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

In this issue...   

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Congratulations to Gabrielle Dietrich on the birth of her daughter!    

Persephone Violet was born on January 17th, 2012 at 3 am!


Gabrielle received her certificate in Biodynamic Organic Farm Management from Emerson College in England.  She has worked on farms in Europe and New Zealand and was the Farm Visit Coordinator for Raphael Gardens at the Rudolf Steiner College.  Gabrielle made significant contributions towards launching FBEIBA.


Good work and best wishes to Gabrielle, Persephone, and family!
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Thank you for subscribing to 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 
waldorfedconferenceA New Inspiration for Education: A Report from the Western Waldorf Educators Conference Featuring Aonghus Gordon

stegman hall at rudolf steiner collegeBy Stephen Payne

The Western Waldorf Educators Conference of 2012 at Rudolf Steiner College (RSC) in Fair Oaks, California, artfully wove practical craft skills, movement, and lectures into three days entitled 'A New Inspiration for Education'.

RSC invited Aonghus Gordon of Ruskin Mill Educational Trust from England and a team of educators and crafts people to present workshops in various disciplines such as green woodworking, weaving, felting, iron forging, biodynamic gardening, soap making, painting, cooking and food preservation, healing balms, singing, and movement.

Unlike most conferences, emphasis was placed on the hands-on experiences found in the craft workshops. They were held twice each day in the key timeslots - first each morning and after the lunch break in the afternoon. To balance the work with our hands, Mr. Gordon delivered keynote lectures throughout the three days. Having hours to spend with their hands actively creating, participants gained the opportunity for deep reflection on how we move in space with purpose in service.

Continue reading on the biodynamics blog...

researchResearch on Steiner-Inspired Agricultural Education: Your Participation Requested! 


Hi! My name's Robert McKay; I'm a Master of Education student at Antioch, and I'm writing to tell you about some exciting work on Steiner-inspired agricultural education (ag ed)!

As you know first-hand, this field is burgeoning, and the need for it is great. I'm calling for survey participants who are involved with this work in any way. Here's a bit about the study, for those interested. The final result will be shared by FBEIBA, so don't miss the chance to be part of the conversation!

METHOD: My research aims to serve you, the agricultural educator, and your colleagues by facilitating the sharing of stories and experiences across our emerging field. It is my hope that participants will get to meet each other and further the conversation in the future. As an action-research study, the goal here is to create knowledge for and by workers in the field (I teach at a BD summer camp), not to "objectively" or "scientifically" assess/judge/quantify/otherwise reduce the work and thought of our fellow ag ed workers. Rather than coldly "studying" you and your work, I aim to invite you into a conversation, ask for your wisdom, and share it with others.

PURPOSE: The specific aim of this study is to elicit conversation about the current and potential relationship of Steiner-inspired ag ed programs to (1) broader movements for food systems change, and (2) anthroposphical social theory (threefolding).

Click here to participate in the survey...

educationcenterSpring 2012 FBEIBA Featured Education Center: Mother Earth School   


To help network, get to know each other, and share best practices, each FBEIBA e-news will now report on a featured educational center.


Each center's individual experience will be outlined in its:  
  • History
  • Pedagogical Philosophy
  • Cuririculum
  • Funding Sources
  • Achievements
  • Capacities built in the children
  • Challenges 
  • Advice for other programs

We hope that these profiles can widen our perspectives, inspire new ideas and help establish collegiality, clarity and communication around the FBEIBA mission.


This issue's featured center is the Mother Earth School in Portland, Oregon, an exciting "fusion of the European model of 'forest kindergarten' and homestead schooling," incorporating philosophies and practices of Waldorf education, permaculture, primitive skills, and anthroposophy.

mother earth school
"The children at Mother Earth School are joyfully rising to the occasion of learning basic life skills that are currently undervalued by modern society. Their will-forces are activated in a way that our industrialized culture no longer encourages.  Modern conveniences are designed to meet our needs for us, resulting in generations of people that are lacking the direct experience of a main component of what it means to be human. Capability, confidence and ingenuity all require an inner striving which is naturally enhanced through the healthy challenges presented through outdoor education."
Read the full article by Kelly Hogan, co-founder of Mother Earth School, on our website...
conferenceFBEIBA at the North American Biodynamic Conference in November

This year, FBEIBA will be combining our annual fall retreat with the 2012 North American Biodynamic Conference, which will take place November 15-18 in Madison, WI.

Gunther Hauk with his beehives
FBEIBA plans to organize a full day pre-conference workshop for farm-based educators on November 14, and we will also offer one of the 40+ workshops that will be part of the main conference. We have invited Gunther Hauk, a long term Waldorf gardening teacher, biodynamic practitioner and educator at college level, co-founder of the Pfeiffer Center and Spikenard Farm, to share his 30+ years of experience during the pre-conference event.

Mark your calendar and stay tuned for more details!
conferenceFocus On Culture: Native American

Farm-based education is a popular movement today in the US. Many people feel alarm noticing that few youth have a direct connection to their food source, the soil, or the earth. Procuring and preparing food are not only basic life skills, they are the basis for culture. Separating kids from knowledge on how to procure and prepare food separates them not only from their ability to survive and thrive but also from their culture, identity and confidence in themselves as future capable adults.

The Anishinaabe of the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota are doing something to rectify this. Traditionally Anishinaabe children learned early how to gather, preserve, and prepare food and to contribute in a real way. The semi-lost skills and knowledge of gardening and soaking grains ensured survival, nutrition and health. 

The NGO Oshkaabewisag hosts 4 camps: Berry Gathering, Traditional Rice Gathering, Maple Syrup, and Story Telling. In addition to these activities, kids also learn traditional canoeing, netting fish, making birch bark baskets, processing deer into meat and hides, and other traditional skills. From this kids learn the identity and pride of who they are, and the confidence of being able to take care of themselves.

pcteachertrainingAdvanced Teacher Training in Youth & Child Permaculture Education  


Presented by Mother Earth School and The Institute of Permaculture Education for Children
Permaculture Teacher Training
Friday June 15, 7pm-9pm - Alternative Education Panel (open to the public)
Saturday June 16, 9am-5pm - Sunday, June 17th (Weekend-only registration option) $180
Saturday June 16, 9am-5pm - Thursday June 21st (Full certificate course registration option) $480

*72-hour PDC or 12+ hour 'Intro to PC' are prerequisite for the full course, PDC required for receiving an advanced teacher training certificate.

Permaculture is the conscious creation of a regenerative system that reflects the inherent balance, stability, and harmony of nature. Education should be the same. This course applies permaculture principles and design to popular and alternative educational models. It offers a wide range of learners and teachers an opportunity to explore new possibilities and practice new skills. It supports the shift towards regenerative learning and living, and the recognition that each are inextricably connected in the practice of life.

This course is designed for parents and teachers of children ranging in age from early childhood to middle school who desire to integrate these principles into the classroom and beyond. Some of the time we will be working together as a large group, and other times we will hold break-out groups focused on early childhood, grade school and middle school.

For more details, visit the Biodynamic Association's calendar of events...


Farm-Based Educators Inspired by Anthroposophy (FBEIBA)


FBEIBA is a project of the Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Association