynamic Association and was launched at the Youth Gathering at the 2010 Biodynamic Conference. BING’s goal is to create opportunities for the next generation of farmers, apprentices, educators, activists, and others inspired by biodynamics to connect, share, and learn from one another. Inspired by this initiative, four young women started the  Biodynamic Initiative for the New Generation Nordic (bingn) in February of 2012.

In June, bingn organizer Laura Klemme began conversations with Thea Maria Carlson, coordinator of BING in North America, and Clemens Gabriel, a member of the German group “young and biodynamic,” about collaborating to create a global initiative, which we have called

Large circle

Large circle

BING global. (See Thea’s blog post from December 2012 for more on these conversations.) The vision of BING global is to build a network of people engaging in biodynamic imessage for android agriculture all over the world. We want to create spaces for encounter, exchange, and inspiration, to explore the big questions facing the new generation of the biodynamic movement: What is the future asking of us? How can we prepare biodynamic agriculture for the future? The meeting at the 2013 conference was the first event organized by BING global.

Forty-five participants from all over the world followed the invitation and met on Saturday afternoon at the Goetheaum’s Schreinerei. We began with one-on-one conversations, sharing our burning issues and needs with regard to the biodynamic impulse. Then each person wrote down one burning issue and one need and posted them on the wall, clustering similar needs and issues together.

issues-needs2

Posting issues and needs

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Burning issues

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open Space Groups

Open space groups

 

 

Needs

Needs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An emerging thread seemed to appear in three parts:

  1. A movement from the outer into biodynamics: Is biodynamics “my” thing at all? What do I want? What is my “mission”?
  2. A struggle inside biodynamics: What kind of thinking lives in biodynamic agriculture that brings us closer to it? How to adapt biodynamics and take it to everyone?
  3. And the step from the inside of biodynamics out in the world again: How can biodynamic farms be in community/society? How to bring producer/farmer and consumer together? How to raise awareness of biodynamic agriculture?

The wish to work on individual development as well as working/sharing with people outside the farm was also strongly present in the participants.

From the nearly 100 ideas gathered on the wall, we identified several themes for conversation: training/networking/organization, economy and society, South and Central America, farm and society, and individual development. Working in open space groups, chromecast.com/setup participants were asked to clarify a need and then identify a first step toward a solution.

Farm and society group

Farm and society group

Latin America Group

Latin America group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before closing the meeting, each group shared from their conversation, summarized here:

OPEN SPACE GROUPS

Theme Needs Solutions/First steps

Training, networking, organizations

Communication

Opening the biodynamic movement

Share practical experience

What content to share?

Network, public relationships to share with outside

Criticism to the inside

Go deeper within movement

Responsibility for deepening the spiritual work

Economy and society

Economic and social forms based on the farm to support society

Need more time, but working toward cooperative economy based on the farm

South and Central America

Professional training in Latin America

Create structure

Farm and Society (Group I)

People need to care about what they put in their body – interest in where food comes from

Farmers need to go out into society

Non-farmers meeting farmers

Farmers cultivate interest in the “urban” issues

Consumers and children come to the farm

Farmers as teachers

Build relationships between farms and schools

Non judgment

Farm and Society (Group II)

Find our identity

Discover who we are as a farmer and farm individuality

Go outside and show it

Individual

Enthusiasm fades

Insecurity about organizing live

Still looking for solutions

However, with only 75 minutes for the entire meeting (and about 15 for these conversations), the most important need of the participants in the closing plenary was “More time!!”

So: Where will the next generation of biodynamic farmers and enthusiasts meet and get the chance to raise and work on these existential questions? BING global will try to find solutions and work on this task: to create spaces where inspired individuals can meet and work together to encounter the future of biodynamics.

Want to get involved with BING global? Please get in touch with Thea, Laura or Clemens!

Alliances for the Next Generation

Read Thea Maria Carlson’s reflections from the 2013 International Biodynamic Conference here

Thea Maria Carlson is the Education Program Coordinator for the Biodynamic Association. She is a farmer, organizer, educator, and artist with roots in California and the Midwest, where she currently lives.
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