Biodynamics Now! Investigative Farming and Restorative Nutrition Podcast (Conversation)

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This is part 3 of the third program with biodynamic agriculture educator, Glen Atkinson. The topic is How Steiner's Medical Lectures inform his Agriculture Lectures. If you are not familiar with Rudolf Steiner and biodynamics or have no motivation as a biodynamic practitioner to gain deep insights into the basic principles of biodynamic agriculture, then there is no reason to listen to this particular lecture series. This is a very heady program. As you will hear, Glen leaves me behind in the first 10 minutes of each segment. This is no reflection on Glen as a teacher. It's the topic, which for me, who, for example, is still traumatized by high school chemistry class, is hard to wrap the mind around ( or is it open the mind to? ) Any, if you are going to slog forward, Glen has provided some PowerPoint style graphics for this topic. They are at the show notes at www.bdnow.org. He has also provided a copy of his paper on Equisetum, which is referenced in the lecture. It will give you a good idea of the concepts in this lecture in practice. The paper is also at the show notes for this episode at bdnow.org Remember, if listening to this podcast brings up any questions, you can ask those questions in the "reply" section of the show notes of this episode. Glen will be directly answering your questions posted there. If you're planning on going this deeply into a biodynamic practice, you owe it to yourself and, frankly, others who will read your question and Glen's response, to take advantage of this opportunity. As always, if you appreciate what we are trying to accomplish with these podcasts on producing food of the highest nutritional quality, please leave a positive comment at the end of the show notes AND PLEASE rate us with maximum stars at iTunes or which ever podcast distributer you use.

Direct download: BDNowSE03.3GlenAtkinsonSteinersMedicalLectures.mp3
Category:Conversation -- posted at: 9:55pm EDT

BD Now! Special Episode 03.2 How the Medical Lectures Inform the Agriculture Lectures This is part 2 (of 3) of the third program with biodynamic agriculture educator, Glen Atkinson. The topic is How Steiner's Medical Lectures inform his Agriculture Lectures. If you are not familiar with Rudolf Steiner and biodynamics or have no motivation as a biodynamic practitioner to gain deep insights into the basic principles of biodynamic agriculture, then there is no reason to listen to this particular lecture series. This is a very heady program. As you will hear, Glen leaves me behing in the first 10 minutes and this is no reflection on Glen as a teacher. It's the topic, which for me, who, for example, is still traumatized by high school chemistry class, is hard to wrap the mind around ( or is it open the mind to? ) Any, if you are going to schlog forward, Glen has provided some PowerPoint style graphics for this topic. They are at the show notes at bdnow.org. He has also provided a copy of his paper on Equisetum, which is referenced in the lecture. It will give you a good idea of the concepts in this lecture in practice. The paper is also at the show notes for this episode at bdnow.org Remember, if listening to this podcast brings up any questions, you can ask those questions in the "reply" section of the show notes of this episode. Glen will be directly answering your questions posted there. If you're planning on going this deeply into a biodynamic practice, you owe it to yourself and, frankly, others who will read your question and Glen's response, to take advantage of this opportunity. As always, if you appreciate what we are trying to accomplish with these podcasts on producing food of the highest nutritional quality, please leave a positive comment at the end of the show notes AND PLEASE rate us with maximum stars at Itunes or which ever podcast distributer you use.

Direct download: BDNOWSE03.2GlenAtkinsonSteinersMedicalLectures.mp3
Category:Conversation -- posted at: 9:42pm EDT

