ExpO meeting for growers

A new participant’s review of this meeting at Clent.

David Yellowlees writes:

“I obtained a much fuller background of the bio-dynamic approach and of Anthroposophy, than I had before. The accent is upon conditioning the soil with compost and preparations, so that it provides the medium in which plants may be partly created by forces and not by tangible means of mineral solutions, water and gases. This takes a bit of swallowing. However these methods are clearly practised with success by members present at this meeting and from their eye witness accounts. it is clear that this is also the case on the bio-dynamic farms on the Continent.

Impressions of Conference: Far too much talk. It seemed more important to link some physical attribute of plant or animal with a Steiner theory or indication, than it was to discuss the attribute as it affected everyday practical working. This group could exist, talk, theorise and die and that would be that. Too concentric – and this at a time when the practices which it should be advocating are desperately needed by an agriculture, ridden by materialism – and they sit and talk and talk – getting nowhere fast. Despite practical activities of many members, there persisted a sense of being out of touch – airborne. Some phrases reminded me of those sometimes used in Church calculated to make man in the street run a mile and me personally to start climbing up the wall. Note: It is important to watch myself not to criticise out of ignorance; but these reactions are honest in that they probably represent the feelings of many practical men who could make an invaluable contribution if they were attracted and not repelled. It is true that the whole basis of B.D. work is Steiner’s theories and indications – right. Let us take these as read and get on with the job of applying what he advocates, even if while doing so we do not understand all the implications – that will come in time. Theology and Christian ethics divorced from practical Christianity is useless. Ditto, ditto Anthroposophy and agriculture. – But, thanks to Carl Mier the Conference was saved from being for me a fairly interesting waste of time. It was decided on his recommendation to concentrate upon the conservation of existing farm resources in the compost heap. Those of us who have not done so so far must start upon this foundation. This was agreed and also agreed that records should be kept and experiences be swapped late

By this means, after a little while it may be possible to answer the question: “What must I do to start farming my farm bio-dynamically?” with a positive helpful reply and some real facts. A consultant will emerge in time I think. Perhaps it is too early yet. I will not worry so long as Carl can come to Muirhill.

Steiner: Why has he not caught on? Modern philosophers seldom mention him. Yet he was remarkable, unique. Perhaps this conference gives the answer: 90% airy fairy and 10, practical. The proportion should be 50/50.”

So far friend David Yellowlees. I have not edited his text at all, hence also the inclusion of , admittedly flattering, but not quite iustified singling out of my contribution. It can be imagined that during my visit to his delightful home and beautiful farm we had endless talks (this time at his request) not only on the practical issues arising from the management of his farm, but just about the background and foundation of it all.

His frankness does us good, and so I thought all members should look into this mirror held in front of some of our more active friends.

Incidentally, I wonder how those present are getting on with the one heap we agreed upon as a minimum we would build and record its history. When I was at Muirhall, we built one together. How about the others?

It would be very fruitful, if this frank contribution by a non-member (for the inclusion of which I gladly take responsibility, should someone be shocked) would be the starting work of both practical work but also discussion in these pages