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Alliances for the Next Generation: Reflections from the 2013 International Biodynamic Conference, Part Two

February 26, 2013

By Thea Maria Carlson, Laura Klemme, and Clemens Gabriel


Participants in the BING Global Meeting

Participants in the BING Global Meeting

On the last day of the 2013 International Biodynamic Agriculture Conference in Dornach, the newly formed BING global invited participants to a “meeting of the young biodynamic movement.”

The Biodynamic Initiative for the Next Generation (BING) concept was first developed by the North American Biodynamic Association and was launched at the Youth Gathering at the 2010 Biodynamic Conference. BING’s goal is to create opportunities for the next generation of farmers, apprentices, educators, activists, and others inspired by biodynamics to connect, share, and learn from one another. Inspired by this initiative, four young women started the Biodynamic Initiative for the New Generation Nordic (bingn) in February of 2012.

In June, bingn organizer Laura Klemme began conversations with Thea Maria Carlson, coordinator of BING in North America, and Clemens Gabriel, a member of the German group “young and biodynamic,” about collaborating to create a global initiative, which we have called BING global. (See Thea’s blog post from December 2012 for more on these conversations.) The vision of BING global is to build a network of people engaging in biodynamic agriculture all over the world. We want to create spaces for encounter, exchange, and inspiration, to explore the big questions facing the new generation of the biodynamic movement: What is the future asking of us? How can we prepare biodynamic agriculture for the future? The meeting at the 2013 conference was the first event organized by BING global.

Forty-five participants from all over the world followed the invitation and met on Saturday afternoon at the Goetheaum’s Schreinerei. We began with one-on-one conversations, sharing our burning issues and needs with regard to the biodynamic impulse. Then each person wrote down one burning issue and one need and posted them on the wall, clustering similar needs and issues together.

IMG_1975

Burning issues

Needs

Needs

An emerging thread seemed to appear in three parts:

  1. A movement from the outer into biodynamics: Is biodynamics “my” thing at all? What do I want? What is my “mission”?
  2. A struggle inside biodynamics: What kind of thinking lives in biodynamic agriculture that brings us closer to it? How to adapt biodynamics and take it to everyone?
  3. And the step from the inside of biodynamics out in the world again: How can biodynamic farms be in community/society? How to bring producer/farmer and consumer together? How to raise awareness of biodynamic agriculture?

The wish to work on individual development as well as working/sharing with people outside the farm was also strongly present in the participants.

From the nearly 100 ideas gathered on the wall, we identified several themes for conversation: training/networking/organization, economy and society, South and Central America, farm and society, and individual development. Working in open space groups, participants were asked to clarify a need and then identify a first step toward a solution.

Open Space Groups

Open space groups

Farm and society group

Farm and society group

Latin America Group

Economy and society group

Before closing the meeting, each group shared from their conversation, summarized here:

OPEN SPACE GROUPS

Theme Needs Solutions/First steps

Training, networking, organizations

Communication

Opening the biodynamic movement

Share practical experience

What content to share?

Network, public relationships to share with outside

Criticism to the inside

Go deeper within movement

Responsibility for deepening the spiritual work

Economy and society

Economic and social forms based on the farm to support society

Need more time, but working toward cooperative economy based on the farm

South and Central America

Professional training in Latin America

Create structure

Farm and Society (Group I)

People need to care about what they put in their body – interest in where food comes from

Farmers need to go out into society

Non-farmers meeting farmers

Farmers cultivate interest in the “urban” issues

Consumers and children come to the farm

Farmers as teachers

Build relationships between farms and schools

Non judgment

Farm and Society (Group II)

Find our identity

Discover who we are as a farmer and farm individuality

Go outside and show it

Individual

Enthusiasm fades

Insecurity about organizing live

Still looking for solutions

However, with only 75 minutes for the entire meeting (and about 15 for these conversations), the most important need of the participants in the closing plenary was “More time!!”

So: Where will the next generation of biodynamic farmers and enthusiasts meet and get the chance to raise and work on these existential questions? BING global will try to find solutions and work on this task: to create spaces where inspired individuals can meet and work together to encounter the future of biodynamics.

Want to get involved with BING global? Please get in touch with Thea, Laura or Clemens!


This piece is also posted on the Biodynamics Blog, as the second of two reflections from Thea on the 2013 International Biodynamic Agriculture Conference. Read the first post here.

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