About

Who am I?

ACL Portrait Oct. 2014   - Version 3

In Brief

My vocational focus has been agriculture. I started as a practical, hands-on gardener and farmer. I grew up, both in Europe and the US, going back and forth a lot with my parents and later, on my own: living, working appreciating both sides of the Atlantic.

I still have memories of how the peonies smelt when I was a child in my parent’s garden – and the smell of the pigs on the first farm I worked on as a teenager. Or the taste of fresh, hand-made vanilla ice cream on a very hot afternoon, as time stood still just before a storm was coming up. I can still hear that very special sound of a spade going through rich soil, when my parents turned things up in the garden. I feel that same excitement now when my wife and I root around in the garden, planting this, thinning that, harvesting salads for lunch.

After initial vocational-technical training as a gardener and farmer and working on various farms as a farm hand and farm manager, I also studied various things at university, but kept my focus on agriculture. Most of my life, I have worked as a teacher and consultant in biodynamics and very often had my own garden, even my own farm for several years. My professional passion is biodynamics as anthroposophical agriculture because it combines the spiritual with the hand-craft of farming and gardening.

In the last 10 years+, I worked exculsively as a teacher of biodynamic courses and as a kind of physician for farms and coach for individuals working in agriculture, mostly through my courses, some through direct consulting. I have been dedicated to anthroposophical agriculture since 1974.

My motivation? 

1. Help practitioners develop optimal health and productivity on their farms;

2. Support economic innovation and social healing in agriculture;

3. Explain biodynamics as anthroposophical agriculture in an un-dogmatic fashion;

4. Develop further a kind of anthroposophical medicine for agriculture.

My background? 

First learned how to garden vegetables, culinary herbs, flowers and fruit, including table grapes with my parents in our oversized “backyard” growing up in the American midwest – where I was deeply inspired by my parent’s love of nature, food and working in and with nature.

Spent the summers of my 12th and 13th year on a hog and cattle farm of friends of the family, learning how to work hard, tend animals, make and buck hay, eat dust and love home-made ice cream.

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Starting at age 16, I attended a classical European Apprenticeship in vocational agriculture in Switzerland: diversified farming, viticulture, horticulture, arboriculture, animal husbandry and milk production. Agricultural Diploma. Cheese-Makers Course and related internship. Swiss Federal Certification as a Farm Manager.

Courses in biodynamics at various locations in Europe and the US, such as with Arthur Hermes at his “Michaelshof” and at several conferences: at the Peter Blaser Farm, at the Goetheanum and so on in Europe, then in Kimberton, Spring Valley, Toronto, etc. in North America.

Work as a farm hand and farm manager at several Farms in Switzerland and in the US – both large (over 400 acres) and small (4 acres).

Helped to pioneer the CSA movement, in its early stages in the US, participating in the Great Barrington, MA CSA, helping to organise and speak at the first 5 CSA conferences (East and West Coast), offering many workshops across the US and also in Holland and consulting for many individual CSAs.

University studies in Germany and the United States. PhD in Agricultural Education with an award winning doctoral dissertation on biodynamics. College of Agricultural Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University.

Director of the North American Biodynamic Training Program. Kimberton, PA.

Full time Faculty Member in ecological and biodynamic agriculture at two different colleges in California (SRJC and NCOC) teaching a wide variety of courses including organic gardening, organic viticulture, organic greenhouse management, CSA, composting, organic fruit production and specialty crops, and natural resource management.

Farmer and proprietor of my own, small, diversified biodynamic farm: Dexter cows, chickens, ducks, vegetables, culinary herbs, flowers.

Biodynamic Consulting. During several years in the 1980s and 90s and since 2002 continuously – working in many parts of North America and several countries in Europe: Italy, France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Poland and Portugal. Also consulted for the European Union, several NGOs and various biodynamic institutes and associations. Author of several published articles on biodynamics in English and German.

40 years of experience with anthroposophy and biodynamics.

Happily married. Wonderful children (now adults).

 

Strawberries

(Strawberry Harvest. 2014)

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