Farmers are under pressure: climate change with uncertain harvests, bureaucracy with time-consuming administration and a precarious financial situation lead to questions of meaning and survival. Biodynamic agriculture provides an approach to living with nature through a purpose and joy in work.
“In my courses I meet people who discover a meaningful activity in agriculture,” says Jean-Michel Florin. He is a trainer in biodynamic agriculture and joint head of the Section for Agriculture at the Goetheanum. People‘s expectations are surprising, because the reality of farming looks quite different: “A farmer has to take account of a range of requirements, make use of machines and work with computer systems, so that the real relationship to the soil, plants, animals and fellow human beings gets buried.” Jean-Michel Florin‘s approach is to seek for powers of renewal, through looking at the essence and the processes in nature as the effects of spiritual forces.
“The people in my courses want to develop abilities so that their actions are not (only) influenced from outside,” according to Jean-Michel Florin. On his travels in Asia and South America he has also noticed that people are grateful when they are able to find new inspiration to connect them to the spiritual traditions of their culture. “The biodynamic method is a help in discovering life and the spiritual dimension.” The hope is that, through the meeting of the biodynamic method with this wealth of experience, solutions can be developed for the environmental challenges such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and the decline in soil fertility.
The Section for Agriculture at the Goetheanum has invited people with varying approaches from many continents in order to expand their own experience, develop methods for new perceptive faculties and find out about practical applications. Through familiarisation with and experimentation and participation in the experiences of others, the scope for action is broadened and work in agriculture takes on new meaning.
(2039 characters/SJ; translation by Lynda Hepburn)
Conference Finding the spirit in agriculture, 5 to 8 February 2020, Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland
Simultaneous interpretation in German, English, French, Italian and Spanish