The current climate chaos, accompanied by various economic and social uncertainties, is making the work of farmers increasingly tricky. It is becoming increasingly difficult to rely on supposedly tried-and-tested recipes. For example, the weather is so changeable that it is difficult to know which crops will thrive. How can farmers train their perception of the condition of the farm, the soil, the plants and the animals so that they can make the right decisions despite the uncertainties?
The current trend is towards "smart agriculture", which works with data monitoring and remote-controlled decisions based on algorithms. Its stated aim is to work more accurately and cleanly. However, this means that machines increasingly control humans. They lose their sovereignty and responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Even though it can utilise data monitoring, biodynamic agriculture aims to create a counterbalance by training people's perceptions and thus enabling them to act responsibly. Added to this is the individualisation of measures. This means that farmers should observe their farms better and better to realise their potential to a greater extent.
In the Agriculture Course (GA 327), R. Steiner gives a tip that many successful biodynamic farmers follow more or less consciously:
"Now let us take a farmer whom the learned man does not consider learned; he goes over his field. Yes, the learned man says the farmer is stupid, but in reality, this is not true, simply because the farmer - ... - is a meditator. What he meditates on in his winter nights is very, very much. And he acquires it, which is a kind of acquisition of spiritual knowledge. He just can't express it. And it's like it's only there. You walk through the fields, and suddenly it's there ... And things like that need to be built on."
This is precisely what we are trying to do in our research project. In a preliminary project on "agricultural individuality", we visited some experienced farmers and conducted in-depth interviews with them using the qualitative social research method. This resulted in some fascinating initial findings. For example, each farmer has their own approach and "door" to the inner perception of the farm, which sometimes leads to "intuitions" or critical decisions. This holistic perception often occurs during a rhythmic activity (such as milking or walking across the fields) and at a particular moment of the day. Two examples can illustrate this: "For example, I have to decide where the goats will graze next. The decision is made while working with the herd. I get a sense of the whole. I get an idea of the future: how the plants will grow in the meadows." (EF)
"Between Christmas and New Year, the connection to the land is particularly intense. Walking across my land, I get the right inspiration for the coming year. The place on earth then tells me what it needs and what needs to be done." (MH)
We want to expand this pilot study to include specific topics (soil, plant and animal perception, etc.) and process the results in such a way that they provide concrete suggestions for farmers, advisors and trainers so that current and future farmers can learn how to gain free and responsible "intuitions" for their important decisions based on concrete perception on the ground.
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