A man with dark, slicked-back hair stands up to talk. It’s a warm summer’s day, the audience packed into an ornately decorated, wood-panelled room, some spilling over into the adjoining hallway. There’s an expectant air amidst the afternoon haze, but few would guess what was to come next.

On 7 June 1924, Rudolf Steiner gave the first of his eight Agriculture lectures, at Count Keyserlingk’s mansion in Koberwitz – what is now modern-day Poland. Farming would never be the same again.

“Agriculture especially is sadly hit by the whole trend of modern spiritual life. You see, this modern spiritual life has taken on a very destructive form especially as regards the economic realm, though its destructiveness is scarcely yet divined by many,” Steiner began.

The audience was supportive. Farmers, estate managers, doctors, priests, teachers, artists, and engineers had come from across Europe, but were familiar with his teachings. They had read his anthroposophy books, or been to previous lectures. This was Steiner presenting to a closed group rather than the general public or farmers with large feedlots and big bags of chemicals.

It meant that the radical ideas were less likely to be rejected. Steiner still wanted those present to try them out first. His theories were, he said, “hints, which for the present should not be spoken of outside this circle, but looked upon as the foundation for experiments and thus gradually brought into a form suitable for publication”.

“Agriculture especially is sadly hit by the whole trend of modern spiritual life”

They took him up on it. The Agricultural Experimental Circle was formed even before the eight lectures were over. The Anthroposophical Agricultural Association was founded in 1928. And the publication part of Steiner’s directive came to fruition with the launch of BioDynamic Farming and Gardening by Ehrenfried Pfeiffer in 1938. 

Biodynamic associations have expanded across the globe. Communities centred around biodynamic farms, such as Plaw Hatch Farm and Tablehurst in the UK, have flourished. There are now 400,000 biodynamic certified acres worldwide. The ‘hints’ have become teachings – they are the ‘biodynamic’ approach. 

But it’s not enough and the planet is giving some pretty big hints now too. Soils are degrading, biodiversity is decreasing and climate is changing. We need to listen to Steiner now more than ever – and this time we don’t have another 100 years.


To celebrate this incredible milestone for biodynamics, why not sign up for a course today?