Biodynamic Agriculture Training Programme (Anand Gujarat, Dec, 1 – 6, 2003.)
Ten years ago, Peter Proctor came for the very first time to India from his native New Zealand. Mr. T.G.K. Menon of Indore had invited Peter to share his knowledge and know-how of Bio-Dynamic (BD) Agriculture with farmers in India. In those days the only BD agriculture initiatives in India were the Maikaal Cotton Project near Mhow in Madhya Pradesh and the Makaibari Tea Estates near Darjeeling in West Bengal.
Peter began in real earnest with the task of spreading the message of BD agriculture throughout India. Together with his life-partner, Rachel Pomeroy, he spends a few months each year travelling thousands of miles in India, from Assam to Gujarat, from Tamil Nadu to Uttaranchal, giving courses, advising farmers, transforming hundreds of acres of poisoned land into healthy BD farms, enhancing the biodiversity of the flora and fauna in the process.
Peter’s enthusiasm is catching, his commitment complete. He helps Indian farmers realise that Dr. Rudolf Steiner’s Course in Agriculture that was held in Koberwitz, Germany, in 1924, contains the wisdom which was still alive in ancient India, and is now experiencing a revival.
Bhaikaka Krishi Kendra is a BD farm outside Anand city in the state of Gujarat. It is owned by Mr. Sarvdaman Patel, one of the most successful BD farmers in the country, and his wife Meena, a landscape artist of great talent.
Their farm is situated in the most verdant landscape, with a great variety of exotic birds and small animals everywhere. The farm has 40 milch cows. The great variety of fruit, vegetables, flowers, timber trees and bamboo speak for the good work that is done here. On this farm, Peter and Rachel gave a week-long biodynamic training programme.
The coordinator of this training is the Biodynamic Association of India (BDAI) co-worker, Mrs. Kamini Sheth, a lovely American lady married to an Indian and speaking fluent Gujarati. They own a BD farm near Diu, a picturesque island off Gujarat’s Kathiawar peninsula.
The participants at the training course were not only agriculturists, but people from all walks of life. Some had never touched cow-dung before!
The day began before sunrise with a nature walk. Peter started the lessons with the day’s verse by Dr. Steiner. This was followed by Eurythmy with Dilnawaz Bana. Peter gave the main lectures, introducing BD Agriculture, assisted by Mr. Patel. Rachel spoke about Cosmic Rhythms and led the star-watching sessions every night before dinner.
The food served at the course was excellent BD quality, pure vegetarian and delicious, a great variety and a new surprise each day!
One important feature about this training course was that after each introductory talk, the participants did practical work like making a compost heap, creating new Cow Pat Pit, preparing liquid manure, tree-trunk pasting as well as burying cow horns to make the preparations. Everyone worked hard, even the elegant ladies in their flowing dresses and delicate footwear and the gentlemen in their city togs!
It is really amazing how much one can learn in less than a week. We are most grateful to Peter and Rachel for their untiring efforts in spreading the message of Bio-Dynamic Agriculture in India.
~ Report by Aban Bana.