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Riverglen Biodynamic Farm news archive for the ‘Biodynamics’ Category

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Biodynamic Education in Ottawa

Rosemary Tayler will be teaching Introduction to Biodynamics at Riverglen Farm outside of Ottawa. Running one Sunday a month from April until November, this active learning program focuses on biodynamic principles with practical hands-on experience and innovative projects. David Burnford from Riverglen Farm and Hammo Hammond, both experienced biodynamic farmers, will also be attending these sessions.

For more information or to register, visit http://earthhaven.ca/intro-to-biodynamics-in-ottawa-ontario.php

Who is Teaching? Rosemary Tayler has a background in Education (BSc) in both pure science (MSc) and alternative medicine, in particular, homeopathy. For the past six years, she has studied and applied biodynamic and homeopathic learning to farming and gardening. Under the guidance and mentorship of several biodynamic teachers and the Society for Biodynamic Farming and Gardening in Ontario, Rosemary compiled and taught this course in 2013 together with Kathryn of Earth Haven Farm near Tweed.

Course Fee: $495 (no refunds after first class)
Textbooks: $40.00 + course fee. Purchase on your own or borrow.
Housekeeping: Bring your own lunch, plate, cup and cutlery.
Course Mentor: Hamo Hammond and David Burnford
Teacher: Rosemary Tayler
Registration & Car pools:
Contact Rosemary Tayler, Ottawa, 613-237-4777

Course Curriculum
April 27 – A Look at the Life and Times of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)
May 11 – Exploring the Character of Your Farm or Garden
June 8 – The Big Picture: The Cosmos and Life Forces
June 29 – Soil Science
July 27 – Timing is Everything
August 17 – The Four Elements
September 14 – The Value of Compost
October 5 – BD Preparations
October 26 – Food Vitality – Putting It All Together
November 23 – Ourselves and Each Other

Prerequisite: Students must have previous farming or gardening experience.

Course Textbooks: Agriculture, by Rudolf Steiner.
Stella Natura Biodynamic Planting Calendar 2014

Riverglen Farm Is a working biodynamic farm is located in the west Ottawa green belt between Bells Corners and Kanata, at 230 Davidson’s Side Road, Ottawa.

Directions: Coming from the Queensway, exit onto Moodie
Drive and proceed north to Carling Ave. Turn left (west) onto
Carling, then proceed 2-3 kilometers and turn right (north)
onto Davidson’s Side Road.

For further information contact:
Rosemary Tayler at 613-237-4777
David Burnford at info@riverglenfarm.ca / 613-721-7063
www.biodynamics.on.ca and www.riverglenfarm.ca

This is a single weblog entry, posted on March 24th, 2014. Comment here »


Society for Biodynamic Farming and Gardening in Ontario Holds it’s AGM

AGM in Armow Saturday April 5

Date: Saturday, April 5, 2014
Time: 9:00am to 5:00 pm
Place: Armow Community Centre
810 Concession 7 Kincardine
(junction of sideroad 15)
Armow, Ontario

The morning program is dedicated to election of officers and reports from various committees. After our business in the morning, we will feature Jodi Koberinski of the Organic Council of Ontario. Jodi travelled to India last year to visit Vandana Shiva at her Seed Saving Conference, and visited local farms, including biodynamic operations. Regarding her slide presentation, Jodi wrote:

“In 2012, I was invited by Dr. Vandana Shiva to take part in the Bhoomi Conference at the Navdanya Institute- a seed saving farm and centre for education in Dehra Dun, India. As part of the course work following the October 2012 conference, a group of international students traveled to a biodynamic mango farm in India to learn about biodynamic approaches in indian agriculture. I will bring slides and stories from my trip, as well as information from colleagues I met on the farms in India. My background is in policy and food processing and marketing, and my presentation will centre on my perspectives as a consumer and advocate, rather than as an agronomist or practicing farmer.”

Jodi’s presentation will be followed by lunch, generously provided by the Hack families. We are asked to bring a dessert or a salad to go with homemade soup and bread. It would be nice for everyone to bring their own dishes and cutlery.The cost of the lunch is by donation.
In the afternoon, Chris Boettcher will present the latest trends out of Europe in biodynamic practices. The AGM will be a great forum to share your own on-farm experiences, and to hear about those of other members. Very thought-provoking, and sure to create food for discussion.
Preparations will be available at this meeting, for a donation. We are blessed to have dedicated prep makers who come together as communities to make the preparations in a consciously reverent manner, so that we who garden and farm biodynamically can carry out our work of partnering with the Earth. Please remember the sacredness of the preparations and the generosity of all the kingdoms when you make your donation. A tax receipt will be issued for donations of $20.00 or more.

This is a single weblog entry, posted on March 24th, 2014. Comment here »


Introduction to Biodynamic Farming and Gardening

Want to learn more about biodynamic farming? We are hosting a 10 part (one Sunday per month) introductory course on biodynamic farming starting April 27th. I took this series of courses myself back in 2008 when Titia Posthuma was teaching the class. I found the sessions to be very useful tools at shaping my view and understanding of biodynamic agriculture, and how it could manifest itself on my farm. There is a good balance of conceptual and practical knowledge being shared. Rosemary Taylor has taken Titia’s curriculum and I look forward to working with her on this important project. Take a look at the brochure for more details, and don’t hesitate to contact me or Rosemary for more information.

