Biodynamic Seed Production Training Program
What does it mean to train people in biodynamic production of seeds? It is not only the communication of technical content related to production. It is to awaken an interest and curiosity in the student about nature and spirit, so that the students themselves dare to become experimenters and discoverers. To discover the role of the seed in nature is to reveal its integrity in our cultural matrices, its biodynamic task as a homeopathic drop in the development of sensible soils in our fields, and meet humanity’s role in Earth’s evolution. The seed is a departure point to explore our current situation – on the one hand, how control of the seed has been abused to control the food system, and on the other how it is a gift that can help weave together communities.
Aims of the Program for the Participant:
- To be able to plan crops
- To be able to read and anticipate crop needs
- To develop an appreciation of biodiversity and judge quality in varieties of vegetables and grains
- To learn to appreciate the role of seed in our society
- To develop inner capacities so that each participant can be active change makers in their communities
- Theoretic lectures
- Field visits
- Practical work
- Artistic work
- Taste trials
- Homework between modules
Structure and Content:
The training program will be structured into three different levels of specialization to allow for different interest levels.
The first level (introductory) builds upon the existing biodynamic training that AABDA offers, adding an extra module to those who have completed or are participating in a training course in biodynamic agriculture (AABDA has both regionally-organized training programs and a central one). Another option at this level is to offer a single weekend introductory course for those who have not participated in the biodynamic agriculture training, but wish to learn about seed production.
The second level is a basic course of one year divided into five modules of four days each. This course would be aimed at individuals who want a foundation or understand the current situation related to seeds, such as home gardeners, activists, or other interested people. Themes addressed include:
- Awareness development concerning the current socio-cultural problems and challenges related to the seed
- Debate about the global context concerning the politics of seed and the global food system
- Application of biodynamic approach to seed production
- Goetheanistic observation of nature
- Basic notions about the cultivation, harvest, cleaning, and storage of seeds.
The third level is a specialization course for professionals, particularly aimed at those who want to join the Seed Growers Network. Those who have completed the earlier levels may continue on with this course. Themes addressed include:
- Laws in Argentina and the world regarding the production and commercialization of seed
- Advanced notions about seed crop planning, cultivation, harvest, cleaning, and storage
- Goetheanistic approach to crop botany
- Technical specifications for important seed crops
- Treatment and prevention of pests and diseases in crops
- How to join the Participative Certification program
- Biodynamic plant breeding
- Community leadership and associative economics
- How to be a member of the Network of Seed Producers and contractual production for the Biodynamic Seed Company.
The 10 modules of the second and third levels will be distributed over three regions of the country where there are strong regional movements and detected potential for the integration of producers into the Growers Network. The differences in regions provide the students with the opportunity to experience the bio-geological differences of each region and their particularities. We believe it is important to nourish the process of “learning communities”, so that what is taught during the modules is further developed in self-organized learning groups and that the members of the group are able to appropriate what they have learned for their own context, climate and conditions. We also hope that when a particular region is host to a module that they participate in the logistical coordination of the module, taking a proactive role in their own learning, and also offers the possibility that they give the gathering a touch of their own local cultural qualities. In each region, we expect that there be a coordinator that would serve as the liaison between the regional learning groups and the coordinating committee of the Seed Initiative.
The group of instructors will be selected by the coordination of the training program, and drawn from the established multitude of instructors that have taught for the long-established biodynamic agricultural training. We would also draw from other areas, for example, draw someone from the legal field when it comes to discussing the legal issues surrounding seed commercialization. We find it is also important to bring people outside of AABDA related to agroecology to strengthen alliances with the broader movement.
We also project an exchange with Kultursaat so that, on the one hand, experienced breeders and seed producers visit to provide further technical expertise, and on the other, members of the Argentine Initiative visit practical experiences in Europe.
- Late 2018: Offer the level one courses within the current training program of AABDA
- 2019: Begin level two modules. Include visit to the Seed Initiative’s Cultivation Trials and Research Farm. Offer another level one, introductory course.
- 2020: Begin level three modules. Include visit to the Seed Initiative’s Cultivation Trials and Research Farm. Visit from Kultursaat. Offer another level one, introductory course.