Eve Kaye née Brocklebank,
a very biodynamic lady –
by Gabriel Kaye
Eve loved the family garden, it was often her refuge as a child, sitting on a wall watching how the gardener worked. She was born third child; the family Iiving in Wiltshire, though much of her early childhood was spent in Malta where her naval officer father was posted.
When she was six, her parents discovered anthroposophy, Her father said “This is what I have been looking for” and embraced it whole heartedly. The family plans changed and she and her sister were enrolled at the New (Waldorf) School, Streatham, soon followed by brother, Ralph, and younger sister Una. The beautiful garden was turned over to biodynamic growing, this continued throughout WWZ nourishing children and soldiers stationed in the family home.
School and boarding with Miss Fox in London and holidays in the beloved Wiltshire house was the pattern until the School was evacuated to Minchead in September ’39.
From summer 1940 to 1944, the four children and their mother went to Canada, taking three cousins with them, where they were all distributed around host families and different schools. This was challenging for Eve but she loved the great outdoors and summer camps, and all that Canada had to offer. Back in England in 1944, her mother rented a house in Minchead
When the New School acquired Kidbrook Park Eve was in Upper School and so went there for a mixture of schooling and preparing the place for the rest of the school; scraping off blackout paint and cutting back years of neglect on the estate. She enjoyed excavating the old areas of garden from wilderness.
Then Eve was in a mixed class 11-12 feeling she was in the wrong place, so left to join her sister Ann at a London crammer for her Matric. Her father died at this time of her last spring at school, this left a big hole in her life. She went on to Trinity College, Dublin but left after a year. Eve found fulfilment in a job at nearby biodynamic market garden and doing the part-time Waldorf teachers training in London.
She loved the quiet work with the plants as much as delivering super fresh vegetables to grocers anad markets where “her’ biodynamic produce was hugely appreciated
Anthony Kaye had discovered biodynamic farming in Scotland on a practical for his farm training. He and his parents bought a farm in Surrey, he farmed it biodynami cally for 7 years. Anthony courted Eve and they married, Eve became a mother, Gabriel was born in Surrey, Tobias, Denys and Sandy were born on her aunt’s biodynamic farm in Ireland where Anthony was farm manager and developing the flourmill.
Eve always had a garden where she grew good healthy biodynamic food and the children learnt how great veg tastes when in the garden! When the children reached school age Eve felt that Waldorf education was needed and the fam ily moved to Sussex, Imma was born in Forest Row while Anthony was developing UK. Holle baby food and Charlotte when he started as cook at Emerson College; the children went to Michael Hall, Eve seemed to prefer gardening to housework; vegetables and soft fruit and apples were abundant and the children and au pairs Icarnt not to get too fussed by a small creature in some fresh produce. All this time Anthony ran biodynamic study groups and stirring parties, bringing the preparations home for Eve’s garden.
In 1977 Ireland pulled again; Eve and Anthony took on the aunt’s biodynamic farm, Kilmurry. They set up a community for farm and biodynamic work, which drew many people. Their biodynamie community work was carried on at Inisglas from 1981-2000. Then they retired to a cottage in Gorey near son Denys and Duffcarrig Camphill.
At Inisglas Eve had her own bit of garden delight of flowers and cared for general areas. She would talk of the value of biodynamies and support Anthony in bringing this work onto the land. In Gorey she grew a few vegetables and flowers, once again loving to spend time outside growing thing,
During the years in Ireland both Eve and Anthony dedicated themselves to spreading knowledge of anthroposophy and biodynamics, enthusing study groups in Wexford, Cork, Clonmel and other places, This led to the formal estab lishing of the BIDAAl (Biodynamic Agricultural Association of Ireland). After Anthony’s death in 2006, Eve still went to some of these groups and particularly the local one where her intelligent, sympathetic and down-to earth way enabled many people to get to grips with this approach to life.
Knitting, music (piano, choir and cello), and gardening were her artistic and energy outlets, and much enjoyed.
She loved the groups around Ircland, which for so many years enabled her to enliven biodynamics in the country and to make friends who came to love her for her warm, real engagement with hife, anthroposophy and biodynamics.
In her last few years Eve moved to Stroud to live with Gabriel and get the support needed as she became older.
