"Challenge and response, not
continuity, describe the progress of human affairs."
- Arnold Toynbee
Dear Friends of Spikenard Farm,
I recently ran across this quote and
instantly felt that it describes, in one short sentence, our progress
with the Spikenard Farm venture. Beginning a year ago with the
"Economy Collapse Disorder", which seemed to join forces
with the Colony Collapse Disorder and a host of other disorders in
the agricultural and cultural realm, we were faced with the question
how to move forward with our vision and mission. Our most acute
challenge was the lack of funds for more coworkers, housing, and farm
machinery. The summer weather and crop challenges then brought out
the picture in starker contrast challenging us to respond decisively
by moving to a more sustaining place.
Our response may have been quite
unexpected for those who have been helping to support the vision in
spiritual, soulful and economic ways. We had to go inward, again and
again, asking the question "what is really at the core of our
vision and how can we strengthen it and focus on its thriving?"
The answer became clear: at the heart are the honeybees, the
education for young and old, embedded in an atmosphere of beauty and
The clues for us had been coming. A
neighbor at the Illinois farm told me that for the first time ever,
pesticide laden airplanes had flown over adjacent crops, distributing
their poisons. The threat of drift to our land and of course to the
bees, utterly defenseless, was too great. This is one thing I had
never imagined would happen in the rolling hill landscape, and is
confirmation that we made the right decision to move.
The Board of Directors met in September
to work out the details of separating from the physical farm in
Illinois and relocating Spikenard Farm to its new home in Floyd,
Virginia. The land will continue to be developed biodynamically with
co-workers Alex and Bobbi with the generous support of Dorothy, the
landowner. The groundwork we have laid there and the organic certification they are in the process of obtaining will help them in this
The move to Floyd, Virginia fills us
with hope. The honeybees have found a nearly pristine, beautiful
landscape where no corn or soy insecticide and pesticide spraying
will endanger them. Floyd is a community with many interesting
ecologically-sound impulses. Organic and biodynamic agriculture are
already present and much interest has been shown for what we can
bring to the region.
The 160-acre farm we are now on belongs
to Terry Brett of Kimberton Whole Foods who will develop it
biodynamically. I will certainly help and have my input, but
Spikenard will not have to carry this impulse financially. We have
25 acres on a 99-year lease available to develop the honeybee
sanctuary. The 27 bee colonies I brought, and the chickens, are
already exploring the countryside! Perennial and annual crops for
them will be grown next year.
The next months will be spent
internalizing, analyzing all that happened in the past three years,
re-focusing and revising our vision and mission, making connections
here in the area, and creating a plan for activities and fund
development at least for the coming year. We'll try to show you
our progress with pictures and new content on the website, and hope
to keep you updated on the new documentary by Taggart Siegel that is
coming in the new year, Queen of the Sun. The film is going
to be an important way that the plight of the bees will be made known
to the wider world community and we are pleased to be a part of it.
Looking back on the month of October,
taken up completely by the move, I have to mention that we could not
have accomplished the various aspects of it without the warm help
from our friends in St. Louis. Parents and children from the Shining Rivers Waldorf School and Glenda Moore's Climbing Rose Waldorf Kindergarten had come to the farm many times over the summer and they
came in October, helping with taking down the yurts and platforms,
packing, bringing food and helping with the trip to bring the
chickens and bees to Floyd. These warm friendships will certainly
continue into the future.
the last stretch on the farm in Illinois, my two interns, Peter and
Keith, were of incredible help with all the details and lots of hard
work. Peter is now visiting several farms to continue and deepen his
love for agriculture and Keith is in New York for a while before he
heads back to the West Coast. We certainly wish both of them the very
best on their journey.
Finally, thanks to the many friendly,
understanding conversations, emails, and letters. With the authors'
permission, we have included them in this newsletter. This kind of
support gives us the courage to go forward and work with love and
dedication for the honeybees, as they represent, as no other animal
does, the life-supporting, selfless work that brings us and the Earth
into the rightful evolution.
With warm greetings and best wishes for
celebrating and experiencing a real Giving of Thanks,
Gunther and Vivian
Since our announcement
on relocating to Virginia last month, we have been so grateful at the outpouring of encouraging words that came from our many supporters.
There were offers to help with the move, and many encouraging sentiments from readers far and wide who felt compelled to write in. Gunther and Vivian have been humbled, and spurred on by so many of these kind words. Below are a sampling of a few:
"The bees know when to swarm for the good of the organism-sounds like you all do too."
-Best of wishes, Amanda Walden
"Dear Friends, Just a few lines to tell you that my heart sank as I encountered your Fall Update just now. But, as one door is closed, another is being opened. If only one had more resources to offer concrete help. But such is not the case for me, so all I can do is to send you my very best wishes and hopes that what is now coming into fruition wil prove to be just right as you seek to reestablish your goals and aims."
-Sincerely, Portia Imle
Queen of the Sun is Coming Soon
beautiful and compelling documentary is now in its final stages of
production and Spikenard is pleased to be a part of it. Film makers
Taggart Siegel (of The Real Dirt on Farmer John) and Jon Betz have
traveled the world documenting the voices and landscapes of biodynamic
beekeepers. The result is a stunning documentation of the plight of the
honeybee that is both sobering and joyful. Humanity really can engage
in the restoration of the honeybee. Gunther Hauk's voice and feeling
for the bees provides a prominent and inspiring narrative thread. You
can stay updated on the film's progress and learn how to be part of a
grassroots effort to bring the film to the wider public by connecting
In This Issue
November Update from Gunther and Vivian Hauk
Notes from our Supporters
Queen of the Sun is Coming Soon
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Spikenard Farm Moving into the Next Phase
Things happen fast in the new location
since Gunther, barely in town, has been asked to give talks on the
understanding of the colony collapse syndrome at three places.
Collaborating with the Josephine Porter Institute and the "Sustain
Floyd" organization, five workshops are being planned for next year.
Since the educational work always needs the support of gift money, you
can help by sending your check to Spikenard Farm, 445 Floyd Highway North, Floyd, VA 24091. Every
contribution is valued and is fully tax deductible, as we are a
501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
Spikenard Farm E-News Archive