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Farm-Based Educators Inspired by Anthroposophy (FBEIBA)
cultivating collegiality, networking, and best practices in this emerging field

In this issue...   


Farming and Culture in the United States


Third Annual Farm Based Educators Retreat

Farm to School: The Outdoor Lesson Program



Job Opportunity: Biodynamic Farmer / Educator, Essex, NY

New Book: The Essential Urban Farmer  


Save the date!  

November 15-18, 2012

Monona Terrace, Madison, Wisconsin

We're working hard to create an exciting array of workshops, keynote speakers, food, and community-building activities.  


Stay tuned for announcements of the conference theme, keynoters, workshops, lodging information, and more. We hope to see you there! 


Do you have suggestions for workshops or keynote speakers? Please fill out the forms on these links to let us know.

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Welcome to the first issue of the quarterly FBEIBA newsletter! Have something you'd like to share with others? Send it to me at and we will include it in a future issue.
- Dana Burns, FBEIBA Coordinator 
 farmingcultureFarming and Culture in the United States

by Dana Burns

view from BDA office Over the lifetime of this country the percentage of the workforce who listed their primary occupation as 'farmer,' has gone from 90% of a total population of 3,929,214 in 1790 to less than 0.6% of the workforce of a population of 308,745,438 in 2010. This actually means that there were more farmers in the US in 1790 than there are today! Even in 1950, farmers represented 12.2% of the labor force.

During my youth in the 1960s many, but not all, people had at least some, if distant, connection to a farm -- maybe a grandfather, uncle, etc. was a farmer or a retired farmer. For the youth of the last few decades, having a direct experience with or a family connection to a farm is rare.  What are the implications -- both deep and broad -- of this trend?

Is there possibly a link between the precipitous decline in farming and farm culture and the emergence of some of the critical problems facing this country today such as chronic disease, psychiatric and behavioral disorders, and an economic crisis without a reliable and resourceful populace fit to meet it? Could farm-based education inspired by anthroposophy have a role in finding solutions?

Continue reading on the biodynamics blog...

retreatThird Annual Farm Based Educators Retreat 


group at FBEIBA retreat
FBEIBA Retreat (photo by Zuri Burns)
By Adrienne Chapman

The following is an excerpt from an article to be published in the Winter 2012 issue of Biodynamics.

On the weekend of November 4-6th, farm-based educators inspired by anthroposophy met at the Hawthorne Valley Farm in Harlemville, New York. Even though Harlemville had sixteen inches of snow the week before, the oak trees on the surrounding hills were brilliant in their golden, russet and red. These were interspersed with the soft-needled white pines. Hawthorne Valley Farm is flourishing. The whole place is alive with activity, but not at the fast pace of the city, a more peaceful, steady pace perseveres.

We were welcomed at the Hawthorne Valley Farm Learning Center by a warm fire in the woodstove and Rachel Schneider, the learning center's director. As people were gathering, Rachel led us in a felting project. After dinner we went around and introduced ourselves. All of us shared a common longing to bring gardening, farming and outdoor education more into the lives of both children and adults. Most of us have been working out of anthroposophy. We then went around and shared a quality that is typically found in the population we work with that could benefit from or be remediated by farm based education. Read more on our website...

If you participated in the retreat, or would like to share your ideas for future retreats, please take our brief survey at
outdoorlessonFarm to School: The Outdoor Lesson Program
Funding Issues and Future Trends

by Carol Avery, Environmental Educator at Large

A bright yellow school bus would arrive around 9 am almost every day at Duryea Farm.  The children would be waving joyously at the awaiting Farmer and happily and excitably tumble off the bus with their teacher.  "Welcome to Duryea Farm" I would greet them with arms wide open as they looked about on their first visit, "I am Farmer Carol, Welcome to Duryea Farm Dear Children."  

The Outdoor Lesson Program at the Pfeiffer Center for Biodynamic Agriculture in Chestnut Ridge, New York provided farm based education to the East Ramapo School District students in Rockland County, New York for about 10 years. The program got its start when free visits were arranged with one of the local public schools located next door to Duryea Farm.  Slowly, over the course of several years, a curriculum was developed.  Local school administrators formalized the program with an annual contract.

Twenty-two classes from K-5, were chosen each year by an application process, through the school district office of Curriculum and Instruction.  The selected classes would come to the farm four times during the scholastic year and I would provide three one-hour lessons in their classrooms or on the school grounds.  This intensive interaction created a strong bond with the students, faculty and the administration.  Despite our best efforts on both sides, the funding for the Outdoor Lesson program was redirected this past May due to a change in the district's administration.