Intro Course Brochure

This is a single weblog entry, posted on March 5th, 2014. Comment here »


February Insights

It seems this year that winter’s crystallization forces are particularly strong. Perhaps it’s the especially cold and snowy winter we are experiencing, or simply my state of mind and soul at the moment, but it is remarkable how filled with insight and inspiration my days have been. It has now been 10 years since my journey ”officially” began on the path of becoming a sustainable farmer, and patterns are beginning to manifest themselves; the way is becoming clearer.

Many different people, authors and experiences have guided me during this time, and biodynamic agriculture still provides me with what seems like the clearest, most sensible perspective on approaching this sacred craft. Many other schools of thought, such as permaculture, play important roles in my overall strategy on the farm, but I always try to fit them within the general biodynamic context.
Riverglen Farm is truly becoming a functioning, living organism. I do not merely seek to mitigate and diminish its destructive impact on the world by using ”organic approved” pest control and fertility strategies for annual cash crops of produce and meat. Instead, I strive for the biodynamic ideal of the ”whole farm”. Its complete, self-enhancing fertility cycles, boosted by Steiner’s preparations, enable the farm to generate life forces for the community. The farm doesn’t just transform imported products into consumable goods in a linear fashion; it creates consumable goods using excess energy coming from interconnected, circular systems.
The resurgence of organic farms and producers around Ottawa has been amazing to see over the past decade, as more and more people feel a connection to land and food, and choose to take up the honor and responsibility to feed ourselves and each other. It is truly a blessing to this world. It seems, however, that even this new, organic community favors the tending of annual vegetable crops, finishing started calves, raising purchased chicks and piglets on imported feed, throwing out the laying flock each fall, and relying on manure and compost sourced from industrial agribusinesses. Instead of training farmers, we are training a generation of organic cash croppers.

In February, when I walk out into the cold mornings to feed my hens, give the geese a fresh bucket of water and check on the cattle, I understand what it means to be a biodynamic farmer. It is at this time that I appreciate what it means to tend to life’s wonders, patiently, so they may resume their active growth cycles come spring time and yield their precious gifts. I still have a ways to go, particularly regarding seed saving, but nothing says sustainability to me like looking out my office window at the cows in the snow as they turn my field’s hay into the most valuable substance on earth.

This is a single weblog entry, posted on February 26th, 2014. Comment here »


Support Michael Schmidt on his day in court February 5th

Embattled dairy farmer, Michael Schmidt, of Glencolton Farm, returns to court tomorrow, February 5th, in his decades-long struggle to legitimize his cow-boarding program. At the Ontario Court of Appeal hearing on Wednesday, February 5, 2014, Schmidt and his attorneys seek to overturn convictions involving the distribution and sale of raw milk.

Many supporters are expected to fill the courtroom at 130 Queen St. West, at 10:30 am [Osgoode Hall, Toronto, Ontario]. If you can, please attend and show solidarity with Michael.

The upcoming court ruling is expected to determine the legality of Schmidt’s innovative cow-share program, which the court deemed legal in 2010, a decision subsequently overturned in 2011. The cow-share model is intended to grant Ontario’s non-farmers the same access to raw milk as farmers legally enjoy, through a private co-ownership structure.

The Canadian Constitution Foundation represents Schmidt. In a recent article, attorney Derek From says “The CCF will be making two major arguments on his behalf. First, on a proper interpretation of the current laws, cow-shares are not illegal in Ontario. Second, the Constitution of Canada should protect the right of consumers to take responsibility for their own health. ”

The government of Ontario has been trying to stop Mr. Schmidt from serving the needs of his raw dairy patrons for nearly 20 years. The typical raw milk consumer seeks unprocessed milk because of serious health concerns. They are often willing to go to great lengths, including procuring ownership interest in a cow. In Glencolton Farm’s cow share program there are 150 families with a total of just over 600 people and there has never been a case of illness.

Federal and provincial government bodies insist that raw milk poses an unreasonable risk of foodborne illness to consumers, and must therefore be banned. Schmidt’s successful program proves that raw milk can be safely produced, and that prohibition is a disproportionate government response to a controllable risk. Raw milk sales are legal across the European Union, and in about half of American states.

Consumers who depend on raw milk for their families are a distinct minority. “Those with special dietary needs deserve the same right as other Canadians to choose the food that goes into their bodies. Cow share owners do not aspire to overthrow or compete with supply management or suggest that raw milk be sold in stores,” explains Margo McIntosh, spokesperson for the Canadian Consumer Raw Milk Advocacy Group

The Canadian Consumer Raw Milk Advocacy Group has collected 1088 signatures from Ontario raw milk consumers demanding change. The sale of unpasteurized milk is federally prohibited under Canada’s Food and Drug Act, but provincial governments have the authority to permit cow-share programs, which are legal in numerous U.S. states.


This is a single weblog entry, posted on February 5th, 2014. 1 Comment »