The Guardian has a lengthy new article in its "sustainable business" section: "Biodynamic farming is on the rise – but how effective is this alternative agricultural practice?" It focuses on Apricot Lane Farms and opens,
When John Chester, a filmmaker from California, quit his job to become a farmer, he didn’t do it out of a desire to “feed the world”. Instead, he says: “I’m trying to feed my neighbors – and if everyone did that, we would be able to replicate this.”
The article includes extensive comments from Elizabeth Candelario, co-director of Demeter USA, the nonprofit certifier of biodynamic farms and consumer products.
Critics are heard whose point is that biodynamics was not developed using the "scientific method."
While the more spiritual and unconventional aspects of biodynamics don’t appeal to all farmers, for some, a personal connection to the land is crucial to their agricultural practice. “You may find some who practice biodynamic because it is a sound agronomic system that delivers real benefits to the farm like healthier soil, better crops, more vibrant ecology,” Candelario says. “You may also find some biodynamic farmers who would agree with all that plus they may describe their personal relationship with their farm that speaks to a deeper connection with the farm and its place in nature.”
Is the Heart Moved by the Blood, Rather Than Vice Versa?
Walter Alexander has written a concise report for Pharmacy and Therapeutics Community Online on the work of Branko Furst, MD, in The Heart and Circulation: An Integrative Model (2014). It begins with what few lay people may know: that "Attempts to replace failing hearts permanently with fully mechanical ones, after years of experimental and clinical trials, have largely been abandoned because of high patient mortality..."
In the face of the entrenched paradigm that the heart pumps the blood through the body, Dr. Furst "marshals the evidence against the standard propulsion pump model and presents an alternative that may open new avenues for understanding circulation and, ultimately, pharmacotherapy."
The article is available online and an illustrated PDF is available to download. It is written for professionals but is well worth working through.
To challenge the prevailing paradigm in any field is difficult, and in the case of heart function, with its notoriously complex dynamics, myriad of interrelated influencing factors, and vast diagnostic and therapeutic implications, it is a prodigious undertaking. Dr. Furst has provided more than 800 supporting references in his book and the journal article. It is far beyond the scope of this article to fairly represent the range of this content. However, we will attempt to review the basic argument and rationale for such a challenge and give the reader a compass for delving more deeply into the underlying research.
[Update:] The publication in a peer-reviewed journal of this article opposing the “heart-as-pump” model and crediting Rudolf Steiner with its early mention represents a breakthrough to the conventional medical community.
Mon, 21 Nov 2016 | By Christian Boettger
BERLIN (NNA) – At the end of the performance of “Magic Moments - What moves You” on 27 August 2016 in the Komische Oper in Berlin there was rapturous applaus and a standing ovation for the 70 young people from a total of 18 countries throughout the world, the orchestra – the Gnessin Virtuosi Moscow – and the colleagues in the artistic direction. [Read more...]
If you can't go in person to the Biodynamic Association conference in Santa Fe, NM -- Tierra Viva, Farming the Living Earth -- the full conference booklet is now online at issuu.com -- sixty-eight pages of events, workshops, presenters, supporters.
There are eight conference tracks: Biodynamic Basics; Agricultural Wisdom of the Americas; Biodynamics and Healing; Biodynamic Principles and Philosophy; Biodynamic and Regenerative Practices; Community, Justice, and Economics;
Living Soil; and Living Water. Amazing!
We’re in the run-up to the biennial convention of the Biodynamic Association: “Tierra Viva, Farming the Living Earth” at the Santa Fe, NM, Convention Center, November 16-20. “Discover how we can consciously collaborate with our planet to create healthy, living, vibrant landscapes and nourishing food.” And biodynamics continues to gain positive notice in the press worldwide.
At shape.com in the Healthy Eating section Lauren Mazzo contributes “What Are Biodynamic Foods and Why Should You Be Eating Them?” with the subheading: “Long story short: Biodynamic is the new organic, and you need to get behind it, like, yesterday.” A lengthy article based on conversation with certifying agency Demeter’s Elizabeth Candelario, the four reasons given for buying biodynamic are the quality, the nutrition, the farmers, and the planet. “Demeter has 200 certified entities in the [USA]. About 160 are farms and the rest are brands, growing by about 10 percent per year, says Candelario.”
Biodynamic vineyards are a main driver of press attention. Both Forbes magazine and the New York Times have just published laudatory reports. In Forbes, Tom Mullen based in France’s Bordeaux region explains “Why Biodynamic Wine is the Future.” In the Times, Danielle Pergament has written “The Italian Winemakers’ Cult” for the Travel section, with the subhead: “Is the best way into the world of Italian wine with farmers who say things like 'our work is to enter the rhythm of the planets’?” “Sebastian Nasello, the winemaker at Podere Le Ripi in Montalcino, explained it this way: 'Organic farming does no harm to the earth. Biodynamic farming aims to make the earth healthier.’”
