The work-based training in the words of some past trainees
“Upon reflection everything has changed since starting my apprenticeship, I feel, possibly for the first time in my life, that I have found something that truly makes sense to me, something that awakens my will to do, whilst encouraging my soul to sing and be playful. Physically, mentally and emotionally I face great challenges each and everyday, although exhausting at times the reward has always been far greater than the challenges faced. My initial intentions where to learn all there is to know about growing biodynamic food, little did I know that ‘farming’ means animal husbandry rather than ‘gardening’, however after two weeks as a farmers apprentice, I was walking, relatively comfortably, among great beasts I once feared…I feel extremely privileged to be working with cattle. The feeling you get when moving with a heard in the pitch black of an early morning or late night, as their calm steadiness lives in the atmosphere and it is palpable, is something I will treasure for my whole life…I will continue with love, happiness and gratitude in my day-to-day work as I acquire knowledge and do the work that makes the most sense to me; where work and life are synonymous, where my soul resonates with the world around me, where I feel I am in the right place at the right time and where my values are strengthened, where my interests are supported, and finally that I have this opening in my life to stand on the shoulders of the biodynamic giants, right here and right now in the present whilst preparing for the future. – K. S.
I look at the apprenticeship as an opportunity to construct a strong bond with the rhythm of nature and its manifestations (the season, wind, light ratio, etc.). I was attracted by the opportunity to work and live on a farm over two seasons to intake these changes. There has been an automatic mechanism of assimilation due to the fact that I was in close contact with changes occurring in plants, animals and landscape and my work gave me the time to observe and reflect on them. Together with these I regularly registered my observations in a diary. One interesting experiment has been documenting the stages of development of a blackcurrants bush through the different season. The documentation was done with drawings and notes. Coming to the end of my second year I feel I gain a certain understanding on how certain natural rhythms and cycles occur…On a personal level, this is a great instrument to have to be able to observe more directly the world around us and to connect with basic movements regulating our habitat. – N. L.
The seminars have been really well organised with first class accommodation and brilliant lecturers. Kai L. has a lot of knowledge about Biodynamic farming and is a fantastic teacher. I was also particularly impressed to be lectured by Richard Thornton Smith and Jonathon Code, both of whom are authors of books that I have read. I have enjoyed working on the portfolio and have found that in researching a lot is learnt on the subjects studied. I like the format and now that I have understood the process it is easy to follow…The BDAC admin is well organised, making a lot of effort to ensure that the training sessions were very good. Kai is an approachable person who makes an easy relationship with people so I feel that if I had a problem I could ask him for help and advice. The biodynamic training was fantastic and I now work at the farm as a farmer gardener and care worker. I changed my life for the better and I love my job. – J. W.
When I just started the training, I had no experience in taking care of livestock. Despite the lack of experience I had a desire, or maybe better said curiosity, about livestock and how to take care and manage them. In the past 9 months of my training, I’ve made quite some progress. Working with animals gives me joy. I knew I was interested but that it would make me so happy as it does, I didn’t know before. It gives me a feeling of satisfaction. Also, the big responsibility you have to take care of livestock, living creatures, is something I like to take on…Working in the rhythm of the seasons, adapting to all sorts of weather has made me stronger and a bit tougher as well. I also feel resilient, both physically and mentally. I take life more as it comes. So, I believe that my work as a farmer has a positive influence on my personal life. -J. L.-H.
The BDAC training enveloped so many branches of my life with one shot. The way it is set up with the program and the different places we visit gives opportunity for a rich variety of experiences. Being long term on one place throughout the year and then having the chance to travel for the seminars brought excitement in my daily routines, it helped me look forward to them, also because of me being able to see other trainees and the curiosity of what have they been doing in those periods of time. The training has changed me in a way that I’ve never imagined, it brought to me Anthroposophy and imbued it in my Soul in a silent way. Being able to practice Anthroposophical ideas in the Will through BioDynamics made it Alive in many domains. It allows me to view the organic world with the lens of Goethean observation, to treat my health with more understanding by seeing how soil is grown, then plants from the soil after the animal realm and the human. It allowed me to see the link of a whole system of complicated beings living in a synergy. I would recommend the training to anyone person, by that I mean If you want to be a lawyer, a broker, an actor, a jazz piano player, a teacher, it doesn’t matter this training will have its own attitude towards you and will find a way of engaging with your passion in pictorial and holistic way. It can bring inspiration for the will impulses and light for living thoughts. The reason why I did Biodynamic instead of a conventional practice or any other is that I saw the holistic attitude towards the Natural world within BioDynamics. It works with forces beyond the physical, and yes other practices may do as well, but BioDynamics sought to do that consciously and through intention to send impulses to a variety of beings in the Spiritual world which we (the gardener/farmer) have a relationship with. – T. N.
The biodynamic training has given me the opportunity to be fully immersed in the practical work with the Land. Especially in this kind of work, it is essential to incarnate with our whole body in the jobs we do. The trainers I met have a very deep insight about biodynamic agriculture but also a good knowledge of anthroposophy. I found the seminars essential too. I think they have been spread over the year wisely and they provide a space for reflection. It is very important sometimes to get out of your intense routine and be able to deepen some aspects of your work to go then back to your place more conscious and knowledgeable…The lectures have been very good especially because they are led by farmers, gardeners and researchers with long experience in their field. The portfolio helps to give a structure to the experience and the study…Regarding the support I have been given so far it is very positive. Anytime I had a question or a doubt I got an answer straight away. – M. G.
The Biodynamic training has really helped me define what I love and am passionate about in life, and what I really want my life to be about. The very things that drew me to the apprenticeship in the first place was the spiritual, esoteric aspect of biodynamics, and that is now what I am following. I definitely feel my work on the farm gave me a real sense of the way the landscape changes, and is alive. The work on the farm was certainly challenging, it really pushed me with what I am capable of, both emotionally and physically. I look back, and I’m really proud that I did it, and that I tried and worked so hard at something that I found so difficult. I now go back to the farm twice a year for preparation days, and I can have a really good relationship with Jo, and know that all the work paid off. Through the influence of the training, I’ve stepped into a whole new life that I love, subjects that I really love and that sustain and fulfil me. – F. M.