Over the last months of her illness daughters Charlotte and Gabriel supported her so that she could stay home and be cared for by family; she died in February this year.
There are people all around the world who remember her as sitting knitting while still taking a keen interest in all that was going on around her, always prepared to engage or give a practical tip. She had a deep compassion for the human condition and met people in a way that inspired many.
Thomas van Elsen, who works not in a therapeutic community but in association with the University of Kassel, Germany and has probably done more than anyone else to build a network on the Continent of social farming initiatives, spoke on the following morning on the theme of
‘Social and Ecological Inclusion and Perspectives of Social Farming’. He indicated that in Germany there has especially in the post-war years been a conscious intention to integrate people with disabilities on farms and to build up a network of ‘school farms, and he mentioned an organisation called Farming for Health’ (2004) which seeks to contribute to the health and well-being of people and of the land. For him the advent of biodynamic agriculture marks the point where, on the foundation of the freedom that man has been granted through gift of incarnation, he can begin to make the transition from receiving from nature to giving something back.
The preparations are a symptom of this. Man will only develop if he is able to serve nature and, moreover, to recog-nise the unique individuality of each person (integration as opposed to mere inclusion).
All these contributions gave rise to fruitful conversations both in the round and in the breaks; and on both the full afternoons of the conference this was further enhanced by visits, respectively, to Tablehurst Farm (including the Pericles woodland crafts project), and to the Mount Cam-phill Community, Pericles and the Hoathly Hill gardens.
The main additional content for the conference was provided by Peter Brown and Aonghus Gordon. On the Thursday evening Peter spoke on Caring for the Farm Together’, reflecting in a moving way about his experience of team work in working on the farm in a Camphill community in South Africa. This experience of a farm which has people at its centre, representing the social ‘glue’ that brings it all together, is one that he and his wife Brigitte brought to Tablehurst over 20 years ago and remains his vision for the future. His contribution was followed by Aonghus Gordon’s talk on Caring for the Farm, Caring for People: Transformational Potential in the Animal Community for Human Development’. Aonghus spoke of the farm organism as being to a remarkable degree a means of furthering human development. In accordance with Manfred Klett’s vision of a BD farm as a ‘university of the future’, a research centre can find its place on a BD farm or garden. The Field Centre is such a centre, where BD is looked at through the lens of the twelve senses and in conjunction with the development of the child and adolescent. As a result of the research undertaken at Ruskin Mill, it has been found that woodland ecology, horticulture and farming have a positive effect upon the physical and mental health of young people, not least with respect to helping those with autistic spectrum and oppositional disorders to develop a ‘locus of control’ within their own soul (and quite dramatically through identifying comparable traits within the animal kingdom). Aonghus expanded on, and gave rich historical depth to, this theme in the talk that he gave the following morning on “The Organising Principles for a Therapeutic and Pedagogical Curriculum through Biodynamic Ecology’. Through this second talk it became clear that, just as the educator needs to reach beyond the classroom into the outside of nature and understand it on its own terms (as, for example, Goethe and Ruskin sought to do), so does the will of the farmer/ gardener — who provides the resources that are essential for this – need to be encompassed by cosmic rhythms, so that farming is not merely production but becomes an educative and therapeutic tool.
Perhaps partly thanks to the thoroughly mirthful but also moving production by the Pericles Theatre Company on the Friday evening, the final morning of the conference constituted a thorough digestion by all participants of the ideas presented at the conference. Building on Hartwig’s initial remark that we each now need to be aware of our individual responsibility wherever we are and that, at this conference, we’ve made a new step, the conversation – which also included the husband and wife team of Stephen and Mary who organise the regional Social Farming Hub has and Farm Buddies – led in the final session to a proposal by gs Craig Harding to host another comparable event in the For-to est of Dean and based at Oaklands Park but including visits 1e to different centres, among which would be Ruskin Mill in In’s Nailsworth, as Ricardo Pereira agreed to assist in the organ-ising. This next conference would include a debate as to how to work practically with the social organism, with a particular contribution from Guido Joel Roerick from Mourne Grange. It was felt by all that this offer would represent an excellent next step. It would be up to this new group to propose a date, and information would be circulated to all participants