Muck and Mind

Encountering Biodynamic Agriculture: An Alchemical Journey

Muck and Mind
Jonathan Code By (author)
Ed Berger Illustrated by
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6.0 X 9.0 in
212 pg

TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Agriculture / Sustainable Agriculture


“...the interests of agriculture are bound up with the broadest spheres of human life...there is practically no field of human endeavor that does not relate to agriculture in some way. Seen from whatever perspective you choose, agriculture touches on every single aspect of human life.” 
Rudolf Steiner, Agriculture

A healthy culture implies a healthy agriculture.
A healthy agriculture feeds a healthy culture.

Beyond the technology and use of machines, today rapidly developing technology (i.e., “genetic engineering”) extends into the realm of life, which we can, and therefore do, manipulate for the ostensibly noble purpose of feeding the people of the world.

Life, however, is not mechanical. To begin to comprehend life, something is desperately needed—a fundamental shift in our approach, one that seeks to comprehend the qualities of the living organism as a whole, and in relation to its whole environment, which extends, ultimately, to the outer limits of the cosmos.

This fundamental shift in approach is at the heart of biodynamic agriculture, the qualitative opposite of the genetically manipulative approach to agriculture, or “factory farming.” However, whereas the practical differences between these two approaches are profound, the real issue is not the details of methods, but the modes of consciousness behind those methods.

This book arose from the author’s engagement with core aspects of the biodynamic approach to land stewardship and from a deepened understanding for how working with the land, plants, and animals may become a catalyst not only for the transformation of compost and soil, but also for a transformation of consciousness.

“Nature’s life and flow are so fine and subtle that in the end they slip right through the coarse mesh of our rational concepts. That’s the mistake science has made in recent times—it tries to use coarse conceptual nets to catch things that are actually much too fine for them.” 
Rudolf SteinerAgriculture

∞ ∞ ∞

C O N T E N T S:


1. Beginnings: The Way It Is
2. Digging In
3. The Dance of Dandelions
4. Encountering Alchemy
5. Separate, Purify, and Recombine
6. Dragons and Hens
7. Three-in-One
8. The Turning Point
9. A Distillation of Words
10. Poeïsis

Post Script
“The Way It Is,” by William Stafford
“An Offer of Praise,” by Wendell Berry & William Stafford
Cited Works and Suggested Reading
About the Author and Illustrator

Author Bio

Jonathan Code is the Senior Education and Research Coordinator for the Hiram Education and Research Department of Crossfields Institute in Gloucestershire, UK. He has a deep interest in consciousness studies, Western esotericism, the natural sciences, and education. These interests informed both his Bachelor's degree (undertaken through the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco) and his MA (completed at Rudolf Steiner University College, Oslo). Jonathan has taught practical chemistry, phenomenology, and nature study to students of all ages for many years and continues to teach at Ruskin Mill Trust Colleges (Gloucestershire) in biodynamic apprentice seminars and in other adult education settings, both in the UK and internationally.

Ed Berger is a biodynamic farmer and teacher at Vale Head Farm, a small mixed farm in Staffordshire, England, owned and operated by Ruskin Mill Trust. He has been involved in socially orientated biodynamic farming and growing for 15 years, but previously studied art and design, focusing on furniture design and sculpture. Ed sees drawing as a means to engage and learn from the world, a way to drop ones expectations and really observe, an invaluable skill in illustrating, as well as teaching and farming. He lives on the farm with his partner, their two young children, and two dogs.