The Outdoor Lesson "farm-to-school program" is an excellent model for a sustainable future of education and farming. This model builds community, reinforces the local smaller farms and farmers, ensures food security, promotes organic/biodynamic practices, educates and heals the earth. My hope is that programs like this will take root as the Farm to School movement continues to grow.  Anthroposophy and Biodynamics are the future of education and agriculture; these two streams come together in Farm Based Education Inspired by Anthroposophy.   I encourage all of you to look to your local farms and gardens and explore the possibilities of this type of relationship with the local school districts.  

There are many different kinds of funding streams available for this type of program and spending some time with the local Board of Education or school administrators will help to clarify which source(s) would be appropriate for your program.  Funds are available from local, state and even federal sources.  Governmental funding may be complicated but contacting political leaders on all three levels should be included in funding efforts.  Private funding is another area and one can be very creative with fundraising events and even the sale of products from the farm, events and diversified programming. Outreach is key and making relationships with the local public and private schools, teachers, parents, other environmental educators, a good first step.

All current indicators point to more outdoor farm/garden based education, as biodynamic educators of children it is our mission to bring this initiative forward.

waldorfconferenceWestern Waldorf Educators Conference: A New Inspiration for Education
February 19-22, 2012
Rudolf Steiner College

Western Waldorf Educators Conference with presenters
Aonghus Gordon
Maureen Curran
Isis Brook, PhD
Jonathan Code

'A new inspiration for education' will work with the Kolisko imagination of the cross-disciplinary hub of pedagogy, health, and biodynamics. A Waldorf curriculum that is braided with biodynamics offers an opportunity for a new consciousness of the human being and the earth and a re-imagining of practical learning and aesthetics.

Materials from the earth, whether they are gold, beeswax, wool, or wood, can be lifted through the genius of the hand towards service. Through the production of rose gold balm, honey, felt slippers, or a wooden stool an aesthetic emerges that inspires and reanimates practical learning and teaching. These deeds of transformation require sensory engagement and lawful movement-a right relationship to the three planes of space. We can observe the movements of how the practitioner performs will-intentions and movement-intentions that facilitate not only well-being, but also social health.

This educators' conference should be seen as a coherent event in which the participant is guided to an understanding of the role of practical education and movement as a powerful aid towards incarnation. In the practical arts workshops the participant will enter directly into experiencing how will-developed intelligence engages the power of imagination and can deliver an inner sense of well-being. Ruskin Mill Educational Trust has actualized these insights and has implemented a practical arts curriculum over the last 30 years.

For more information about the conference, visit the Rudolf Steiner College website. For more events related to biodynamics and anthroposophy, see the Biodynamic Association's calendar of events.



 jobopportunityJob Opportunity: Biodynamic Farmer / Educator, Essex, NY 


lakeside school Lakeside School, located on the 200-year old Black Kettle Farm in Essex, NY, is seeking to sub-let farmland to a farmer dedicated to biodynamic farming practices and interested in establishing an affiliation with the school as farm educator. Modest cottage housing is included on the farm. A trial period of mutually decided length is suggested for both the applicant and Lakeside School prior to crafting a long-term agreement. A full posting for this position can be found here (PDF).

For more job openings, visit the Biodynamic Association's forums.



urbanfarmerNew Book: The Essential Urban Farmer  


The Essential Urban Farmer
By Novella Carpenter and Willow Rosenthal
Illustrated by Bronwyn Barry and Arianna Rosenthal

The Essential Urban Farmer The "how-to" guide for a new generation of farmers from the author of Farm City and a leading urban garden educator.

Drawing on the wisdom and joy of their experience in the field, Farm City author Novella Carpenter and leading urban farming educator Willow Rosenthal here share practical blueprints--complete with rich visual material--for novice and experienced farmers working within city limits. The Essential Urban Farmer guides potential urban farmers form day one to market day, advising on how to find the perfect site, design a landscape, cultivate crops and raise livestock. For anyone who has ever grown herbs on a windowsill, or tomatoes on a fire escape, this is an indispensable volume with the potential to change our menus, our health, and our cities forever.

"This lucidly written, encyclopedic volume--which contains everything from homemade fertilizer recipes to chicken coop blueprints--is the single most useful resource I know for all urban dwellers."
- Alice Waters

The Essential Urban Farmer can be ordered or purchased through your local independent bookstore or at Powell's Books.


Farm-Based Educators Inspired by Anthroposophy (FBEIBA)


FBEIBA is a project of the Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Association