Yet another area of volunteer work is biodynamic agriculture. This agricultural movement, founded in 1924, has its roots in the “Agriculture Course” of Rudolf Steiner. Today there are 1400 private farmers in Germany working about 50,000 hectares of biodynamically managed farmland.
Biodynamic farmers see their farms as circles of life. Thus the crop yield or production levels are not their primary goal, but rather responsible treatment of the earth and their livestock. Instead of artificial chemicals and pesticides, special plant, quartz or manure-based preparations are used for fertilising, composting or pest control. As biodynamic agriculture represents a holistic view of nature, its practitioners seek to achieve a continual balance with their environment. A healthy and sustainable agriculture is possible only when the earth’s energy is not only taken in the form of crops, but is also replenished by periods of rest and the use of enriching natural preparations.
Volunteers interested in biodynamic agriculture will naturally spend a great deal of time outdoors – in summer as well as winter! A typical day begins very early, usually with tending the animals. The type of work is determined largely by the season and is quite physically demanding. It is possible, however, to combine agriculture with a second area of work. Since most of the social therapy institutions maintain gardens and/or farmland, volunteers have the chance to share in agricultural work as well as caring for the residents of the living community.