For decades I've been fascinated by one approach to tending the land.
Biodynamic agriculture and horticulture, also known as biodynamics or
BD, has a strong foundation of organic husbandry and the results are
increasingly valued both ecologically and gastronomically. But the
defining biodynamic techniques are currently off the scientific map: 'preparations' are
spread on the land or put in compost, planting is
done after considering the position of the Moon Sun and planets,
and weed or pest peppers
are created to mitigate damage! Hmmmm....
Over this time I have been caught in a tension between feeling
in my gut that something was 'right', but not finding it easy to use
my rational filters to evaluate the means to these ends.
I assume I am not alone in having this dilemma.
I recognise the limited
nature of statistics but those same rational
filters crave carefully analysed experimental data as a 'reality check'.
Unfortunately, BD researchers have not, yet, come to unanimous
conclusions. For this reason I considered it a reasonable idea to collate and bring structure to the results that growers have had when applying biodynamic techniques.
Few of us can and will devote ourselves to sufficient diligent experimentation
Kolisko or Maria
Thun. However, we might each be
able to share a little as part of a bigger team. In this way we might
achieve conviction ourselves and perhaps be convincing for others.
Considera was originally created to collate and evaluate star-plant
experiences, and then pest
and weed peppering but these two initiatives seem to have attracted little interest. However, Considera has collected existing and uncovered a lot of interesting new work concerning the use of preparations. This more recent initiative embraces but has now strayed beyond the current boundaries of biodynamic agriculture and has attracted activity. From 2017 onwards Considera will be focusing its energy here.
All of this is presumptuous since no one has asked for this and I am no one's expert. But I
fancied the challenge, gave myself permission, and now think something
good may come of it. I even dare to hope that Dr Steiner might approve:
"In all these matters, I can only give indications, but as you see, these indications are capable of direct practical application. And as there is still the prevailing judgment - I will not call in prejudice - that all things must subsequently be verified, good and well! Set to work and verify them. If you do the experiments rightly, you will soon see them confirmed." Dr Rudolf Steiner, Lecture 6 on Agriculture.
"For this reason I believe — and I want this to be expressly stated — that nobody can attain true knowledge of the spirit who has not acquired scientific discipline, who has not learned to investigate and think in the laboratories according to the modern scientific method. Those who pursue spiritual science have less cause to undervalue modern science than anyone." R. Steiner, The Boundaries of Natural Science. Lecture 3. September 29, 1920.
"Naturally, you must take what is presented in these lectures and use it as you do the letters of the alphabet, because only in bringing things together will you find what you are expecting." R. Steiner, Address to members of the Agricultural Experimental Circle, Koberwitz, Wednesday, June 11, 1924