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Creating fertile soil – from nature to culture

For thousands of years fertile soil has been the key factor underpinning cultural development. Creating, maintaining and enhancing this soil fertility is one of the most noble of agricultural objectives. It is our civilisation however that is overseeing the loss of agricultural soil on a gigantic scale each year through desertification, runoff and urbanisation. The issue of soil fertility is therefore of major social and global significance. Who owns the land? This question has become more acute than ever: How can land be secured for the common good so that soil fertility can be built up an maintained for generations to come?

The soil is the sensitive transition zone between the sphere of light above the earth and that of darkness below. Much can be discovered through natural and spiritual science about the complex interactions of these cosmic and terrestrial realms. The practical farmer however also knows that the actual processes going on in the soil are specific to each individual place and moment in time. Close attention needs to be paid to the soil so that when conditions are right, cultivation can proceed with confidence.

Perceiving, understanding and working in a new way with the process of fertilisation lies at the heart of biodynamic agriculture. Fundamental to this is the creation by human beings of a farm organism. The farm animals within it provide the plant population with the fertilization it requires. Through their growth and development the plants then enliven the soil. Fertilisation always proceeds from the higher to the lower, from the ego consciousness of human beings to the soul nature of animals, to the living power of plants and then to the soil.

How can I put this comprehensive approach into practice on my farm? The preparations are quite unique agents of fertilisation. Apart from their role in transforming substances, enhancing vitality and advancing the processes of maturation, the preparations also serve to individualise a landscape. Individualizing or ego processes can be brought into effect – how can I develop capacities for perceiving and being practically creative in this field?

Fertile soil is an inheritance from the past, creating it is a task for today and a challenge for the future. Providing inspiration to meet this cultural challenge with understanding, joy and courage, is the task of this conference.

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