BD Now! Special Episode 03.2 How the Medical Lectures Inform the Agriculture Lectures This is part 2 (of 3) of the third program with biodynamic agriculture educator, Glen Atkinson. The topic is How Steiner's Medical Lectures inform his Agriculture Lectures. If you are not familiar with Rudolf Steiner and biodynamics or have no motivation as a biodynamic practitioner to gain deep insights into the basic principles of biodynamic agriculture, then there is no reason to listen to this particular lecture series. This is a very heady program. As you will hear, Glen leaves me behing in the first 10 minutes and this is no reflection on Glen as a teacher. It's the topic, which for me, who, for example, is still traumatized by high school chemistry class, is hard to wrap the mind around ( or is it open the mind to? ) Any, if you are going to schlog forward, Glen has provided some PowerPoint style graphics for this topic. They are at the show notes at bdnow.org. He has also provided a copy of his paper on Equisetum, which is referenced in the lecture. It will give you a good idea of the concepts in this lecture in practice. The paper is also at the show notes for this episode at bdnow.org Remember, if listening to this podcast brings up any questions, you can ask those questions in the "reply" section of the show notes of this episode. Glen will be directly answering your questions posted there. If you're planning on going this deeply into a biodynamic practice, you owe it to yourself and, frankly, others who will read your question and Glen's response, to take advantage of this opportunity. As always, if you appreciate what we are trying to accomplish with these podcasts on producing food of the highest nutritional quality, please leave a positive comment at the end of the show notes AND PLEASE rate us with maximum stars at Itunes or which ever podcast distributer you use.

Direct download: BDNOWSE03.2GlenAtkinsonSteinersMedicalLectures.mp3
Category:Conversation -- posted at: 9:42pm EDT

BD Now! Special Episode 03.2 How the Medical Lectures Inform the Agriculture Lectures This is part 2 (of 3) of the third program with biodynamic agriculture educator, Glen Atkinson. The topic is How Steiner's Medical Lectures inform his Agriculture Lectures. If you are not familiar with Rudolf Steiner and biodynamics or have no motivation as a biodynamic practitioner to gain deep insights into the basic principles of biodynamic agriculture, then there is no reason to listen to this particular lecture series. This is a very heady program. As you will hear, Glen leaves me behing in the first 10 minutes and this is no reflection on Glen as a teacher. It's the topic, which for me, who, for example, is still traumatized by high school chemistry class, is hard to wrap the mind around ( or is it open the mind to? ) Any, if you are going to schlog forward, Glen has provided some PowerPoint style graphics for this topic. They are at the show notes at bdnow.org. He has also provided a copy of his paper on Equisetum, which is referenced in the lecture. It will give you a good idea of the concepts in this lecture in practice. The paper is also at the show notes for this episode at bdnow.org Remember, if listening to this podcast brings up any questions, you can ask those questions in the "reply" section of the show notes of this episode. Glen will be directly answering your questions posted there. If you're planning on going this deeply into a biodynamic practice, you owe it to yourself and, frankly, others who will read your question and Glen's response, to take advantage of this opportunity. As always, if you appreciate what we are trying to accomplish with these podcasts on producing food of the highest nutritional quality, please leave a positive comment at the end of the show notes AND PLEASE rate us with maximum stars at Itunes or which ever podcast distributer you use.

Direct download: BDNOWSE03.2GlenAtkinsonSteinersMedicalLectures.mp3
Category:Conversation -- posted at: 9:42pm EDT

This is part 1 of the third program with biodynamic agriculture educator, Glen Atkinson. The topic is How Steiner's Medical Lectures inform his Agriculture Lectures.

If you are not familiar with Rudolf Steiner and biodynamics or have no motivation as a biodynamic practitioner to gain deep insights into the basic principles of biodynamic agriculture, then there is no reason to listen to this particular lecture series.

This is a very heady program. As you will hear, Glen leaves me behing in the first 10 minutes and this is no reflection on Glen as a teacher. It's the topic, which for me, who, for example, is still traumatized by high school chemistry class, is hard to wrap the mind around ( or is it open the mind to? )

Any, if you are going to schlog forward, Glen has provided some PowerPoint style graphics for this topic. They are at the show notes at bdnow.org. He has also provided a copy of his paper on Equisetum, which is referenced in the lecture. It will give you a good idea of the concepts in this lecture in practice. The paper is also at the show notes for this episode at bdnow.org

Remember, if listening to this podcast brings up any questions, you can ask those questions in the "reply" section of the show notes of this episode. Glen will be directly answering your questions posted there. If you're planning on going this deeply into a biodynamic practice, you owe it to yourself and, frankly, others who will read your question and Glen's response, to take advantage of this opportunity.