The advanced student of anthroposophy faces Rudolf Steiner’s advice that alcohol has served its purpose in human evolution and becomes an obstacle to developing higher perceptual faculties. Healing the Earth one small vineyard at a time is still an inspiring picture. — John Beck
After a nationwide search process and interviews of several candidates by the Leadership Team and General Council, Laura Scappaticci has been selected as Director of Programs for the Anthroposophical Society in America. Laura will serve with Deb Abrahams-Dematte and Katherine Thivierge on the Society’s Leadership Team.
Laura has worked in adult education for the past 15 years, creating programs and events for communities of learners. She recently served as the Dean of Student Life at Rudolf Steiner College. She has a BA in English and an MEd in School Counseling.
Before moving to California, Laura established a thriving anthroposophical study group in Pennsylvania that offered events to the wider community. She has managed the festivals and events at Cedar Springs Waldorf School in California where her husband is a grades teacher.
Laura describes a core interest as “investigating the ways anthroposophy informs and elevates today's individuals, while connecting with contemporary cultural innovations and concerns.” She brings an open, enthusiastic approach to programming and membership to her new position.
The Council and Leadership Team wish to thank Marian Leon for the foundations she has created in programs over many years, and Elizabeth Roosevelt for her service as Interim Program Director since June. They are also grateful to a number of well qualified applicants for taking the time to share their background and interest in the position.
— Carla Beebe Comey, Chair, for the Council and Leadership Team
The summer-fall issue of our being human magazine is being delivered now to members by the postal service. It has wonderful work from three poets, a remarkable and timely gallery, much ado about Shakespeare, and, as they say, much much more.
This issue is also available now in electronic formats. As noted above, a special format is designed for viewing on "small devices" like phones and tablets. This same version, however, can be viewed on a pc or laptop screen with very large type. We hope that's a help to those who have trouble reading the printed edition.
Finally, we're inviting people to take a three-minute survey so we can better understand your media preferences.
Comments or questions? Thank you!
The July-August edition of Anthroposophy Worldwide is available online. Some of the many interesting reports:
- The Social Sciences Section has a new, solo leader; one of Gerald Häfner's first actions was to participate in the June Reimagining America conference in Kimberton, PA
- The Medical Section has recently sponsored a World Eurythmy Therapy Conference ("Forces involved in forming the body") and an Early Childhood Conference ("The importance of adults for young children")
- The Section for Agriculture has a new Coordination Center for Nutrition
- Brazil has chosen a trio of General Secretaries: anthroposophic physicians Sonia Setzer and Derblai Sebben and social activist Ute Craemer; and the USA has chosen John Bloom to succeed Torin Finser
- India has seen another large Waldorf teacher training event in Khandala
- Germany reports an innovative meditation circle
- The Goetheanum Leadership held its annual retreat, pondering the "existential threat to ‘I’ development"
- The Education Section sponsored a conference for religion teachers on universally human aspects of Christianity
- An assessment of the Goetheanum's extensive art collection has led to an urgent appeal for support in improving its care
- A sculptor is designing arts to climb on
The Waldorf Educational Foundation has awarded a grant of $15,000 to the Anthroposophical Society in America that will enable the society’s national research and lending library, the Rudolf Steiner Library in Hudson, New York, to offer free one-year individual memberships to Waldorf school faculty and staff, Waldorf teacher trainees, and parents of Waldorf school students at any of the Waldorf schools and teacher training centers in the continental United States, for the period September 1, 2016, through August 31, 2017.
The Rudolf Steiner Library has 19,000 titles, with 2300 resources on Waldorf education and child development, including books, periodicals, DVDs, and audio-recordings, with multiple copies of many works available for lending. The library also has thousands of resources that support the Waldorf curriculum, including materials in the arts, history, literature and fairy tales, religion and festivals, and the sciences.
The General Council and Leadership Team have announced to members that the next General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America will be John Bloom of San Francisco. John is Vice President, Organizational Culture, of RSF Social Finance (formerly the Rudolf Steiner Foundation). He will begin a four-year term at the fall conference and Annual General Meeting, October 6-9, 2016. The letter to members is linked here.
A monthly eurythmy workshop with Linda Larson plus special events have long been a feature of the programs at Anthroposophy NYC. Marta Stemberger has been offering programs in the city along with emails, one of which shared the following description of this new art:
“As I’m talking about eurythmy at various holistic bazaars and trade fairs in New York City, many are intrigued about this movement art, and one gentleman called it ‘social yoga.’
