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

In this issue...   

FBEIBA Advanced Retreat

From the Source: Honest Memories from a Childhood of Farm-Based Education


In the News 
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In the News


Toddlers becoming so addicted to iPads they require therapy


from The Telegraph (UK)

Experts have warned that parents who allow babies and toddlers to access tablet computers for several hours a day are in danger of causing "dangerous" long term effects.



The youngest known patient being treated in the UK is a four-year-old girl from the South East.

Her parents enrolled her for compulsive behaviour therapy after she became increasingly "distressed and inconsolable" when the iPad was taken away from her.


Read the full article...

Ron Finley: A guerrilla gardener in South Central LA


Powerful quotes from his TED Talk

"Growing your own food is like printing your own money."

 "Drive-thrus are killing more people than drive-bys."

 "When kids grow kale, kids eat kale."


Allan Savory: How to Green the Desert and Reverse Climate Change


In another TED Talk, ecologist Allan Savory explains how we're currently encouraging desertification, and how to not only stop it, but reverse it, by dramatically increasing the number of grazing livestock.


According to Savory, rising population, land turning into desert at a steady clip (known as desertification), converge to create a "perfect storm" that threatens life on earth. Most people think technology is required to solve the problem.

Not so, he says. While we do need novel technology to replace fossil fuels, desertification cannot be reversed with technology. For that, we need to revert backward, and start mimicking nature and the way things were in the past.


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 
Save the Date: Farm-Based Educators Advanced Retreat at Spikenard Farm 

Farm-based education has finally come of age. It is now a recognized national movement. Meanwhile, our society seems to be ever more plagued with signs of disconnection, violence, turbulence and crisis. 
From September 27-29, 2013, FBEIBA will host an intensive retreat for experienced farm-based educators inspired by anthroposophy. We will come together to further penetrate questions of how farm-based learning can best be used productively to create hope for a better society. 
The retreat will be hosted at Spikenard Farm in Virginia, combining the beautiful rural setting of this special honeybee sanctuary with the opportunity to work with Gunther Hauk and his many years of experience and wisdom regarding farm-based education inspired by anthroposophy. Mark your calendar and stay tuned for details!

From the Source: Honest Memories from a Childhood of Farm-Based Education


By Dana Burns 

Anne McKibben Singh is now 23 years old. She is a second year law student at Otago University in New Zealand. In January 2013, Anne had a fairy-tale like wedding in India to Harpreet (Happy) Singh.
Anne was born in California and spent her early years as part of the Waldorf Community in Fair Oaks. She visited farms from a young age, remembers seeing a calf being born, and went to the farm at the Waldorf school to get milk. She remembers petting and feeding the animals, and even helping to milk, but also remembers feeling like a visitor from the city. The farm felt "set up," for them. She didn't really feel that she was a part of it.

Her family then moved to rural Wisconsin and they began acquiring their own menagerie: sheep, rabbits, chickens and even a cow. This was a turning point.

I still loved it but the responsibility was not all that attractive.

She remembers seeing the cute rabbits at a pet store and pleading to take some home. But the responsibility of cleaning their messy pens was in direct contrast to seeing them in a pet store. Soon the rabbits were "not quite so cute." Even the chore of gathering the eggs day after day became formidable.
What Anne was fond of, was being on a farm with the wide expanse: the open fields, the silo, haystacks, fields, barn and forest to play in. It was:

Wilderness, exciting, your imagination could run wild, we created endless games. We learned how to manage time to be stimulated and not bored. It could sometimes get tedious, trying to figure out what to do, but we made the game "How to decide what game to play." In the city there is not as much freedom.

The work part was a different story, however.

I never really enjoyed tasks very much. I thought it wasn't for me. I didn't like gardening or doing chores. I liked milking and riding, and the horse and animals shows. My mom once gave me part of a garden to plan, but the work to maintain it was not attractive and never really happened.

Soon it became a pattern. "Anne doesn't like to do chores." People said. Anne had been home-schooled and then started attending the local Waldorf School.

I don't ever remember growing into farm work, but I remember growing out of it. When I went to school I thought I was too cool do to work. When I was 12 I was bored. Why can't I go somewhere else? Why do I live on a farm?"


A compost pile that Anne and Happy helped to make in Nepal
Anne did attend several sessions of A Week on the Farm, a week-long full immersion farm-based education program. There she enjoyed having responsibility and being "in charge" of cooking; and milking with the commercial dairy farmer. It was fun to be in a program where chores were just "what you did." But Anne didn't then understand the importance of it.


Fast forward 4 years. Anne had moved to New Zealand with her family, completely forgotten about farms, and maintained her lack of interest in gardening. She then met Happy, an Indian Punjabi man, and fell in love. Their relationship soon turned serious. Happy got a job at a farm, and during her summer break from school, Anne found herself helping with gardening, harvesting, and making jam. It was now easy, and fun. 


Earthships: You look after your house - Your house looks after you

by Rosa Henderson


Can you imagine a house that takes care of you? That provides for you?

Imagine one that regulates its own temperature, which heats and cools itself without fuel. a house which catches fresh water for you, stores it and filters it for drinking, kitchen and shower. Even processes the grey water for you through plants and flushes it away with your waste at the end, and even treats your sewage on site. Add to that the talent your house has to generate power for you, running efficient AC and DC where you need it. On top of it all, imagine a house that grows food for you and your family.
This would make it a pretty smart house. You would have an ally, protection and sustenance, reliant on natural phenomena not on a grid, government or financial system. It would do a huge job for you. In this reality, your house would look after you, and you, in return, must look after your house. This is a 2 way street, a fair give and take, a relationship, a respectful partnership.

Earthships are all this, completely off-grid homes that do all the above. The systems in these houses are so integrated that you often can't tell where one ends and the next begins. Take for instance the front greenhouse, south facing for the light. The greenhouse is there to admit light and warmth, providing a temperature buffer for the interior space, also with operable skylights in the roof - a major component in the heating and cooling process. 

Secondly, it is part of the grey water system, where water flows from sinks and showers, through the botanical cells in the greenhouse, being cleaned by the plants on the way through and then the water is used to flush the toilet. It is a very efficient use of water. Thirdly, the greenhouse is used to grow food. Bananas are grown in most Earthship greenhouses even in the desert in Taos, along with herbs, cucumbers, egg plant, melons, mushroom logs, tomatoes, greens, grapes, figs, you name it. Plants provide a little humidity, temperature stabilization, nutrition, natural diversity and a wonderful living space. It may need tending and an eye kept for weeding, top watering, bugs and harvest. All this is part of the relationship.

Don't believe me? Stay in one in New Mexico, experience the phenomena. 


Visit the Earthship website for photos of the Goderich Waldorf School in Sierra Leone and a video about the Earthship project in Haiti.

Farm-Based Educators Inspired by Anthroposophy (FBEIBA)


FBEIBA is a project of the Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Association