As always, if you appreciate what we are trying to accomplish with these podcasts on producing food of the highest nutritional quality, please leave a positive comment at the end of the show notes AND PLEASE rate us with maximum stars at Itunes or which ever podcast distributer you use.

Direct download: BDNowSE03.1GlenAtkinsonSteinersMedicalLectures.mp3
Category:Conversation -- posted at: 1:36pm EDT

Show Notes are at www.bdnow.org

Our Guest today is New Zealand Astrologer, Gardener, Herbalist, Homeopath and Philosopher - Glen Atkinson, who has developed the agricultural and medical work of Rudolf Steiner into a rational and secular approach of being with nature while staying true to Dr Steiner's energetic indications.

In this episode Glen discusses Rudolf Steiner's natal chart and aspects of his biography.

Glen began working with Steiner's indications in 1976 and has made developments in several fields. His innovation and understanding of Steiner have come from recognizing the fundamental similarity between the traditional Astrological world view and Steiner's suggestions. Then, from experimentation and observation, a simple yet innovative theory of manifestation - The Atkinson Conjecture - has become the basis for many practical activities.

Glen is founder of on-line The Biodynamic College The ONLY college on the planet, where the whole of Dr Steiner’s ‘Agriculture Course’ can be fully understood.

The show notes for today's conversation and more presentations by Glen Atkinson are at bdnow.org If you appreciate hearing programs on topics as valuable as this one, please take the time to leave The Biodynamics Now! Podcast a positive review on iTunes or at least stop by bdnow.org and say 'Hi' in a comment.

Direct download: BDNowSE02GlenAtkinsonRudolfSteiner.mp3
Category:Conversation -- posted at: 8:22am EDT

Show notes for this special episode of the Biodynamics Now! Podcast are at http://www.bdnow.org

Even though Rudolf Steiner told us that malignant beings use the moment of a total eclipse to pass from the moon to Earth, Biodynamic astrologer Glen Atkinson is optimistic that Monday's eclipse could have a positive effect on what's currently going on here on Earth.

Welcome to a special episode of the Biodynmiacs Now! Investigative Farming and Restorative Nutrition podcast. Your host is Allan Balliett

Today we are going to discuss the August 21 Full Eclipse of the Sun from a Steiner perspective with New Zealand Astrologer, Gardener, Herbalist, Homeopath and Philosopher - Glen Atkinson, has developed the agricultural and medical work of Rudolf Steiner into a rational and secular approach of being with nature while staying true to Dr Steiner's energetic indications.

Glen began working with Steiner's indications in 1976 and has made developments in several fields. His innovation and understanding of Steiner have come from recognising the fundamental similiarity between the traditional Astrological world view and Steiner's suggestions. Then, from experimentation and observation, a simple yet innovative theory of manifestation - The Atkinson Conjecture - has become the basis for many practical activities.

Glen is founder of on-line The Biodynamic College The ONLY college on the planet, where the whole of Dr Steiner’s ‘Agriculture Course’ can be fully understood.

The show notes for today's conversation are at bdnow.org

If you appreciate hearing programs on topics as valueable as this one, please take the time to leave The Biodynamics Now! podcast a positive review on iTunes or at least stop by bdnow.org and say 'hi' in a comment.

Direct download: BDNowSpecialEpisodeGlenAtkinsonBiodynamicSolarEclipse.mp3
Category:Conversation -- posted at: 6:16pm EDT

Welcome to episode 40 of the Biodynmiacs Now! Investigative Farming and Restorative Nutrition podcast. Your host is Allan Balliett Our guest today is naturopathic oncologist Dr. Nasha Winters She has been working in the health care industry for twenty-five years and is a nationally board certified naturopathic doctor, licensed acupuncturist, practitioner of oriental medicine, and is a fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology. She lectures all over the world and trains physicians in integrative therapies. Current statstics show that one in five Americans will get cancer in their lifetime. Personal observation will demonstrate to you that conventional medicine is not effective at healing or preventing cancer. In fact, it really cant even explain it. Dr. Winters is a cancer surviver of twenty-five years. Her early experience with managing her own cancer lead her to to a life time of researching the real cause and cure of cancer. In this journey, she's come to be called " a walking encyclopedia for integrative medicine" Her research led her to dismiss the conventional explanations for cancer and to embrace the metabolic theory of cancer. The metabolic theory of cancer means that when the mitochondria in a cell fail, that cell will become cancerous. It means that we must find ways to always be reducing our toxin intake while promoting our nutritional intake. The Metabolic Approach to Cancer is Dr Winters handbook on how to heal yourself from cancer or how to make yourself so healthy that you will never get cancer, even if you are genetically pre-disposed to it. I The Metabolic Approach to Cancer, by leading integrative oncologist Dr. Nasha Winters and nutrition therapist Jess Higgins Kelley is the first book to offer a comprehensive, nutrition-focused approach to managing cancer. T Through addressing the ten root causes of cancer and approaching the disease from a nutrition-focused standpoint, Winters and Kelley hope to empower both patients and physicians to slow cancer’s endemic spread and live optimized lives The book is a fun and lively read filled with information so important to the well being and longevity of everyone in today's environment The show notes for today's conversation are at bdnow.org If you appreciate hearing programs on topics as valueable as this one, please take the time to leave The Biodynamics Now! podcast a positive review on iTunes or at least stop by bdnow.org and say 'hi' in a comment.

Direct download: BDNow040DrNashaWintersTheMetabolicApproachtoCancer.mp3
Category:Conversation -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

This remarkable book is a must-read if you have any concerns about improving your health or performance. While mainstream medicine continues to deny the effectiveness - - and even the safety! - - of the ketogenic diet, a nutritionist (Patricia Daly) and a practical celebrity chef (Domini Kemp) - - both cancer survivors - - have researched the sensible nutritional science behind the effectiveness of the keto diet and have given us a beautiful book full of delicious recipes and meal plans that keep being low carb or ketogenic an easy and delicious thing to do!

Domini is the co-author with nutritional therapist Patircia Daly of The Ketogenic Kitchen the first comprehensive ketogenic cookbook based on exciting new research on nutritional approaches to the prevention and management of cancer. This is a must-have cookbook for people with cancer or who want to prevent cancer, written by a practicing research nutritionist and a progressive chef who both use low-carohydrate diets to support their own recovery from cancer. It's beautiful book, full of nutritional information, inspiration and delicious recipes!

Domini is an award winning chef, food writer, and entrepreneur. In 2013, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and since then she has shifted her focus towards healthier eating. She changed her column in the Irish Times to focus on healthier recipes and opened Alchemy Juice Co., a juice and wholefoods cafe. The Ketogenic Kitchen is her fifth cookbook and is focused on nutrition and well-being through tastey and easy to prepare whole food recipes.

For decades, the ketogenic diet—which shifts the body’s metabolism from burning glucose to burning fat, lowering blood sugar and insulin and resulting in a metabolic state known as ketosis—has been used to successfully manage pediatric epilepsy. More recently, it has been used by the Paleo community as a performance and weight loss strategy and to promote metabolic health by reducing insulin resistance. Now emerging research suggests that a ketogenic diet, in conjunction with conventional treatments, also offers new hope for those coping with cancer and other serious disease.

The Ketogenic Kitchen is the cookbook that Domini and Patricia wished had existed when they first started managing their cancer recovery with a low carb high fat diet. The book gives advice we can trust because both of the author's are cancer survivors and attribute their survival to the concepts and recipes included in The Ketogenic Kitchen

Direct download: BDNow038Domini_Kemp_TheKetogenicKitchen.mp3
Category:Conversation -- posted at: 7:51am EDT

Welcome episode 34 of the Biodynmiacs Now! Investigative Farming and Restorative Nutrition podcast. Your host is Allan Balliett

Our program today is a discussion among 3 long time activist supporters of the Community SUpported agriculture Movemen about the CSA Charter that was adapted this year. The participans are Elizabeth Henderson, a CSA farmer since 1989, author of Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture author of the CSA Chapter we are discussing today, and frequent speaker on agricultural community at sustainable ag conferences world wide AND Steven McFadden, long time advocate for CSAs and sustainable life style and autthor, with Trauger Groh of Farms of Tomorrow Revisited: Community-Supported Farms – Farm Supported Communities, a primary text of the CSA movement.

The first CSA farm in the US started in New England in 1986 the concept, basic to the local food movement and the grassroots organic food movement spread rapidly. Today, there are over 7000 CSA in the US. Unfortunately, CSA in the US is in something of a crises because marketing savey entrepenuers have recently established numerous non -local, non wholesome non-quality food distrubution schemes have pushed real CSAs out of the very market they created. The CSA charter is an affirmation of the strong practical values of the genuine CSA movement, the features that separate real community farming from those who look to in apporpriate profit from consumers trust and confusion..

The show notes for today's conversation are at bdnow.org

If you appreciate hearing programs on topics as important as this one, please take the time to leave The Biodynamics Now! podcast a positive review on iTunes, there's a link at the show notes @bdnow.org

We join a conversation that's already in progress. It's Allan Balliett's voice you will hear first.

Direct download: BDNow034Elizabeth_Henderson_and_Stephen_McFadden_CSA_Charter.mp3
Category:Conversation -- posted at: 12:10pm EDT

BD Now! Podcast Episode 024 Deirdre Keekin, Vinter, Biodynamic Viticulturist, Author of "An Unlikely Vineyard"

Deirdre Heekin is the author of An Unlikely Vineyard. She is the proprietor and wine director of Osteria Pane e Salute, an acclaimed restaurant and wine bar in Woodstock, Vermont. Heekin and her husband and head chef, Caleb Barber, are the authors of In Late Winter We Ate Pears (Chelsea Green, 2009), and she is also the author of Libation: A Bitter Alchemy (Chelsea Green, 2009) and Pane e Salute (Invisible Cities Press, 2002). Heekin and her husband live on a small farm in Barnard, Vermont, where they grow both the vegetables for their restaurant and natural wines and ciders for their la garagista label.

An Unlikely Vineyard
The Education of a Farmer and Her Quest for Terroir

Is it possible to capture landscape in a bottle? To express the essence of place—its geology, geography, climate, and soil—as well as the skill of the winegrower?

That’s what Deirdre Heekin and her husband have set out to accomplish on their tiny, eight-acre hillside farm in Vermont—in their quest for terroir.

“Terroir is about mud and stones, but it is also about the varietal nature of the plants or animals that grow in or on this land, the microclimate of a hillside or plain, and the personality of those who do the tending. It represents the six sides of the honeycomb: geology, variety, geography, climate, social culture, and the human hand,” writes Heekin in
An Unlikely Vineyard. “Another winegrower I know says that what is poured into the glass is a liquid landscape painting of the 365 days of a certain year. This is my hope on our farm: to capture the four seasons of each year in the bottle, a liquid portrait of our landscape and its history. This is my quest.”
An Unlikely Vineyard tells the story of their farm and its evolution, from overgrown fields to a fertile, productive, and beautiful landscape that melds with its natural environment. But the book is much more than that. It also presents, through the example of their farming journey and winegrowing endeavors, an impressive amount of information on
how to think about almost every aspect of gardening: from composting to trellising; from cider and perry making to old garden roses; from pruning (or not) to dealing naturally with pests and diseases.

 

Challenged by cold winters, wet summers, and other factors, they set about to grow not only a vineyard, but an orchard of heirloom apples, pears, and plums, as well as gardens filled with vegetables, herbs, roses, and wildflowers destined for their own table and for the kitchen of their small restaurant. They wanted to create, or rediscover, a sense of place,
and to grow food naturally using the philosophy and techniques of organics, permaculture, and biodynamic farming.

This book is proof of their success, writes Alice Feiring in the book’s Foreword: “In a state so committed to organic and unprocessed food, Deirdre is currently the sole voice for the same kind of wine. But in writing this book, she proves to all who endeavor to make true wine in climates where grapes struggle for ripeness that it is indeed possible. Others will follow. How could they not when the results are so stellar?”
Accompanied throughout by lush photos, this gentle narrative will appeal to anyone who loves food, farms, and living
well.

Direct download: BDNOW024_Deirdre_Heekin._AnUnlikelyVineyard.mp3
Category:Conversation -- posted at: 11:12pm EDT

Glen Atkinson , Astrologer, Biodynamic Gardener, Homeopath and Philosopher. His endevours have been focused on developing the agricultural and medical work of the turn of the 20th century German philosopher, Dr Rudolf Steiner.

Glen began working with Dr Steiner's indications in 1976 and has since made developments in several fields.  His innovation and understanding of Dr Steiner's suggestions have come firstly from recognising the fundamental similiarity, between the traditional Astrological world view and Steiner's suggestions. Then from experimentation and observation. A simple yet innovative theory of manifestation - The Atkinson Conjecture - has become the basis for his many practical activities.

Glen accepts that, all the forces and activities talked of in Dr Steiner's Agriculture Course exist within the electro magnetic spectrum, and that the physical Universe is big enough to be 'God' . Hence, what can be known and proven, forms the basics of his observation, reference and practice.   There are several free books  outlining the basis of this world view available on Glen's webpage. 

Dr Steiner's agricultural indications are contained within a series of 8 lectures known as the 'Agriculture Course'. To aid in their understanding and appreciation, we have provided these often difficult lectures with a commentary, that seeks to harmonise them into a cohesive comphrehensible whole. More recently Glen has reorganised and lightly edited the theoretical parts of the original text, to enable an easier appreciation of the message contained with in.

 

"Garuda" is Glen's brand. On his website he shares why he picked this name:

 

Garuda is a Hindu god, who as an incarnated EAGLE manifestation of the primary god Vishnu. He performs several essential functions in life.

 

In India he is represented as a protector of the godly and all that is good for life.

 

In Indonesia he is represented as the Eagle who carries Vishnu to the Earth, thus he is "Bringing Spirit to Earth".

 

The Eagle also represents the ability to fly high and gain a far seeing vision , or large overview perspective of Life, while being able to also see the specific details of the environment.

 

This last quality I see mirrored in a suggestion by Rudolf Steiner (RS)

 

"... when we want to understand the plant, we must bring into question not only plant animal and human life, but the whole universe. For life comes from the whole universe not only the Earth. Nature is a unity and her forces are at work from all sides. He who can keep his mind open to the manifest workings of these forces will understand her. " R.S. Pg 70 1938 Agriculture. (1)

 

'This statement has long been a 'guiding thought' for me in my working with his indications, which so beautifully brings Spirit to Earth and help life processes function at their optimum.' (GA)"


Episode 018 of the Biodynamics Now! Podcast: Stephen Crimi, Publisher and the Alan Chadwick Archive

Steve Crimi is the publisher of Logosophia Books in Asheville, NC, and one of the keepers of the Alan Chadwick Archive. He and his wife Krys ran Philosophy Farm, an biodynamic/permaculture farm in the mountain of Western NC for over a decade. He has given talks internationally on Biodynamics, Sacred Geometry and the Sacred Origins of Western Civilization, and can be reached through www.logosophiabooks.com. A blog containing some of his writings is found at http://open.salon.com/blog/stevecrimi. 

The English born Alan Chadwick came into the world on July 27, 1909. Born into the upper class of Edwardian society, Alan was exposed at a young age to a variety of aesthetic pursuits, gardening being chief among them. As a youth the mystic Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner heavily influenced him. Steiner's theories, though largely disregarded by the wider academic community, found a stronghold in the mind of young Alan. Later in his life Chadwick would combine what he learned from Steiner with French gardening techniques to develop his own brand of biodynamic horticulture. Chadwick's passion for the arts led him to the Shakespearean theater where he performed professionally for thirty two years. However his life pursuit of beauty was violently interrupted by the Second World War, which he described as having "capsized my attitude to civilization." After the war he moved to South Africa where he continued to act and to garden. In 1967, Chadwick was persuaded by his friend Countess Freye von Moltke to take a position at the burgeoning UC Santa Cruz. During his time at the University, Chadwick labored to construct a showcase garden employing his biodynamic techniques. While working the soil, he taught the students his philosophy based on a clear understanding of the rhythms of nature in creating a thriving botanical environment, as well as about the role of the garden in human culture. Chadwick was an extremely magnetic individual who attracted a large following to his lectures and a large number of devoted volunteers, whom he worked hard in the garden. Though a charming person, Chadwick was also quick to anger and notoriously difficult to get along with at times. This aspect of his personality, along with disputes over the direction of his ambitious farm project, led to his leaving the University in 1973. In the final seven years of his life, Alan continued to work in his signature style helping to create several gardens around America. He died on May 25, 1980.

Alan Chadwick remains highly regarded by the agricultural community and is seen as the forerunner to the Center for Agro-ecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) that exists today at UC Santa Cruz. The original garden remains an island of peace within the bustling University and is now named in his honor.

from :UCSC OAC Unit

The University Library

Special Collections and Archives

University Library

University of California, Santa Cru


What if you created a system of agriculture that solved many of today's problems around nutrition and farming and it was being destroyed by the very same degenerated food system it was seeking to replace?

Community supported agriculture is a social movement that arose in the US in the late 1980s because people recognized a need to produce healthy, clean, safe, ecologically sound and spiritually energized - foods while caring appropriately for  the environment. It was clear then as it is today that agriculture within the pressures of the  current economic system is subject to so many degrading economic forces that it is incapable of producing foods that provided the nutrients necessary for proper human health and development. While there are larger issues at stake when children (and adults)  are developing with only a fraction of the nutrition required to reach their full potential,  we can see these nutritional short comings in increasing rates of cancers, allergies and intestinal problems. In addition,  the environmental impact of extractive agriculture is seen everywhere. 

The ecological movement and the biodynamic movement in particular sought to find models of farming that would allow small and medium sized farmers to produce the highest quality foods with traditional "unbusinesslike" methods of farming  without the fear of bankruptcy. In other words a successful socio-economic mode. around food and farming. In the beginning, CSAs were without question organic and, usually, biodynamic, contributing substantially to the health of their members through minimizing toxicity and maximizing nutrition of the foods provided.

CSA was a simple but profound model in which cooperation between a farmer and the people who would eat what he produced assured clean, nutritious foods for the consumers, a guaranteed, if small, income for the artisan farmer, appropriate husbandry of soil, plants and livestock, as well as the peripheral benefits of providing  access to the land for the children of member families, habitat that promoted and supported biodiversity as well as , in the early years, providing an example that farming without chemicals could actually work. In other words, CSA provided much more than 'a bag of produce every week for the growing season.

Steven McFadden has pointed out that CSA farms in the USA are so popular that they have grown from 2 in 1988 to 8500 in 2013. Unfortunately, not many of the CSAs in the 2013 figure even try to address the values that made CSA so important to the future of local food and  farming in the beginning. 

One of the great short comings of the CSA nationally was the failure for its leaders to provide at least a minimal definition of CSA, instead promoting the open minded foolishness that "the wonderful thing about CSA is there is no definition." Really? Nothing as simple as 'A group of consumers coming around a farmer and a piece of land to tend to the land in every way appropriate while producing the highest quality food for the community and a dependable living wage for the farmer"? 

A whole raft of 'produce delivery' schemes have arisen, all of them using the term "CSA" to market under, which, apparently, was defined as 'a box or bag of produce once a week." There's a farm outside of Baltimore that sells 800 CSA shares off from 2 acres of land and, then, if you can believe it, wholesales shares to a retailer in Rockville who, with no farm and nor farmer, has posed as a "CSA" in for many years. (This really became distasteful two years ago when the source farm dropped 'organic' from its description (because the produce was coming from a general commercial produce auction) but the reseller in Rockville continued to offer that same commercial produce as "organic" "CSA" shares.) 

