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The Secrets of Koberwitz: The Diffusion of Rudolf Steiner’s Agriculture Course and the Founding of Biodynamic Agriculture

Keywords: Organic Farming , Anthroposophy , Goetheanum , Agricultural Experimental Circle (AEC) , Count Carl Keyserlingk , Kobierzyce , Poland , Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening , Ehrenfried Pfeiffer

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Abstract:

Rudolf Steiner presented his Agriculture Course to a group of 111, farmers and others, at Koberwitz (Kobierzyce, Poland) in 1924. Steiner spoke of an agriculture to ‘heal the earth’ and he laid the philosophical and practical underpinnings for such a differentiated agriculture. Biodynamic agriculture is now practiced internationally as a specialist form of organic agriculture. The path from proposal to experimentation, to formalization, to implementation and promulgation played out over a decade and a half following the Course and in the absence of its progenitor. Archival material pertaining to the dissemination of the early printed editions of ‘The Agriculture Course’ reveals that within six years of the Course there was a team of more than 400 individuals of the Agricultural Experimental Circle (AEC), each signed a confidentiality agreement, and located throughout continental Europe, and also in Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and USA. Membership expanded to over 1000 AEC members (with a lower bound estimate of 1144 members) who were committed to working collectively towards an evidence based, new and alternative agriculture, ‘for all farmers’, which was to be developed into a ‘suitable for publication’ form. That publication milestone was realized in 1938 with the release of Ehrenfried Pfeiffer’s ‘Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening’ which was published simultaneously in at least five languages: Dutch, English, French, German and Italian

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