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November 2009 News from Spikenard Farm and Friends
Issue No. 5

Floyd, Virginia

"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 therapeutic endeavors.

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 ambitious undertaking.

Bees New Home

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.

Unloading trucks

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.

And, in 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

Supporters Feedback

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

A 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 to www.queenofthesun.com. 

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.
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July 2009

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Spikenard Farm Special Update 10/13/2009