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



Teachers can reduce stress and burnout with mindfulness training according to research published in Mind, Brain, and Education and summarized here.


A short video clip of CIHM Director Dr. Richard J. Davidson discussing teachers, stress, and mindfulness. 


A new documentary exploring mindfulness in schools is available for viewing: Healthy Habits of Mind


Developing Ecoliteracy with the Center for Ecoliteracy



The authors of Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence share 5 practices.


1. Develop empathy for all forms of life


2. Embrace sustainability as a community practice


3. Make the invisible visible


4. Anticipate unintended consequences


5. Understand how nature sustains life



Source: Greater Good

Where are the future farmers?

An update on farmer training and BING in the Nordic countries.


Where are the future farmers? Who will carry the biodynamic impulse into the future? Who will take over the biodynamic farms in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark?


These questions inspired four enthusiastic women in Norway, and after hearing about Biodynamic Initiative for the Next Generation (BING) in America, Biodynamic Initiative for the Next Generation Nordic (BINGN) was born.



The number of biodynamic farms in the Nordic countries has been decreasing. Where is the next generation of biodynamic farmers?


Although there are currently a few great institutions teaching biodynamic and organic horticulture in the Nordic countries, there are not many options where one can learn about biodynamic agriculture through a practical training - so this is what BINGN wants to start!


The student will live and work for three years on a farm in Finland, Denmark, Sweden or Norway with at least one year on one farm. Four to six times per year, the class of students will meet for a couple of days for a theory seminar. These seminars will take place on different locations in the Nordic countries.


The content of these courses will be agricultural basics (like soil, plant, animal, machinery) and arts (such as eurythmy, painting). Some of the main aims of the education will be to support the students in finding their individual access to biodynamic farming and anthroposophy and to get an understanding of the role of farming in today's world and in the future.  


In July and August 2013 the coordinators of BINGNs education initiative, Clemens Gabriel and Laura Klemme, visited almost all of the biodynamic farms in Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark, all together 101 farms! Now the network and ground for a farm based education program to learn how to become a biodynamic farmer is made and will now be further worked on in regards to financing and curriculum. In February 2014 the first course will be held.


Reflections from the Farm-Based Educators Advanced Retreat with Gunther Hauk
by Lori Barian

Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary


Rudolf Steiner clearly saw farming and other practical arts education as part of the Waldorf school 3rd grade curriculum. He spoke of such education giving children going through the 9 year change, who are experiencing their "fall" from wholeness and the pain of separateness, experiences that foster their self-confidence and re-connection as they learn about house-building, food and fiber production, crafts and trades.


Gunther Hauk speaking at the 2013 Farm-Based Educators Retreat at Spikenard Farm

In our time now, with all of humanity experiencing a tremendous "fall" into separateness from and disharmony with the Earth, Nature, and her manifold forms of life, there is a resurgence of interest in sustainable lifestyle choices, especially growing, harvesting and preserving one's own food. This interest is reaching down into the realm of education. Waldorf schools, homeschooling groups, and public and private schools are more and more recognizing the value of children from early childhood through high school gaining the sense of security and self-sufficiency that such educational experiences foster.


Farm-Based Education Inspired by Anthroposophy, FBEIBA, is a learning community supported by the Biodynamic Association (BDA), and has been meeting regularly for five years, recognizing and serving this growing educational movement. This year's FBEIBA event, held as an Advanced Retreat at Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary, in Floyd, Virginia, September 27-29, 2013, demonstrated a maturing of this group's sense of purpose and direction as can be seen in the activity inspired by the participants' interaction.


Activities resulting from this gathering include the following:

  • A planning team has come forward to work on the farm-based education content and activities for the 2014 North American Biodynamic Conference.
  • A small group proposed and is facilitating the large group's participation in working with the 6 exercises with a monthly conference call to discuss questions and progress.
  • Various participants have submitted workshop proposals to bring farm-based education content to the next AWSNA national conference, which will be held in June 2014 Hartsbrook Waldorf School in Hadley, MA. Nikki Robb, one of the retreat participants, runs the Agricultural Arts program for the Hartsbrook school.
  • Participants have begun to build a bibliography relevant to this field of work, in part to gather and organize research that verifies the results we see as well as to find the language that helps us communicate the impact of this education to a wider audience.

What contributed to such a productive gathering?

Our gracious host and teacher, Gunther Hauk, welcomed us warmly and nourished us with his wisdom and examples. On Friday, we enjoyed a tour of the farm, including the beautiful welcome yurt, the almost-finished educational center with its green roof, the bees and their various types of hives, the flower gardens and the vegetable gardens.


Saturday afternoon, we worked with Gunther to plant rye as he spoke to us about how to work with the children and about the purpose and meaning of such activity. Saturday evening, we were enriched by Gunther's presentation on the meaning of Michaelmas in our time, which a few members of the Spikenard board attended as well.  And on Sunday, we worked to thresh and winnow rye to the rhythm of various verses, again gaining insight into our own farm-based education work.


Participants had prepared for the retreat by reading Study of Man, lectures IV, V & VI, relative to the development of the will nature. This common ground and foundation of Rudolf Steiner's view of the developing human being contributed to the quality of our conversations. With many years of experience among us, all but a few participants also prepared and shared their own presentations on such themes as cultivating the will, strengthening the will, and the artist's will.


A full listing of participants and a slideshow from the event can be found here


To learn more about the retreat and how to apply the lessons learned, please contact Dana Burns at or 262-495-4247.


Farm-Based Educators Survey

Can kids on farms bring us toward a better future?
In these turbulent economic, political, and environmental times, how can education best meet the needs of young people and society?  
Farm-Based Educators Inspired By Anthroposophy (FBEIBA) is trying to help society find and meet the educational goals necessary for the future of humanity. Can you help this process by expressing your views?
We will use the results of our survey to inform, determine and implement best practices and goals of farm-based education as it emerges as a useful and necessary educational tool.

Thank you in advance for your participation!

Dana Burns
FBEIBA Coordinator


Upcoming Events


For details on these events and more, or to share your event, visit our calendar.
December 4-6National Young Farmers Conference, Tarrytown, New York  
December 7Chesapeake Biodynamic Network Gathering, College Park, Maryland

December 12-14Acres USA Conference, Springfield, Illinois

December 12-14: Montana Organic Association Annual Conference, Kalispell, Montana
January 3Master and Apprentice Workshop, Redwood Valley, California
January 11NOFA/MA Winter Conference, Worcester,Massachusetts 
January 12-19Biodynamic and Permaculture Homesteading Workshop, Finca Sagrada, Ecuador
January 16Applying Biodynamic Principles to Your Farm, Mobile, Alabama 
January 17-20: The Agriculture Course - Intensive, Chestnut Ridge, New York
January 22The Farm As a Living Organism, Pacific Grove, California (note BDA Scholarships Available)
January 22-25EcoFarm Conference, Pacific Grove, California
January 24Biodynamic Mixer at EcoFarm Conference, Pacific Grove, California
January 24-26Winter Gathering - North Central Region, Viroqua, Wisconsin

January 24-25Northern Plains Sustainable Ag Conference, Aberdeen, South Dakota

January 30-February 1Organic Seed Growers Conference, Corvallis, Oregon


Farm-Based Educators Retreat Participants at Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary


Farm-Based Educators Inspired by Anthroposophy (FBEIBA)


FBEIBA is a project of the Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Association