New to the Valley
Spirit on the Job
Valleys of Idaho
Biodynamic Farmers Come to Bellevue
by Woody Wodraska
Barbara M V Scott, MSc, and Woody Wodraska, MS, have joined with Katherine Woods, Waldorf kindergarten teacher, for a new initiative in Bellevue--a Biodynamic garden and mini-farm for children, an integral part of Ms. Wood’s proposed Waldorf school on her property just north of town. Barbara and Woody are long-time Biodynamic farmers and gardeners who sold their seed farm in British Columbia and came last month to direct the garden project.
Why Biodynamic gardening? “Bio is life, dynamic means force,” Barbara says. “Biodynamics is life force agriculture. This dates back to Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s, long before anyone talked about organic gardening. It’s organic plus taking into account all the energies--from the Earth and the heavens--that the plants, animals and minerals utilize. The earthly and planetary energies need to be brought into balance. This is the basis of good nutrition in food.”
“So often when we think of organic gardens we think of all the nasty things we don’t use--pesticides, harsh chemicals, unnatural technology,” Woody added. “In Biodynamics it goes without saying that we shun these. But what we focus on is the positive, the life-affirming techniques that Steiner suggested and farmers have been developing for 80 years. These include homeopathic sprays and additives to the compost, made from herbs and naturally occurring minerals.”
Why here in the Wood River valley? “Because,” they say, “this is where we were called when we retired from our seed farm in British Columbia."
by Woody and Barbara
We have always been teachers, Barbara and I. We find ourselves at a time in life when the amount we can teach, supervise, manage, and organize is much enhanced by our many years of experience. We’ve taught in workshop settings, and in hand-on gardening situations with apprentices. This is pretty much the way we’ve always done it, with adults. But now comes to us an opportunity to direct a garden program at a new Waldorf School where there is intended a kindergarten program, an after school program for first to sixth graders as well, and a summer camp. Teaching the young ones will not be the same at all. And so we have to learn first from them. The children will teach us: How to observe what is really happening, without expectations and jumping to conclusions. How to take real joy in growth, abundance, color, fragrance, bugs, sunshine. How to have FUN. How to see behind things. How not to worry. How to be in the NOW. How to be surprised. How to invoke magic. How to have innocence, wonder, awe. How to be spontaneous. How to call in the Nature Spirits. How to be open. How to be curious.
What a concept for us, to be spontaneous, not to know it all, to be open to the mystery…JUST LIKE A CHILD!
And the children too will learn:
* That real food doesn’t come wrapped in plastic film, or grow on supermarket shelves and fast food kitchens;
* That we can have a real relationship with our Ultimate Mother, the Gaian Mother Earth;
* That real food comes from the soil--let’s pull a bright carrot from the dark earth...pluck delectable lettuce and spinach leaves...watch a tomato ripen from green to orange to crimson.
* They’ll learn diligence, faithfulness, how to tend living things--exploring a handful of living soil, discovering a hen’s egg in the nest, shaking a jar of rich cream until a golden lump of butter forms.
First on the agenda for the garden program is a passive solar geodesic dome greenhouse, built this month before the snow flies. Then come baby chicks, and in the spring a Jersey cow due to calve. Finally, goats and bees. Meanwhile the gardens, compost piles will take form. All to be ready when the children come, for that’s what it’s all about...nutrition and education.
This we believe, along with Kate: That we can all learn and teach others to have a reverence for life, that balance between body, imagination and intellect is possible only with good nutrition, and that this balance is the foundation for lifelong learning and service.