In 2024 we will be able to look back over 100 years since the Agricultural Course was held as the founding moment of the biodynamic impulse. We are organising a trilogy around the 100-year anniversary: a review in 2023, the current impulse in 2024 and the future outlook in 2025.
The 2023 conference will look back with the aim of strengthening the forces of renewal. The most straightforward way to do this is to ask: where do I come from? How did I find my way to agriculture? What experience in my biography sparked my interest in biodynamics? How did this impulse reach my country and how has it developed? How far back does the history of my association go? Who founded Demeter? Who were the people involved with Rudolf Steiner in developing associative economics? What about research?
How has the spiritual source of biodynamics remained alive in the countless people who have achieved all this? What approaches to these sources have they fostered? How can I be inspired by this? What is my way of approaching the source of biodynamics and how do I cultivate this? What do I feel to be my personal contribution to the further development of the biodynamic impulse?
A review of the cultural development of agriculture
Of course agriculture did not start with the Agriculture Course. It is very much older, so it is worth putting the biodynamic impulse into the context of the whole situation.
How has agriculture developed over the centuries or even millennia? History teaches us that, on the one hand, it has been hard work in the struggle with the rigours of nature and in servitude to the authorities. But, on the other hand, we learn that farming cultivates nature through domesticating animals, breeding plants and producing fertile soil; that it creates cultural landscapes in regions of similar climate.
We can feel addressed in the depths of our being when we connect to the diversity of agricultural impulses throughout the ages. For example, with the indigenous practices of an intimate relationship with nature; with the behaviour towards holy cows in India; with the cultivation of wheat seed over many generations originating in the Middle East; or the development of the milpa cultivation system – maize, beans and squash – from the advanced civilizations of South America right up to the present day.
We learn that, in this development, agriculture has had repeated phases of self-determination, social involvement or even patronage for cultural progress. Agriculture is a cultural impulse!
What has happened since 1924? How has biodynamics influenced agriculture? This is the question with which we will open the conference, and we will then present the history of the impact of the Koberwitz impulse in seven images.
In the lecture that follows, Martin von Mackensen and Arzu Duran will go even further back, to the beginnings of agriculture and settlement in the region around Göbekli Tepe in present-day Türkiye.
The ancient wisdom and "sacredness" of early agriculture is also taken up by Vandana Shiva. How can we rediscover the sacred in agriculture for our times, something that is still present in indigenous cultures? Could this become the basis of a new agriculture of the future? This is the question addressed in the evening lecture by Vandana Shiva.
On day 2, three sketches will recount the history of the Koberwitz impulse in the United Kingdom, Spain and Eastern Europe, followed by "Pathways", a eurythmy performance by the Goetheanum Ensemble.
Since the 1920s, women have often been particularly involved in helping to develop the biodynamic impulse. With an international panel we will recall the female pioneers in biodynamics and examine the role of women in the current movement, particularly where biodynamic agriculture is developing rapidly: in the countries of the global south.
In "The next generation in biodynamics" Open Space, young people are warmly invited to contribute to the conference and to discuss the current opportunities and challenges in biodynamic agriculture. What does it mean to choose agriculture as your career? What motivates young people nowadays to take up biodynamics? These fascinating questions are a step towards preparing the way for the conferences in 2024 and 2025.
16 workshops, 12 artistic courses, 22 Open Spaces and numerous online contributions in the digital part of the conference are now open for registration. Young conference participants can obtain a reduced-price conference ticket, apply for support with travel costs and obtain discounted overnight accommodation in the Basel Youth Hostel. Further information and a regularly updated conference programme are available at: