Could biodynamics help bridge the gap in developing farmer intuition?
Saskia G. von Diest
Abstract: Several scientific studies indicate that farmers do not often use formalised decision support tools as expected, and many prefer to rely on their intuition to make practical management decisions. While agricultural science and education acknowledge the different types of knowledge that farmers utilize, intuition continues to receive little attention in agricultural science, indicating a gap in farmer decision-making research.
The mechanism driving intuition remains under debate, but is described as a pervasive, involuntary, rapid way of knowing, offering access to tacit (internal, intangible) knowledge that complements analytic processes. Many studies agree that intuition can be trained to increase accu- racy and reliability. However, the comprehensive works on intuition by Rudolf Steiner hardly feature in modern science, and yet his writings and biodynamic agriculture approach offer farmers and non-farmers guidelines for systematic development of subtle abilities like intuition.
There may be value in collaborative, transdisciplinary exploration between agricultural research and biody- namic theory and practice, for supporting farmers to develop their intuitive knowing. Such an alliance could help increase the awareness and practice of biodynamics, expand the knowledge base and lexicon for the emerging research field of intuitive farming, and help reinvigorate agricultural research toward more efficient, customized and connected farming practices.
Keywords: Intuition; Tacit knowledge; Biodynamic agri- culture; Experiential learning; Ecofluency
Research publications concerning biodynamics