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September 24, 2010

bd conference, agm workshops, newark schools, u.s. social forum, camphill blog, onion economics

Growing a food revolution:
Countdown to the biodynamics conference

A spectacular four-day gathering linking the biodynamic movement with the larger food revolution will unfold next Thursday 9/30 in Chestnut Ridge (Spring Valley), NY,  with a youth gathering, tours of the Threefold Community, Pfeiffer Center, Fellowship Community, and Duryea Farm, and an afternoon of impressive workshops. And then the conference proper begins! This year sees a major outreach into the larger field of consciousness about agriculture, nutrition, ecology, health, and social evolution in which biodynamics has always been a leading but not always well-recognized factor. Keynote speakers Fred Kirschenmann, Sister Miriam MacGillis, Nicanor Perlas, and Michael Schmidt illustrate the depth and reach of the programs. There is still time to register, and if you cannot attend the whole event, the BDA has confirmed that single-day on-site registrations will be available for Friday and Saturday at the registration desk ($75, $50 for students and BDA members), as well as event tickets for the biodynamic food and wine tasting Saturday at 6pm, the following screening of the new film on the bees Queen of the Sun, and the keynote addresses. And at Threefold there are Michaelmas events with Frank Chester and at the Pfeiffer Center and Eurythmy Spring Valley bracketing the conference. This many-faceted feast is a tribute to the organizers and to the break-through mood developing in the whole field of biodynamics.

Chicago AGM working groups: Laura Summer, Claudia FOntana

Workshops at the AGM/Conference in Chicago, October 15-17, are taking shape. Laura Summer will use drawing as a method of observation in working with Rudolf Steiner's suggestion of following both the growing, blossoming forces in plants, and their withering and dying. Claudia Fontana will guide another group in experiencing in eurythmy the Karl Koenig poem which begins, "There is a knighthood of the 21st century..." Participants will register for working groups on arrival, but conference registration is open now online. More workshops will be announced shortly, under the general theme "Transforming Social Capacities through Spiritual Experiences of Nature."  - - More events in the national calendar at anthroposophy.org.

Education - Back in the News?

At a meeting of the Council of Anthroposophic Organizations (CAO) early this year an AWSNA representative reported that the Obama administration was doing big things in education--without anyone in the media (or the opposition) noticing. The cover of Time is no longer the top of the nation's agenda, but it's 9/20 banner, "What Makes a School Great," may signal more attention. Oddly the magazine is taking its cue from a new movie, Waiting for 'Superman', a documentary which makes a compelling case for urgent reform (trailer here). Its director previously did Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

Now the young founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is giving the Newark, NJ, public schools $100 M on Oprah Winfrey's show. But most of the reaction is about his (plausible) motive of distracting attention from an unflattering new movie about--him. What will actually happen, apparently, is that the bright young mayor of Newark will get to take control of his city's schools. There will be more charter schools and more testing and evaluations of teachers. One has to wish them well, but the most fundamental questions of education seem to have slipped away.

Technology - RS 1914

Sometimes a blog post just puts up a quotation. Dean's World - "defending the liberal tradition in history, science, and philosophy" put up six very interesting paragraphs in August that are attributed to Rudolf Steiner in "The Nature of Technology" in 1914.

It would be the worst possible mistake to say that we should resist what technology has brought into modern life, that we should protect ourselves from Ahriman, even cut ourselves off from modern life. In a certain sense this would be spiritual cowardice. The real remedy is to make the forces of the soul strong so that they can stand up to modern life.
No comment from the liberal blogger.

Society - Social Forum

Did you hear the one about the United States Social Forum? What Social Forum? Sigh. As "our" media make a putrid sausage of our social life by focusing on all the angry uninformed people, there are other things happening. Several years ago a Steiner-inspired group went to the World Social Forum in Brazil and gave several workshops. That annual event has moving around globally and branching out nationally and locally. Here's a gracefully human report from the US Social Forum held last June in Detroit. Of the many thousands of people at the event it concludes,

They are hopeful about America and its real core values – not the values of politicians but those of its citizens. The reason they’re at the USSF is because they see these values being trampled, but they still have faith that we, the people, can make things better. It’s a faith they keep working for.

Media - camphill blog

What is a blog really for? Well, the old web-log has become both a rich and diverse form, and also a lot of pixellated junk mail. But the inspiring part is finding someone who shares her or his life with enough honesty and sensitivity that the soul shows through. The blog of Daniel Aaron Halpern caught our attention a while ago with a post back in July on "setting up camp at Camphill Village." His life path was suddenly taking him to Copake, NY. He heard about it from a friend made at a Vipassana meditation retreat. Take a look, if you have time, at this entry, and then click on "home" to see his latest posts and all he has been sharing since. Just another human being meeting anthroposophy, and many other good things, with an open mind and heart.

Humor - and Truth?

It's already a cliché that real news today comes on the comedy channel. Months ago "America's Finest News Source," the Onion, gave us some serious economic insight: "U.S. Economy Grinds To Halt As Nation Realizes Money Just A Symbolic, Mutually Shared Illusion."

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