At Duchy Home Farm the Biodynamic Education Centre has presented the Foundation Course on biodynamic growing,
and Garden Organic Ryton will soon open its first biodynamic display garden.
When Garden Organic's patron HRH The Prince of Wales visited Australia last year, he met with biodynamic farmers to discuss this increasingly popular approach to agriculture. Following on from The Prince of Wales’s visit, Lynette West, an Australian teacher who has spent the past 15 years devising a student curriculum for biodynamic agriculture, recently presented the Foundation Course at the Duchy Home Farm.
The course was a resounding success, and Lynette has the opportunity to teach the course next year. In addition, she is featuring in a documentary about biodynamic gardening at Garden Organic.
Transforming organic matter into humus, enlivening the soil through use of the biodynamic preparations, and working in harmony with the rhythms of nature are just some of the subjects covered by the Biodynamic Education Centre Foundation Course recently conducted at the Duchy Home Farm.
According to Liz Ellis, course participant and member of the Biodynamic Council of the UK Biodynamic Association the Foundation Course was a ‘revelation’.
Liz went on to explain, ‘It encompasses all aspects of biodynamics – the etheric, the philosophical, and the practical. The course brought together participants from a range of backgrounds: allotment holders, farmers, gardeners, someone from the Blackthorn Trust – a real mixture but all with an enthusiasm for biodynamics. If you have the time and opportunity to go on any of her (Lynette’s) courses, I hope you would find the experience as much of a revelation as I did.’
Drawing from 20 years of practical experience in the biodynamic method for both large scale agricultural systems and smaller scale gardening systems, Lynette West developed the Foundation Course to be information intensive as well as enjoyable.
Lynette’s expertise was enthusiastically received during her visit to the UK. As well as the opportunity to run another course at the Duchy Home Farm next year, she was asked to train the garden staff at Garden Organic – and the process was filmed for a documentary about biodynamics.
Under biodynamic principles, a farm is treated as a single entity. The farmer works to create balance and harmony between the different elements, while restoring the soil’s micro-activity.
‘Biodynamics is fundamentally about building life energy,’ says Lynette. ‘In conventional agriculture, soil is treated as a medium in which plants are held upright. Fertilisers are used to add nutrition. But in biodynamics, the life of the soil is critical. Biodynamics uses the same methods as organic farming to restore the soil, but importantly, it also uses the unique biodynamic preparations to stimulate the microbial activity of the soil and to balance life forces in the soil and atmosphere.’
The Biodynamic Education Centre will be returning next year to conduct three courses.
For more information contact Biodynamic Education Centre phone 61 2 6297 2729 or www.biodynamiceducation.com