Pfeiffer visit


Scotland, Clent, Stroud, Dorset, London, Chase Gardens Chertsey, Soil Association research centre Haughley, AGM (13th July – for members of AAF and BDA)

The AAF Secretary’s Letter #26 announced that “… members of the Foundation are invited to take part in the second half of the Tenth AGM of the Biodynamic Association …” #27 reported that the visit had been a great success. He had visited Clent and the Sunfield children’s home and an evening at the Goetheanum Science foundation. “The weather somewhat interfered with the inspection of Broome Farm, but Dr PFeiffer cold see enough to get a very positive impression of Mr DS Clement’s work”

Reading the BDAAs newsheet of November 1950 we hear a little more from Rolf Gardiner:

Early this year Lord Portsmouth, J. E. Hosking and the present writer determined to pick up the threads of this pattern. We therefore planned what we called a European Husbandry Meeting and invited four Germans, two Swiss and three Frenchmen, all of outstanding merit individually, to join us in a fortnight’s fairly leisurely journeying from point to point across southern England. In the end all the Frenchmen failed to appear. But three Germans, and a very redoubtable veteran Swiss, Konrad von Meyenburg, the inventor of rotary tillers, joined us. To this party came also, like Hermes, Dr. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer.

In order to welcome Pfeiffer to these islands a tour by charter plane and car was arranged for him (as President of the Bio-Dynamic Association) which bore him from Kent to Aberdeenshire and thence to the West Midlands and back to Wessex, Middlesex, East Anglia and London. Thus this valuable observer of soils and farms could see for himself much of our green and pleasant land, and meet men and women at many centres, farms and estates. His comments were penetrating and wise. Seldom was there a man who knew the peculiarities of the working soils of different European countries and who had then became a practical commercial farmer in the United States who could look at the whole earth with such earned authority.

Meeting at Hosking’s beautiful manor home in Kent the group of friends began their tour, first across Sussex to Hampshire where a second sojourn was made in a delectable nook of Lord Portsmouth’s Hurstbourne estate, and then to Springfield where a fine week-end brightened a sodden summer. The luxuriance of England’s vegetation, the many closes and compartments of our folded, hedge-ribbed landscape, made a great impression on the Continental visitors two of whom had wide experience of the open monotonous steppes of eastern Europe and torrid southern Russia. They felt that the innumerable “islands, within the island” of Britain, gave England her ancient strength and repose, her unexhausted reserves of power and beauty. Even the belching industrial areas of the midlands and the north, the concrete wastes of metropolitan London, the shoddy suburbs of our provincial towns, could not efface the stretches of deeply loved, variegated, carefully stored countryside where every tree seems to have individual personality and refuse regimentation, where order is natural and happily untidy rather than imposed. To our German friends especially, England is still Zauberinsel, the land of Shakespeare’s Histories and The Tempest, tenanted by historic ghosts and natural faeries. And these give England lasting strength and glory, only to be betrayed by cheap commercialism and parvenu State-Socialism.