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Biodynamics in Practice

Life on a Community Owned Farm: Impressions of Tablehurst and Plaw Hatch, Sussex, England

Tom Petherick
Photographs by Will Heap
January 2011
More details
  • Publisher
    Rudolf Steiner Press
  • Published
    10th January 2011
  • ISBN 9781855842502
  • Language English
  • Pages 128 pp.

Based on a series of eight lectures by Rudolf Steiner in 1924, the movement for biodynamic agriculture today involves many hundreds of farms and millions of consumers worldwide. Much has been written about the unique perspectives of biodynamic methods for farming, nutrition, the world of nature, and the wider cosmos. But how does it work in practice? What is it like to run a farm based on its principles?

England’s Tablehurst and Plaw Hatch farms are a cooperative venture in which the local community plays a crucial role. As successful commercial enterprises with large production, they have a growing reputation for the excellence of their produce.

Through interviews, commentary, and dozens of full-color photos, Biodynamics in Practice offers a guided tour of the farms from the view of a sympathetic visitor. It illustrates how biodynamic farms work, how they differ from conventional and organic farms, and why that difference is important.

In short and accessible vignettes, the book looks at many aspects of farm life, including animal rearing and welfare—cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry—crop growth, dairy, and cheese making, as well as beekeeping and the care of people with special needs. It also introduces biodynamics itself, with brief histories of the two farms.

People often view farms simply as food-producing factories; this book, however, shows that they can be much more, offering spiritually sustaining focal points of community cohesion and participation.

C O N T E N T S:


The History of Biodynamics
Tablehurst and Plaw Hatch Community Farm
Mixed Farming and the Soil
Tablehurst—the Early Years
The Rebirth of Tablehurst
Tablehurst Today
Animal Welfare
Tablehurst Poultry
The Plaw Hatch Perspective
Plaw Hatch Today
Plaw Hatch Dairy
Sheep and Pigs
Bees at Plaw Hatch
People with Special Needs
Tablehurst and Plaw Hatch Newsletter
Sowing the Future

Tom Petherick

Tom Petherick has worked variously as a jockey, a horticulturalist, and an author. He has written two books about the Lost Gardens of Heligan and a book on organic smallholding, and has presented a series of DVDs on horticulture. In 2009, Tom joined the biodynamic and organic certification body Demeter as a farm inspector. He lives with his family in Dartington, Devon, on a small farm.