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Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) was an Austrian philosopher. As early as 1924 he called for an agriculture differentiated from the chemical agriculture of the time. Steiner delivered a course of eight lectures at Koberwitz (which was then eastern Germany and is now Kobierzyce, Poland).[1] His course was published as the Agriculture Course.[2]

At the Koberwitz lectures, Steiner founded the Experimental Circle of Anthroposophic Farmers and Gardeners. The intent was for biodynamic farming methods to be available to all farmers. The task of the Experimental Circle was to test Steiner's ideas and put them in a form suited to publication. This was achieved in 1938 when Dr Ehrenfried Pfeiffer published the book, Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening, in multiple languages.[3][4]

Pfeiffer's book prompted the English biodynamic farmer Lord Northbourne to invite Pfeiffer to run a biodynamics conference in England in 1939.[5] Shortly after the conference WWII started. Northbourne published his own book, Look to the Land, the following year, in which he coined the term 'organic farming' and contrasted it to chemical farming. Steiner's work led to Northbourne's manifesto of organic agriculture Look to the Land.[6][7]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. Paull, John (2011) "Attending the First Organic Agriculture Course: Rudolf Steiner’s Agriculture Course at Koberwitz, 1924", European Journal of Social Sciences, 21(1):64-70.
  2. Steiner, Rudolf. (1924). The Agriculture Course (first English edition was 1929). Dornach: Goetheanum.
  3. Paull, John (2011) "Biodynamic Agriculture: The Journey from Koberwitz to the World, 1924-1938", Journal of Organic Systems, 2011, 6(1):27-41.
  4. Pfeiffer, Ehrenfried. (1938). Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening, New York: Anthroposophic Press.
  5. Paull, John (2011) "The Betteshanger Summer School: Missing link between biodynamic agriculture and organic farming", Journal of Organic Systems, 2011, 6(2):13-26.
  6. Northbourne, Lord. (1940). Look to the Land, London: Dent.
  7. Paull, John (2014) Lord Northbourne, the man who invented organic farming, a biography, Journal of Organic Systems, 9 (1), pp. 31-53.
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