“Yes, one can see some aspects of yoga in eurythmy, and much more. Eurythmy harmoniously blends movement meditation, social yoga, social tai chi, sacred dance, sacred geometry, esoteric astrology, spatial and kinesthetic awareness, poetry appreciation, musical sensibility, to name just a few ingredients. Rudolf Steiner, who developed eurythmy in the 1910s and 1920s, created a rich set of tools that allow us to make speech and music visible through movement.
“People also ask: ‘Why would one do this particular movement art?’ Let me share with you a short list of the benefits that I’ve personally experienced in myself and others:
- Balance your thoughts, feelings, actions
- Harmonize all dimensions of your earthly existence
- Cultivate spatial and kinesthetic awareness
- Enhance your capacity for creative problem-solving
- Experience the soothing unity of people moving together
- Nourish your life forces for increased well-being
- Increase your overall grace and flow
- Elevate your vibrations to feel peaceful
- Relax and dissolve stress
“If you are in New York City, you can join me in eurythmy circles on a monthly and weekly basis.”
Location: Chestnut Ridge, NY
Threefold Auditorium, Chestnut Ridge, NY. Donations welcome. [more]
Location: Hudson, NY
An Inner Work Path Workshop with Lisa Romero [more]
Location: Chestnut Ridge, NY
offered by Jennifer Brooks Quinn and Brigitte Bley Swinston on four Saturdays April 1, 23, 29, May 14 [more]
Location: Red Hook, NY
Sponsored by the Avalon Initiative of the Hawthorne Valley Center for Social Research [more]
Location: Chestnut Ridge, NY
With Mac Mead [more]
For more than a century the weekly verses of Rudolf Steiner's Calendar of the Soul have been a valued guide to the interplay of inner development with the outer seasons. Since the date of Easter is mobile, however, the dates for the verses need to be adjusted annually. Herbert Hagens has share his approach for many years, and you can download it here for 2016-17.
Parent-Teacher Relationships in a Waldorf School. In this new webinar Torin Finser looks at "some of the larger archetypes, the larger pictures that stand behind our work as parents and teachers in a world that is, increasingly, challenging us, particularly in the realm of human relationships and world politics and social issues," along with the opportunities to rise to our higher self. - Torin chairs the education department of Antioch University Northeast and is general secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America.
[ View online here or download to enjoy later. ]
Read more and see pictures on the RSL blog.
Interim Librarian Judith Kiely writes, "Yes, our library is back. And we couldn’t have done it without the generous and capable support of all our volunteers. In the six weeks from when we moved into our new location in Hudson, NY on November 10, 2015 until the Christmas holidays, nineteen volunteers from the community worked to get the library up and running... The total hours people contributed over those 6 weeks was 120!
"Thank you to all of our volunteers: Ann Finucane, Raimond Flynn, William Furse, Branko Furst, Caroline Gordon, Karin Haldeman, Mary Haley, Mary Linda Harrington, Seth Jordan, Tom Jordan, Emma Kiely, PatRick Kiely, Martin Miller, Tommy Moore, Christina Porkert, Maggie Paholak, Tim Paholak, Nathaniel Williams, and Jen Zimberg."
What is the ongoing background of research behind the growing biodynamic agriculture movement? Along with the work of each farm and farmer, and of the Biodynamic Association, there is the activity of the Agriculture Section of Rudolf Steiner's School for Spiritual Science.
Sherry Wildfeuer, who represents this section on the School's North American Collegium, has written about what it means to be a member of this section. [ Read the article here. ]
A report posted by the Stanford Graduate School of Education reviews the accomplishments of a K-8 school in Sacramento, CA, that has been working with Rudolf Steiner's educational approaches. The Alice Birney School, says the report,
a public K-8 school of choice within the Sacramento City Unified School District, provides a powerful example of an alternative educational approach within a public system. Rather than focusing on preparation for standardized tests, Waldorf students are deeply involved in a full range of expressive arts – ranging from watercolors and music to knitting and physical activity; they learn science by gardening and investigating natural phenomena, mathematics by designing and building things of practical value, history from studying biography and the human meaning of historical events, English language arts by writing their own books and extended accounts of what they are learning. The school’s attention to comprehensive student development, including their social-emotional, physical and artistic development has profoundly shaped its graduates into young adults.
The report notes that "the terms Waldorf®, Waldorf-Inspired®, Steiner®, and Rudolf Steiner® are registered trademarks of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America." AWSNA has licensed the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education to use the service-mark "Public Waldorf". Thanks to Janna Beckett for sharing the link. [ Read the full report. ]
Founded by Rudolf Steiner, the Anthroposophical Society supports individuals in working on inner development and in bringing its fruits to benefit the world. More...
Anthroposophical Society in America
1923 Geddes Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1797
Email: info (at) anthroposophyorg