Even more insidious are the aggregators, the ones that have pulled many farms together to compete against the many family farms that until recently have been making a reliable living with traditional CSAs. A major reason that the CSA arrangement is necessary for keeping  small organic farms viable is that small farms cannot produce enough 'product' to qualify as suppliers for commercial retail organic food stores. They are too small to enter the marketplace (never mind how the wholesale returns for doing so would most likely degrade their ability or willingness to properly care for their land). Now we have 'co-operatives' of dozens of organic farms that were assembled by corporate organic specialists for the noble task of  providing the wholesale markets with local food but instead have turned onto the CSA marketplace since their return price-per-pound is much higher if the get "CSA retail" rather than wholesale.  So, keep in mind that these cooperatives have access to markets but have chosen to compete with small farmers in a system that was initially designed to support small local biological farming. To me, this has all the ethics of upper class bullies stealing the lunch money of younger students simply because they are able to do it. Worse in this case, because these co-ops are profitable, the very sustainable ag organizations that should be pulling them out of inappropriate competition with small farmers aid and abet them in their efforts. 

Another really sad thing has happened. If you want to enter the CSA marketplace for no more reason than to make money, you can call yourself a CSA, source your produce from anywhere, and use any of the web-based CSA advertising platforms - - that the CSA movement either developed or the brilliant intentions of the original CSA movement inspired others to create- -to advertise your fake CSA without fear of restriction.

Jean-Paul has told me in private conversation that the original CSA movement need not fear these commercialized intruders in the CSA movement because 'we will beat them on price and, more importantly, we will beat them on flavor.' Jean-Paul is right but Jean-Paul's farm has deep pockets and can suffer a season or two of reduced income. Most of the small farms in the original CSA movement have never been able to look more than a season ahead, unfortunately. 

It is true, two of the biggest commercial aggregators in the DC area have folded. Unfortunately, so have a number of small CSAs that have been established for years. On the national level, great CSAs like Angelic Organics are selling to the whole sale market for the first time ever, their CSA share sales reduced some 30% by so-called competition

Which reminds me: it certainly can be said that there weren't lots of farmers markets back in 1988 when CSA started and now they are everywhere on almost every day. That's true but, at least in this area, few of the market stands are organic and even fewer offer as many benefits, short and long term, as CSA offers for dollars spent on food. For those who cannot be motivated by principle, only by dollars-and-cents, most CSA's provide a season of organic produce and appropriate land management for much less than the same food, perhaps not organic, perhaps not grown in a deeply sustainable fashion, will cost at farmers markets.

Here's a pretty standard definition of CSA (from the now defunct Wilson College CSA center):

CSA is a relationship of mutual support and commitment between local farmers and community members who pay the farmer an annual membership fee to cover the production costs of the farm. In turn, members receive a weekly share of the harvest during the local growing season. The arrangement guarantees the farmer financial support and enables many small- to moderate-scale organic and/or bio-intensive family farms to remain in business. Ultimately, CSA programs create "agriculture-supported communities" where members receive a wide variety of foods harvested at their peak of freshness, ripeness, flavor, vitamin and mineral content. 

The goals of Community Supported Agriculture support a sustainable agriculture system which . . .provides farmers with direct outlets for farm products and ensures fair compensation.

• encourages proper land stewardship by supporting farmers in transition toward low or no chemical inputs and utilization of energy saving technologies.

•  strengthens local economies by keeping food dollars in local communities.

•  directly links farmers with the community- allowing people to have a personal connection with their food and the land on which it was produced.

• makes nutritious, affordable, wholesome foods accessible and widely available to community members.

•  creates an atmosphere for learning about non-conventional agricultural, animal husbandry, and alternative energy systems not only to the farmers and their apprentices, but also to members of the community, to educators from many fields of study, and to students of all ages.

One fact also to consider, organic food produced within local communities is not the same as organic food transported over long distances. When members obtain food from local farmers, environmental costs associated with the transport, processing and distribution of organic food and the consumption of fossil fuels are significantly reduced. Considering that the organic food available to members was produced locally rather than transported over long distances, the cost to the environment is significantly less.

Today's program, "The Future of CSA," addresses many of these issues.

Direct download: BD_Now_Podcast_017_The_Future_of_CSA_S.McFadden_J-P.Courtens.mp3
Category:Conversation -- posted at: 5:29pm EDT

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