Work in Nature

Biodynamic Gardening in Waldorf Education

A biodynamic garden
A biodynamic garden

Biodynamic agriculture recognizes the basic principles at work in nature and applies this knowledge of life forces to bring about balance and healing in the soil. At a time when new synthetic chemicals are being injected into the environment on a daily basis, Biodynamics works to counteract the unbalanced state of modern agricultural practices by utilizing a “whole systems” approach.

Biodynamics is the oldest organized organic approach to farming: farms and gardens have been in operation in many countries and climates since the 1920’s. Biodynamics is built on the premise that the more self-sufficient a farm is, the healthier it will be. The aim is to have a great diversity of plant and animal life. At the heart of Biodynamics is the use of special preparations in homeopathic doses that enhance the life of soil, plants, and animals.

In the Agriculture Course (June 7 to 16, 1924), Rudolf Steiner laid the foundation for a new way of thinking about the relationship of the earth and the formative forces of nature. He showed how the health of the soil, plants, and animals depends on reconnecting nature with the creative forces of the cosmos.The practical methods he outlined were intended, above all, to revitalize the natural forces which are rapidly becoming depleted through modern agricultural techniques

The Garden

The biodynamic garden at Rudolf Steiner College is situated at the center of the 13-acre campus. The garden includes a market garden for 40 families operated as a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), as well as an herb garden for medicinal plants and biodynamic preparations.

There are also grape vines, a small orchard, and a greenhouse. Ducks and bees occupy the corner of the garden nearest the many compost piles. The garden supports a large seed growing and seed saving operation and produces food year round. Fertility in the garden is maintained by carefully composting garden waste and cow manure from local farms. Cover crops are also grown for fertility.

An important feature of the garden is the flowform fountain and pond. The beautiful sculptural form of the flowform is the result of many years of water-phenomenon research focusing on optimal water purification and oxygenation.

Flowers bloom almost year round supporting a variety of beneficial insect life. The garden is a place of rest, healing and relaxation for the larger community and a model garden that attracts students, apprentices, volunteers, and visitors from far and wide.

Sample Courses

  • All practical horticultural skills with a strong emphasis on soil cultivation, composting and the use of biodynamic preparations
  • Plant study based on the Goethean approach to science.
  • In-depth study of Rudolf Steiner’s book, Agriculture, with a focus on practical application of the ideas presented.
  • Classroom course work includes study of crop rotation, lunar rhythms, and natural pest management. Field trips to local Biodynamic farms and gardens