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The Pioneers of Biodynamics in Great Britain: From Anthroposophic Farming to Organic Agriculture (1924-1940)

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Paull, John (2019) The Pioneers of Biodynamics in Great Britain: From Anthroposophic Farming to Organic Agriculture (1924-1940). Journal of Environment Protection and Sustainable Development, 5 (4), pp. 138-145.

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Online at: https://www.academia.edu/42003025/The_Pioneers_of_Biodynamics_in_Great_Britain_From_Anthroposophic_Farming_to_Organic_Agriculture_1924-1940_

Summary

Organic agriculture is the direct descendent of biodynamic agriculture; and biodynamic agriculture is the child of Dr Rudolf Steiner’s Agriculture Course presented at Koberwitz (now Kobierzyce, Poland) in 1924. Rudolf Steiner founded the Experimental Circle of Anthroposophic Farmers and Gardeners towards the end of that course. The task of the Experimental Circle was to test Steiner’s ‘hints’ for a new and sustainable agriculture, to find out what works, to publish the results, and to tell the world. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer published his book Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening in 1938, thereby fulfilling Steiner’s directive. Two years later, from Steiner’s characterisation of ‘the farm as an organism’, the British biodynamic farmer Lord Northbourne coined the term ‘organic farming’ and published his manifesto of organic agriculture, Look to the Land (1940). In the gestational period of biodynamics, 1924-1938, 43 individual Britons joined the Experimental Circle. Each received a copy of the Agriculture Course. Copies were numbered individually and inscribed with the name of the recipient. These 43 members were the pioneers of biodynamics and organics in Britain, and finally their names and locations are revealed. Of the 43 individuals, 11 received their Agricultural Course in German, 27 in English, and five received copies in both German and English; one couple shared a single copy. Of the 50 Agriculture Course copies supplied to Experimental Circle members in Britain, 17 copies were in German, while 33 were in English. The membership of the Experimental Circle comprised both men (n=21) and women (n=22). Members were domiciled in England (n=39), Scotland (n=3) and Wales (n=1) (Dr Lili Kolisko received her Agriculture Course in Stuttgart, Germany, migrated to England in 1936, and is tallied here as ‘England’). The revelation of the earliest pioneers of biodynamics, and thus organics, in Britain provides 43 starting points for further research.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:United Kingdom (UK), England, Scotland, Wales, Koberwitz, Rudolf Steiner, George Kaufmann Adams, Lili Kolisko, Marna Pease
Subjects: Farming Systems > Social aspects
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > Switzerland
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > United Kingdom
"Organics" in general > History of organics
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > Europe
Research affiliation: Australia > University of Tasmania
ISSN:2381-7747
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Deposited By: Paull, Dr John
ID Code:37261
Deposited On:24 Mar 2020 10:13
Last Modified:24 Mar 2020 10:13
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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