October 12, 2009
In this autumn season, governed by
increasing darkness and coldness, we draw on the balancing forces of
our heart and the clarity of our mind to gain the courage needed to
cope with all that storms in on us, from world events to daily
challenges. We have hoped, through our monthly e-newsletters and
seasonal mailings, to bring you closer to our work and the life of
the honeybee. However, we take pause now to share more momentous
news of Spikenard's move to Virginia.
Much has happened in the past six
months. On the positive side, we had beautiful development of the
honeybee colonies and a good honey harvest. The market garden and a
vibrant stand at a St. Louis farmers' market have progressed well.
We've enjoyed enlivening visits by school groups, especially by
teachers and families from the Shining River Waldorf School in St.
Louis who have truly connected to the land, the bees, chickens and
pigs. The eight interns we were blessed to have with us this season
brought so much youthful vigor and joy into our days.
The challenges we experienced lay
predominantly in the economic and social realms, raising questions
about how the few members of the core group, on the one hand, could
form a common vessel, open for the inspirations derived from our
vision and mission. On the other hand, we have struggled with
determining how we could go into the future with more financial
security. With the economic downturn it has become increasingly
difficult to put in place the infrastructure, coworkers and machinery
still needed for the farm.
The difficulties have shaken our
foundation, raising serious questions about what changes are
necessary to ensure a vibrant and safe future for the organization.
The questions and concerns raised at our Spring Board of Directors
meeting became reality faster than we had foreseen. We discovered
that only the educational and honeybee enterprises were on target
with the projected budget and that the farm itself would take longer
than expected to become financially sustainable.
After forming a committee which
explored a number of options, the Board of Directors came to the
decision in late August to move Spikenard Farm, Inc. to a new
location, so that it can best fulfill its mission. The details of our
relocation will be shared a few weeks, after the move. Our plan is
to be situated in Floyd, Virginia near Roanoke, by the end of
It was a very difficult decision to
leave the land we have worked for two years with great enthusiasm and
vigor. We are grateful for the understanding that the farm will
continue to be farmed biodynamically. The land is in the process of
being certified organic and is poised to obtain Demeter certification
next year. We are very grateful to the owner of the land, who
understands our move and is willing, together with the farmer couple,
to continue what we started as a pioneering undertaking in
Carrollton, Illinois: to bring biodynamic agriculture to the
American heartland. We wish them all the very best success and my
input into the biodynamic practices on the farm will continue. It is
deeply gratifying to know that we will continue our work in
reciprocal support for each emerging venture.
Spikenard Farm and Apiary was fortunate
to find its new location. Floyd is in a beautiful area in the Blue
Ridge Mountains near Roanoke, Virginia that already has a biodynamic
presence and a developing supportive community. We have been offered
a 25-acre parcel on a 160 acre farm under a 99 year lease. The land
has been used for grazing cattle and the best 50 acres are to be
developed biodynamically for orchards, vegetable production and
pastures. Fifty acres are set aside for a co-housing development.
Our decision to move the organization
to this location is based on a number of considerations.
- Given the economic situation,
Spikenard can move forward more safely by not having to carry the
expenses needed to fully develop a farm operation.
- We will now be able to focus on
the heart of our vision: a honeybee sanctuary; and research,
educational and therapeutic programs for adults and children.
- The location is safer for the
bees: a more diverse ecology of pastures, hayfields and forests will
surround us; and the vicinity to the Blue Ridge Parkway gives us the
opportunity to reach out to visitors interested in a deeper
understanding of nature and the plight of the honeybee.
- Floyd is a vibrant little town
with a variety of environmental, health-oriented and artistic
enterprises, giving support that will sustain our social work.
- The Floyd planned BD farm and
co-housing development will offer possibilities for partnerships in
building a community, without the financial responsibility of
We expect the transition from Illinois
to Virginia to happen quickly. This month, the bees, equipment, farm
machinery, tools and much more will be transported to the new
It is our great wish and hope that all
of you who have provided the warmth and financial means for our
accomplishments, will understand that to give up one part of the
vision -- doing this work in the heartland -- does not diminish the
importance of the overarching mission. We are moving forward on a
more prudent financial footing and re-focusing our work more clearly
on the honeybees and education.
We know this information may come as a
surprise to you - events, just decided this fall, have moved
quickly. We feel blessed to have the ability to still make our move
to Virginia this season and we are deeply grateful for your
understanding and positive thoughts in this process of transition.
There is no doubt that the honeybee crisis, which has its direct
influence on the future of our human evolution, needs our hard work
and strong commitment. We are intent on giving both.
With warm wishes for a strong heart and
bright spirit in this Michaelmas season,